“I would love to hear about some good ways to prepare dog and baby for baby starting to move. We have a 4 month old bub, Bella and our small 20 month old fur baby Myla is a Kelpie x Sausage Dog. The dog has been really well behaved and accepting of our new addition. I just want to make sure I am setting good framework for the next stage. I am currently putting the baby on a mat for tummy time and encouraging pup to be part of this by playing with her own toys or doing some of the commands she knows for treats. I am not sure though how to reinforce the need to be gentle as I know the dog really wants to play with her baby sister.”
A big thanks to Kirsty for this question, this is one that I get a lot and is very important when raising a new child with a dog.
First off, well done for wanting to be so prepared. You are definitely doing the right thing by both Bella and Myla. Living with a baby and dog together can be so much fun and so rewarding, but it can also come with plenty of challenges.
Get your dog used to being touched – everywhere!
Baby’s and kids (just like puppies) are curious beings and like to explore with touch and feel. This means that Myla could be in the firing line to some roaming baby fingers pretty soon, if not already. Once she starts crawling and pulling herself up on things, this can become quite an intimidating and frightening stage for your dog. So, let’s try and prepare Myla for some of this.
You need to start getting her used to being poked and prodded everywhere. Once Bela is asleep, sit down with Myla every night and give her a rub down. Massage her, making it a nice experience but also poke and pull her along the way, touching every part of her body, paw pads, tail, inside the ears, mouth, nose, bum, everywhere. If she’s a little anxious or uncomfortable with it, have some treats on you so you can reward her when she is calm and relaxed.
This is also going to help you down the track when taking Myla to the vet as she will be more used to being touched all over. Win win!