How To Baby Proof Your Dog

How To Baby Proof Your Dog
Hanrob reveals top tips to prepare your dog for a new baby

When you are expecting a baby time is spent preparing yourselves and your home for the new arrival - but how do you prepare your pet?

Leading dog-training specialist, Hanrob, provides advice for expectant parents onhow to 'baby-proof' the family dog, so they can rest assured their home is a safeenjoyable place for everyone.

Establishing and exercising control is the most important aspect of 'baby-proofing'your dog. Dogs that jump, chew, get jealous, and try to share the bed need to bemanaged effectively to ensure a safe household for baby, and less stress for newparents.

Hanrob's top 10 tips for baby proofing your dog:

1. Don't wait until baby arrives to change the dog's routine - boundariesshould be established 3 months before baby arrives

2. Establish pack hierarchy to establish respect from the dog and controlover its behaviour

3. Create a positive environment and ensure your dog's experience with thebaby is positive

4. Maintain your interaction with the dog to the same or similar level as prebaby,ensuring you don't ignore the dog when the baby arrives

5. Involve your baby in experiences with the dog such as playing ball andgrooming supervised by you at all times

6. Ensure the dog is not rewarded for bad behaviour around the baby

7. Don't make a huge fuss of the introduction to baby

8. Restrict your dog so it doesn't have the run of the house

9. Always ensure the dog is not left unsupervised with the baby.

10. Reward the dog for good behavior around the new baby

Hanrob Managing Director, Andrew Biggs explains, "Although your dog is a lovedpart of the family, they are a pack animal, and parents need to be noticed as beingleaders. If you want the dog to respect the child, the dog must understand this."Changes to your dog's lifestyle and routine should be established well before yournew baby arrives. For example, if the dog sleeps in your bedroom, it is stronglyadvised to move your dog to another location in the household at least three monthsbefore baby is due; if it will need to spend more time outside, condition the dog to itsnew routine over the months leading up to the birth.

"Training a dog to change behaviour takes time so we recommend implementingchanges to your dog's routine at least three months before the baby's arrives.Parents need to establish control over the dog and to teach the dog to control itsemotions around all distractions," Biggs continues.

For those who's dog has a tendency to chew, expectant parents need to establishboundaries inside the house so that the dog doesn't impinge on the baby's play area,ensuring it will not have access to the baby's toys.

"Dog toys and babies toys will each have their own scent and the dog will know thedifference. However, if your dog loves toys, they will chew on whatever they can getunless you establish the boundaries," says Biggs.

If you need to train your dog to walk next to the pram, Hanrob advises parentsintroduce the pram to walks before the baby arrives, ensuring the dog has a positiveassociation with walking and the pram together. This should be continued until youare confident in your complete control of the dog when walking.

Introducing the dog to your newborn

When you bring your newborn home from the hospital, the introduction should be apositive experience for both dog and baby.

"The dog must be under control when you arrive at home so if you have any doubtswe recommend keeping the dog on a lead. It's important to block the dog fromhaving any success in unwanted behaviours towards the baby such as overexcitement.

Parents need to promote a positive environment at all times around the baby so thatthe dog has no negative associations towards the child and mother. Havingestablished changes in the dog's routine over the month's prior, the dog will beadaptive to change. If you ensure the introduction is calm, without too much fuss, thedog will react accordingly.

To help your dog associate the baby with something positive, Hanrob recommendsrewarding the dog heavily for its good behaviour when it is being introduced to thebaby. A combination of treats and praise can be used to do this.

Ensuring strong household boundaries, a positive association with the baby andrewards for good behaviour will minimise jealousy, chewing on baby's toys andunfavoured sleeping arrangements among pets.

"We recommend expectant parents invest time in as much dog obedience training aspossible before the baby arrives. Knowing you are in complete control of your dogwill give you peace of mind and make its introduction to your new family member astress free, positive experience for everyone," Biggs continued.

Hanrob offers a range of dog training solutions, including home dog training, dogtraining school (with boarding) and group training classes. For more information onHanrob's Sydney training offering, visit www.hanrob.com.au or call 02 85083222.

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