Children & Dogs

Thinking of having a Baby?

Don’t make these dog mistakes 

Usually bringing a human baby home adds a new stress to the home life; a good stress but new stress none the less.  If you are ever anticipating having a child, avoid these common pitfalls that dog owners allow their canine baby to get used to. 

Jumping or Giving Paw: 

If allow your dog to jump or teach him to give paw, it’s going to be hard to undo that training once your baby comes home.  An infant’s skin is sensitive, your dog may want to jump on you or give you his paw but if you are holding the infant, chances are he or she will get the paw as well.  This can cause a scratch or cut on the infant.   

Sleeping in your bed or on the sofa: 

When it was just the canine baby, no big deal; but add a child to your bed or have the baby in your arms while you are feeding, is going to make the bed or sofa seem very small.  Go out and buy your dog the best bed on the market, teach him that is his spot when you are in bed or on the sofa so you have room for your human baby.   

Playing in the house: 

You always want your dog to realize play time is outdoors or in a separate room. This way if your baby is sleeping or crawling you don’t have to worry about Fido dropping a knuckle bone on his head.    

Nuisance Barking: 

Teaching your dog to bark for a cookie or to go outside seems great; until the baby is sleeping.  Sure, babies learn to sleep through the barking but it’s a nuisance anyway for a baby that is a light sleeper.  Guaranteed your dog is going to be somewhat put out because of the baby, he then will turn to barking for attention as well as a cookie. 

Begging for Food: 

When babies start eating solid food, a lot falls to the floor.  If your dog is trained to stay away from the table then you don’t have to worry about the dog sneaking into your child’s lap for some crumbs.  You can always teach him to ‘clean up’ after Little Johnny has left his high chair! 

Try not to change your dog’s life too much when you add a child.  And, if you are going to have to move his or her bed for the crib; do it early enough in your pregnancy that your dog doesn’t think the baby is coming first.  Start making changes early in your pregnancy, if you are not going to be able to keep his exercise, walks and training the same; add a dog walker or daycare to the mix in the first few months of pregnancy.  Don’t make a big deal about the baby to the dog; it’s just like bringing home a new bag of groceries; if you make a big deal the dog will.  Bring home a blanket from the hospital and throw it on your dog’s bed (if he won’t eat it), no need to show it and say ‘ your brother is coming home’.  That will be excitement and excitement will cause all the behavior you do not want. 

These tips are not meant for dog’s with aggression issues; please contact a behaviorist early in your pregnancy if your dog has behavior issues. 

Beth Bradley 

Beth Bradley began studying animal behavior and dog training at age 12. She has worked and studied under many renowned animal behaviorists and trainers. After graduating from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Criminal Justice, Beth worked as a New Jersey State Animal Control Officer. In 1989, she founded her own company and has made dog training and consulting her full-time career since 1995. She is the author of Real World Dog Training, and has produced a number of training CDs and DVDs Beth competes with her own dogs in Schutzhund and AKC Obedience. She holds national and international titles, championships, and honors, including representing the United States in the FCI World Trials in both 2003 and 2009. Beth consults for New Jersey shelters and New Jersey law enforcement on cases involving canine behavior and temperament. In addition, she trains and handles dogs for movies and television, with recent credits including Board Walk Empire, the Batman franchise, Blue Bloods, and The Good Wife.