Sensible K9, Indianapolis
We rescued Ollie, our beloved shepherd mix, from a shelter three years ago. I’m pregnant with my first child and concerned about Ollie’s reaction to the baby. How can we prepare Ollie for our baby’s arrival?
Hurray for you for thinking ahead! There is much you can do to prepare Ollie for your baby’s arrival. You should determine which areas of your home can be off-limits to Ollie. You will sometimes need to put the baby down and Ollie should not have access to the baby at any time you are not present. Install baby gates now to help Ollie learn the new boundaries. This is also the time for Ollie to learn basic manners so that he will not jump on people and will ignore items such as baby clothes and toys. Formal training may include teaching Ollie to walk calmly beside a stroller and to lie down whenever you pick up a baby doll so you won’t worry about him tripping you as you carry your newborn. Finally, consider that some dogs are bothered by the sounds babies and children make. Observe Ollie around children to see if he is anxious about their quick movements or noisy laughter. If Ollie becomes nervous (panting, pacing, whining, wide eyed), you should consult a professional dog trainer for desensitization protocols to prepare Ollie for the changes ahead. With proper preparation, Ollie will continue to be a loving family member after you bring home your new child.
Catherine Steinke resides in Indianapolis where she instructs puppy classes at a veterinary hospital and teaches in-home private lessons preparing dogs for baby’s arrival, canine problem behavior rehabilitation and therapy dog work.