Ask the Trainer with Kat Rooks

Kentucky Humane Society, Louisville

QuestionWe rescued Ollie from a shelter three years ago. I’m pregnant with my first child and concerned how Ollie will react to the baby. He’s fine around children and very friendly. How can I prepare Ollie for our baby’s arrival?

AnswerA baby’s arrival can be tumultuous for your canine family members. Early preparation is important. Start exposing your dog to the sights, sounds and smells associated with a baby. Help Ollie build positive associations. Take him to the park and reward him when a stroller passes. Prepare Ollie for the changes in his day-to-day life. If you have not already started crate training, slowly introduce him to a crate. This will keep him out of the way or give him a break from the excitement. Install baby gates now so Ollie can acclimate. If your activity level decreases, explore ways to ensure that Ollie gets enough exercise. Doggie daycare is a great option and many offer amenities such as walks or play with doggie friends.

If Ollie currently exhibits behavior issues, enroll in a behavior class to teach Ollie to walk quietly on a loose leash or sit when people enter the home. Allow yourself plenty of time to practice before the baby arrives. If you start now, you’ll increase the odds of an easy transition. Good luck!

Kat RooksAbout the Trainer:

Kat has been training dogs professionally for almost ten years and specializes in positive reinforcement training methods to address fearful and aggressive behaviors. She is the behavior leader at the Kentucky Humane Society and has helped thousands of animals find their forever homes. She teaches group obedience through the Kentucky Humane Society and offers private consultations on aggression and separation anxiety. She was named runner-up for best dog trainer in the city of Louisville in 2010 by the readers of Tails magazine.

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