By Valli Aman,
Certified Dog Trainer, ABCDBT
Question: We just found out we are pregnant and are excited but worried about how our dog will do with a newborn. He’s three and though he does sit and stay we haven’t done any formal training. What do you think about dogs and newborns and how can we plan ahead?
Answer: Dogs pick up thoughts and emotions, easily detecting chemical and physical changes you go through and probably knew you were pregnant before you did. You need to have impulse control training in place which is what basic commands are all about. Please do not over-prepare by over-spoiling as this will send the wrong message.
Now would be a great time to enroll him in a group class and as a couple you would gain leadership skills that will help you in more ways than just with your dog. I think those who have taken group classes I offer have done well when followed-up with a home lesson directly following the birth of the baby. In client cases this made the transition seamless.
You can place a mat 8-10 feet away from where you envision you will feed the baby in your living room. The mat will serve as a place your dog can always go, but not be in the way and be able to see two or three rooms at the same time. This is when a trainer can be helpful to show you how to get your dog to go to the mat. It will be critical for your dog to have this embedded as a “good thing to do” long before baby ever comes home.
You need to have a place for your dog to go for a week when you go into labor. Be ready to hand your keys off to someone to pick up your dog. This will simplify the immediacy of your need and give you both some time to come home and figure out which end is up as far as the baby goes.
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