If you or someone close to you is expecting a baby it's important to get your dog used to as many babies as possible before the new arrival, particularly if he's unfamiliar with youngsters.
- Start introducing your pet to older children (eight or nine years old) and when he's comfortable around them introduce him to slightly younger ones, making sure they are quiet and calm. Then move on to inviting friends with babies to the house when you think he's ready.
- Teach your dog that children are good by getting youngsters to ignore him while occasionally dropping treats on to the floor.
- Introduce periods of separation before the newborn arrives to get your dog used to an inevitable reduction in your presence.
- Allow your dog to sniff and see some of the new baby products such as the pram, changing mat, and blankets.
- Get your dog used to seeing a baby in the house by wrapping a doll in a blanket, cradle it, talk to it, and walk back and fourth. Use an item like a cushion to start with if your pet becomes overexcited by the sight of you and the doll.
- Don't leave baby toys lying around as he could confuse them with his own. Instead put the baby's toys into a box with a lid. It's a good idea to reinforce the leave command as well.
- Practise walking your dog next to a pram or pushchair so that he's happy walking close to the wheels.
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