Before your baby was born, you played newborn crying videos on YouTube to help your dog get used to the sound. You dropped someone off the reception ceiling before you got home from the hospital. And when the time came to introduce them, they remained calm and collected. It went swimming and the dog quickly accepted your tiny human.
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Then your little human turned into a toddler, started crawling and walking and pulling on the dog’s fur. Suddenly a kind of circus developed from a budding friendship.
Parents often focus so much on the first time a dog meets their human sibling, but they become blind to how the relationship changes as the baby becomes more mobile.
“The dogs and small children have to learn what the others like, how they would like to be treated, so that they can not only tolerate each other, but also really like each other,” says Marina Selinger, certified trainer for Tractive.
Marina shares ways to keep the peace between toddlers and dogs.
Problem: noisy toddlers
Your pup may have got used to a baby’s crying, but toddlers will make new noises when they find their voices. These noises can include high-pitched screeches and squeaks that may be annoying to the dog.
Solution: positive reinforcement. Let the dog associate the loud noise with something good. “If there is a loud noise, the dog gets a treat,” suggests Marina.
Problem: Your child is reaching for the dog’s fur
Your dog may have taken in your newborn naturally, but babies need to learn how to handle dogs. They often pull on their tail and fur – they don’t try to hurt the dog, but they don’t know any better.
Solution: “With toddlers, it’s best to show this,” says Marina. Put your hand on the child’s and show them how to gently pet the dog. If you notice your child grabbing the dog’s face or pulling on their fur or tail, try redirecting them to something else or telling them, “No. This will hurt. “
Problem: Your dog thinks the children’s toy is their toy
Dog toys and children’s toys are similar – they are often stuffed or textured and make noise. But you don’t want the dog to chew up the love your child relies on for comfort.
Solution: Train your dog to look for toys only according to your needs. Marina tells her dogs to “fetch” it if she agrees to have them pick up a toy. “Let it” also works if a child drops a toy and the dog goes after him (this also works if the toddler drops food on the floor). Marina says it is best to teach these commands before the baby is even born. “Some of these things take a long time,” she says. But if you haven’t, don’t be so hard on yourself – you had a lot to do to prepare for the baby. Consistently work with your dog on command and consider hiring a trainer to help.
Problem: The toddler or dog needs space
Your dog and toddler love walking together anywhere – almost. A dog can be sensitive if someone intrudes into its “space”, e.g. B. in a box or a bed. And as cute as it is when your puppy and baby snuggle up and take a nap, it’s not particularly safe for the dog to climb into the crib either.
Solution: Help them learn that they each have a safe space. “Teach the baby to leave the dog alone when he’s in his bed,” says Marina. If the toddler is tailing them up towards the puppy’s bed, try using a toy to divert them. Or explain, “The dog shouldn’t go to bed because it’s yours. We will stay away from the dog bed because it is its special space. “You can also redirect the dog with treats. “Give a dog a treat for being somewhere other than the nursery when he goes there,” suggests Marina. “That way he knows you like it better when he is [goes to this room] instead of [baby’s]. ”Or block the rooms with a baby gate to prevent either of them from entering.
Remember: keep an eye out
Dogs and young children can be impulsive. As cute as they are, and as much as they may love each other, sometimes things get out of hand. It is important to have an adult in the room at all times to prevent (or stop quickly) and brawls.
“You can’t trust both of them 100 percent,” says Marina.
Featured photo: Antonio_Diaz / Getty Images
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