You’ve seen the videos on the news or social media of a toddler lying all over his/her family dog. It is so cute that you almost can’t even take it. The child is pulling on the dog’s ear and giggling with pure joy and the dog just sits there smiling, if you will. Is this an automatic bond? Maybe for some dogs, but there are also steps that we can do to make the transition easier. Remember, the life change isn’t just for you; it’s definitely for your pet as well who is no longer your only “baby” in the home.

6 Tips to create a bond between baby and your four-legged companion

  1. Make gradual changes to your dog’s routine prior to baby so that they do not associate the changes with the new baby. I’m embarrassed to say that our two 65lb dogs used to sleep in bed with us before I was pregnant (and sometimes while I was pregnant). We had to kick them out of the bed so that they realized they can’t just jump up there whenever they want. (Same went for the couch).
  2. Bring an article of the baby's clothing or a blanket home so the dog can get used to the infant's scent.
  3. Give your dog plenty of attention when the baby is around. You don't want him to decide good things only happen when the baby isn't around. I left this job up to my husband. Believe it or not, once you have a baby, a lot of moms aren’t quite as concerned with their animals as they were before. Babies are cuter than dogs…there’s no getting around it.
  4. When you feel comfortable, allow the dog to sniff the baby while being held. Pet him and give him praise while he sniffs. Most dogs adapt easily, but always take precautions.
  5. Desensitize your pet. When a child gets a bit older, it’s likely they will touch the pet in sensitive places like the ears, mouth, paws and tail. Train your pet to emit no reaction when being touched in these areas.
  6. Never leave even the most trusted dog alone with a baby or small child.

  7. Remember, if your animal shows signs of stress, or aggression around your baby it may be time to isolate them from any contact with the baby and consult a trainer.

    Information provided in blogs should not be used as a substitute for medical care or consultation.
    Janel Littlejohn

    About the Author

    Hi! My name is Janel Littlejohn, I'm 29 years old, and I grew up in Sharpsville, Indiana. Prior to Aeroflow, I have worked in higher education as an adjunct professor, assistant athletic director and women's basketball coach. I married my husband, Corey in September 2016 and we welcomed our first baby into the world in September 2017! His name is Winnfield Thomas (Winn) and I am loving being a new mom!