Tips to Make Sure the First Dog Baby Meeting Goes Well

By: David Codr

Published Date: September 11, 2017

Charlie is a 7 year-old Lhasa Apso / Poodle mix who lives in Omaha. Her guardians are expecting their first child in a few months and so they set up this dog behavior training session as he has displayed mild and infrequent aggression to toddlers and small kids in the past.

Often people with small and cute dogs ignore bad dog behavior and in some cases, this can lead to reaL disasters. I can’t tell you how many people I have helped after the fact that assumed that they could just wing it when introducing a child to a dog.

I started thongs off by suggesting some rules as Charlie’s guardians didn’t have much structure in place. This is partially why he listened when he felt like it and marked in the home. Consistently enforcing rules is a great way to help a dog start to see and respect you as an authority figure (provided you aren’t using dominant theory, punishments or force).

Next I demonstrated 4 ways to disagree or react if the dog breaks these new rules. I also showed the humans how to add structure to daily repeatable tasks like petting the dog, feeding, communicating and letting it go outside.

Because Charlie barked at sounds at the door, I spent a few minutes showing the guardians how to use counterconditioning to make sure that dog problem stops before the baby arrives. Using positive dog training methods like this are great as they train a dog to enjoy and look forward to things they currently disagree with or fear.

To make sure the baby and Charlie get off to a good start, I had the guardians film me as I shared a number of dog training tips to make sure the dog meets baby in a good way.

Baby meeting dog successfully for the first time is important. As I mentioned in the video, exercising fido before introducing a baby to a dog can help put the dog in a position to succeed. Baby dog introductions can be influenced by other factors too, like the dog seeing and respecting the human adults as authority figures.

During the session I promised the guardians I would include a link to a past dog behavior column I wrote that includes a few additional tips on introducing a dog to a new baby.

Because he is such a sweet dog, my main concern about introducing a dog to a newborn baby like Charlie’s was his reaction to unexpected movements that catches the dog off guard. This is the most common reason for a dog to bite or nip a child. This usually happens with visiting children though, not a baby the dog has seen and observed for a long time or a first dog baby meeting.

I wanted to help Charlie develop more self control by showing his guardians how to delay gratification. I recommended the guardians look for different ways to delay rewards like making him wait for permission to go out an open door, eat food waiting in his bowl, sit before they throw the ball when playing fetch, etc.

We wrapped things up by shooting a roadmap to success video filled with all kinds of dog meets baby tips and suggestions to make sure this dog likes the new baby.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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