The Importance of Preparing Your Dog for Baby in the House

Theo and Beau cute dog and baby

With her second baby on the way, StyleTails’ training and behaviour expert Louise Glazebrook shares her experience of creating a happy environment for your dog and your baby.

One of the things I have realised from having a dog and a child is that owning a dog is great prep work for having a baby; people hate to hear you say that but honestly, it’s true.

You quickly get used to having to think of another living being and not being able to go out for 12 hours without organising care. You discover that the responsibility and rewards of being a dog owner are  great – if not, sometimes a tad trying. In truth, this is similar to being a parent, although it is way more tiring and the level of responsibility will continue until you die!

For me, having a dog and a child grow up together is amazing; it was always a dream and something that I have planned for. From breed selection to socialisation, it’s so important to lay down the ground work early. There is a huge amount to consider when living with a dog and a baby or child, and it cannot just be left to trial and error.

Even if you have an inkling in your mind that at some point in the future you may want to consider having children, don’t just ignore that – run with the ball, be active and start your puppy or dog off on the right foot from the word go.

I see the terrible outcome of dogs who were got rid of because a baby was arriving. I also see the fall out of what happens when a dog and child don’t live well together. The most important words I can emphasise is preparation. Its all about the foundations, the work that you do beforehand and making sure that your dog actually wants to be around children, rather than being forced to be.

There are some breeds that generally speaking find living with children easier than others, so I don’t believe you can just assume that all dogs will be fine if prepped properly. It goes deeper than that – it goes back to the breeder, the handling, the dog’s exposure and their breed purpose. If you have a rescue dog then it comes from what they have experienced previously. All in all, you are trying to set yourself and your baby and dog up for success, not failure.

I offer sessions to parents and soon-to-be-parents, who already own dogs to get them doing some of the work that needs to take place to create a happy and healthy environment for both their dog and their children. In my opinion, you can never ever start too early – you can start too late though!

Louise Glazebrook is the Founder of the Darling Dog Company

*Image via mommasgonecity.com

Louise is one of London's leading urban dog trainers and behaviourists. Her passion for dogs sees her take on all sorts of projects – from working with Dogs Trust to promote responsible dog ownership in inner city estates, to finding BBC Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw his perfect rescue pup. Louise lives in Hackney with her husband, baby son and her deaf Bulldog Cookie.

2 Comments

  • Reply September 25, 2014

    Marg H

    Interesting read. When I was pregnant with my first child, Sara I used a book called Tell Your Dog You’re Pregnant: An essential guide for dog owners who are expecting a baby. It was really helpful and came with a baby sounds and toy noises. Max (my fur child!) took some time to get used to the sounds but the book helped on how to do it. It gave me advice on what changes will occur and how to prepare my Max for them. It also talked about the causes for aggression and why it might occur and how to avoid it. It is written by a vet behaviorist too so it cover health issues as well – I got it from http://www.babyandpet.com.au or Amazon too i guess – mayb that will help someone else!

    • Reply September 25, 2014

      Sara White

      Thanks so much for the suggestion Marg! Great to hear about other useful resources for pregnant dog owners and I’m so glad your fur baby and your human baby are best of buddies. ST x

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