8 Ways To Help Your Furkid Adapt To Your Newborn
Hello, I’m a member of the AFPWJHABBWAHAPD.
That’s the Association For People Who Just Had A Baby But Who Also Have A Pet Dog.
Okay, I’m just making this up, of course. There isn’t such a help group around. While there are many websites, parenting experts, online forums, Facebook groups and kaypoh friends who dish out all kinds of advice on how you can ease your older kid into life with a baby sibling, there’s hardly anyone you can ask about making your furkid get along with your new hooman kid.
Because not everyone has a furkid.
And the ones who don’t have one generally like to think that dogs don’t get jealous or petty like real children do. (PSA: they do and will fight for attention by chewing on your cushion cover or flinging their toy bones around.) Plus, not all of us have Cesar Millan on speed-dial.
So, here’s what I’ve learnt so far from being a mother of a three-year-old poodle and a three-month-old baby.
But if you need tips on making other types of pets (like your rabbit, cockatoo or goldfish) adapt to your newborn, I’m not going to lie. I don’t have experience in that genre.
So, google Association For People Who Just Had a Baby But Who Also Have Anything Other Than A Pet Dog Like A Rabbit, Cockatoo Or Goldfish.
1. Give your dog a present… from your newborn
Before the baby even goes home, you would have had the cot, diapers, bottle steriliser and even Jellycat ordered, delivered and unwrapped. But add a little gift for your furkid to the shopping list too. I got mine a soft toy and some freeze-dried chicken strips.
Yes, it’s like how you would buy a gift for an older child and lie that it is from your newborn. This way, the older kid – furkid or otherwise – will feel that the baby is a bringer of good things.
But make sure your dog knows the present is from the newest addition to the family. Show it the gift while pointing at the baby. Do this a few times before handing the bribe, I mean pressie, over.
2. Don’t scold your dog if it goes near or sniffs your baby
You want your dog to see your baby as family, not as the reason it gets yelled at. Of course, the extent of personal space between your furkid and your hooman kid is largely dependent on your own OB markers and your dog’s size and temperament.
3. Use positive language with your dog
Instead, nudge your pet gently away from the baby and say something nice like “you are a good boy” as you do so.
4. Introduce your baby formally to your dog
Don’t you hate it when you are at a party or a meeting and nobody introduces you to the host or the client? Your dog hates being invisible too. Let the dog know the baby’s name and make them “meet” each other formally.
5. Don’t neglect your dog too much
It’s easy to go gaga over a rosy-cheek, angelic-face… and constantly bawling and pooping infant. But remember who was there in your life first. When you have some time and energy, be sure to fuss over your pet by giving it a hug.
6. Try to stick to the pre-baby routine as much as you can
If you’ve always taken your pet out for a walk every evening, be sure to stick to the status quo as much as possible so that it doesn’t see the baby as a threat or as competition. If you are really dog tired, get a family member to help out with the walks.
7. Get your dog involved during feeds and diaper changes
No, your pet isn’t going to actually help you toss those dirty nappies or warm up the milk. At each session, give it a little snack so that it feels invested in the activity, too.
8. Don’t move your dog’s bed or water bowl to make way for baby stuff
If you live in a compact home and need space for the baby cot or changing station, don’t put this where your dog’s rest area is. You don’t want it thinking that it no longer has a place, literally and otherwise, in your new scheme of things.