Ask the Trainer with Joanne Lekas, CPDT-KA

Happy Dog Behavior Training.

QuestionMy husband and I rescued Ollie from a shelter and he’s brought us great joy. I am pregnant with my first child and concerned how Ollie will react to the baby. He’s fine around children and generally very friendly. How can we prepare Ollie for our baby’s arrival?

AnswerStart preparing Ollie now for the sights, sounds, and smells of a baby by using a doll. Borrow a wrap with a baby’s smell if possible. Every day, pretend it’s your new baby, and play baby sounds as much as possible. Sit with the “baby,” giving it lots of attention, and reward Ollie for calm behavior. If he comes to investigate, teach him to be gentle, interrupt invasive sniffing, etc. Use treats to teach him to sit or lie at your feet while you hold the baby. Practice petting him as a small child would including gentle tugging, patting the top of his head, and pulling his tail to get him used to it, and assess how well he tolerates it. If you see any signs of inappropriate interest in the doll or reactions to the baby sounds, contact a qualified trainer who can help you with a training plan.

Joanne LekasAbout the Trainer:

Lekas’ focus is helping people live happier lives with their dogs. She helps people understand how dogs really learn so they can work at a level where their dogs can be successful. It all boils down to clear and consistent communication. The real training is for the humans–the dogs are easy! Lekas even launched an iPhone App geared towards helping a new puppy or dog companion get started with basic training skills.

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