Q: My husband and I rescued Ollie, our beloved Shepherd mix from a shelter three years ago. I am pregnant with my first child and I’m concerned how Ollie will react to the baby. Is there a way to prepare Ollie for our baby’s arrival?
A: In order to get Ollie ready for your new arrival, you’ll want to introduce him to as many things as possible that will soon be a part of the new baby’s environment. Setting time aside now to get him acclimated to items and sounds that could otherwise cause a reaction will allow you to work through any over-excitement or anxiety before the big day when the humans involved are likely to be tired and distracted.
I recommend Sounds of Baby, a CD containing tracks of baby sounds. Some dogs react to playing just the first track at low volume, so it’s worthwhile to build Ollie’s tolerance to the sound of crying, because there’s going to be plenty of that on the way!
Ollie also needs to know which toys are his and which toys belong to the baby. Set a new toy down, and prevent him from taking it, either with a verbal “no” if he responds to that, or hold him on a leash if he’s more likely to go for it despite what you say. Then encourage him to play with one of his toys. Some sounds that toys make can startle dogs, so watch for that too. Good luck and congrats!
ABOUT the Trainer
Andy Replogle is originally from Eureka, California, where he trained his first dog 12 years ago. Since then he has continued to expand his knowledge and experience with dogs. He received his professional certification from the National K-9 Learning Center in Columbus, Ohio. He has also studied under Scott Mueller, who pioneered and trained the first assistance dogs for the physically challenged.