In many homes today it is very common for a couple to own a dog prior to having their first child. Some call it practice for the real thing, some just see getting a pet with their partner as less of a commitment early on than having a child together. Whatever the reason may be, the question always becomes how will your fur baby and your new baby get along? How should you introduce them to each other?
Now I am no expert. There are some breeds of dogs that are naturally great around babies and some that will never be best friends. I did recently have a baby and had two large dogs she needed an introduction to after returning home from the hospital. There are a lot of articles online and books available discussing the do's and don'ts of this. I'm here to tell you what worked for us.
Since we would be at the hospital for multiple days, we arranged for our dogs to stay at my brothers house. When my brother and his family came to visit us after our daughter was born, we gave him a blanket she was swaddled in to take back to their house. My sister-in-law gave the dogs the blanket to smell. Throughout the day she would bring the blanket to where they were sleeping and continue to get the dogs used to the smell.
One of the books we read said to establish dominance with your dogs. This included not letting your dogs jump up to give you a hug when you come home in addition to letting them know when play time is and when it is not. Our youngest dog LOVES to play ball, A LOT, like ALL the time. A week prior to our baby's arrival, the book recommended we take all of the dog toys and put them in a bin/box away in a closet. She could now only play ball when we wanted to play it with her. This was a nice change, we no longer would look down to find a ball perfectly placed in our lap every two minutes.
The big introduction day was about to happen! My brother had dropped off the dogs prior to us getting home. I came inside while my husband and our daughter stayed out front. I gave each dog 2mg of the chicken flavored Love Drops. I then went in the backyard and threw the ball for a few minutes. After taking the ball away again, my husband came in the house with the baby. Both dogs came up to my husband to lick him and barely even noticed the baby in his arms. The dogs were already very familiar with her scent from the blanket at the hospital. With their anxiety at ease, the introduction of all of our babies was flawless. She now has two protectors that don't leave her side.
If anyone has any other tips or tricks they've used, we would love to hear them!