Sharing your attention between a newborn and anything else is challenging. Diapers, feeding, milk, throw-up, bathing, formula, all on repeat for at least a couple months before it slows down. Having a new baby and a new puppy is more than double the work- it is closer to triple times the work and then add some. The positive benefits of having pets while raising children are well documented. Health and emotional benefits accompany your fur-baby and human-baby’s relationship as long as it is cultivated in a healthy manner for both you, your pet, and your baby.
Don’t worry- before you start hyperventilating and panicking at the thought of all the work and sleepless nights to come, we have put together a to-do list and a not-to-do list for all those new fur-parents and baby-parents.
- Train extensively beforehand.
Before baby arrives, make sure to invest time and resources to have your new pup trained by a professional as well as yourself. It may seem like a huge waste of time and like a very consuming task, but it will pay off in the long run (and shorter run!). Having your puppy obey simple commands such as sit, down, stay, and heel can make a massive difference when your hands are full with your new baby and all of the accompanying stuff that goes along with having a new little one. Additionally, it is a luxury to be able to command your dog to sit and stay from a couple feet away without disturbing baby’s sleep.
- Set clear boundaries in your home.
Make sure you make it clear that your new pup is never allowed in the nursery. Granted you will be spending a lot of time there especially in the beginning but ensuring that you dog does not run in there and wreak havoc while you are not watching is more important. Setting up a small gate may help in keeping your puppy out of the room as well. Just remember about it at night and try your hardest not to trip over it!!
- Stay consistent with attention.
Some people may advise you saying that you should spend as much time as possible with your new puppy before baby comes and have him sleep with you etc. That is a big no. First off, crate training is highly recommended before you bring baby home. Your new pup will cry loudly for the first couple of nights and then settle in to his new home (crate) quite well. Soon, your puppy will feel safest in his crate and you will have a perfect night’s sleep and a pup-free bed! Secondly, definitely spend time with your dog. However, keep in mind your puppy will not understand when baby comes and you don’t have any time for him anymore. Try to be as consistent as possible within reason.
- Desensitize sound.
New parents and seasoned parents alike know the struggle of a wailing baby at 3am. Puppies however, are a little like babies themselves and do not take well to being woken up in the wee hours of the morning. Some puppies are even more sensitive to sound and can be woken up from a light bout of burping and crying and proceed to howl for the rest of the night. Keeping you, your baby, and your pup awake for far too long. Before baby comes along try to desensitize your dog to sound at night. Try leaving the TV on or playing CDs/ playlists of baby babbling and whining to help your dog understand what the new sound is.
- Outsource help (for both if need be!)
This is one of the hardest options for most people! It is not easy admitting you need help sometimes. Getting a professional dog training service, professional dog walker, or even a dog sitter for days at a time does not make you a bad pet parent. It makes you human. Same with your little bundle of joy- if you need a night nurse, assistance, or an extra set of hands, make sure to ask for it!