Thursday, September 26, 2013

Leadership and energy: 5 Stages of Baby, Canine Friendship - Part 1

You spent the last nine months preparing your dog for this new family member, and the introduction and initial meeting went well but that’s just the beginning!

Your dog’s relationship with your baby will change over time. At each stage of your baby’s development, you’ll encounter new joys and new challenges.

The key is to be alert to changes and to monitor interactions between them so you can step in and correct problem behaviour — from either your dog or your baby!

Here are a few of the dynamics you may encounter as your baby grows — and how to get through them as a pack.

Stage 1: Newborn and the Baby Alarm
A newborn brings a whole range of new smells and sounds into your home, and perhaps the most worrying is crying.

Remember, your dog picks up on energy, and the energy that your baby is giving off while crying is anything but calm and assertive. Your dog may become distressed, too, whimpering, whining, and barking.

This may be endearing at times (“Aww, look — Spot is worried about you, too!”), but it can also be a problem.

A barking dog can get in the way when you’re trying to get a baby to sleep, and often those crying jags happen in the middle of the night, when your neighbors may not appreciate the commotion.

You can help accustom your canine (and human!) family members to the sounds of crying before the new arrival by playing the sound on your computer at loud volumes for extended periods of time.

If possible, keep your dog some place where the noises of the baby can’t reach him at night. (That way, at least someone is the house is getting a good night’s sleep!)

NB: If you have issues with your newborn baby sleeping go to for solutions and counselling.

One of the most important things you can do during this stage is maintain a regular routine of walks with the whole pack — mom and baby out the door first and at the front of the pack.

This not only helps send a message about your baby’s role as a pack leader, but also helps drain your dog’s energy, leading to better behavior overall.

With all the changes of having a new baby, many new parents put dog walks on the back burner, resorting to just letting the dog out in the backyard or a quick stop to the corner.

Of course, you may have days where this is simply a necessity, but make that the exception to the rule. Consider dog walks a priority. It’s not just good for your dog; it’s good for you, too.

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