How to Introduce your Dog to your Baby
Oliver has been a part of our family for 5 years now, and he was truly my “first” baby, so when it came time to bring Owen home from the hospital, I was really nervous how Oliver would react. He’s a shiba inu, and the breed is known for being particular and stand-offish, so I feared he would get jealous and start misbehaving in his attempt to get more attention. If you’re pregnant and also a dog owner, you might have some other similar fears about bringing your dog home, so I wanted to share what worked for us!
How to Introduce Dog to Baby
Bring Him a Blanket
We’d heard from several friends and nurses that we should bring home a blanket and hat that Owen used at the hospital for Oliver to smell, curl up on, rip apart—basically whatever he needed to do to get comfortable with that new baby scent. Rob’s parents took them to our house for us and let Oliver sniff and scratch at them. They texted us a picture when we told them we were about to head home and Oliver was curled up on the couch on top of the blanket—haha! We figured that was a good sign.
Give Him Some Love
When we brought Owen inside, I came in first as Oliver is technically my dog. He loves Rob equally, but we’d read that the person he’s closest to and has been with him the longest should come in first without the baby. So, that’s what we did. I kneeled down (which wasn’t easy!) and gave him lots of snuggles and pets before Rob came in with Owen. Rob set Owen’s car seat down and did the same so Oliver knew how much we missed him and, of course, still loved him.
Let Him See & Sniff
Naturally, he was very curious about what was inside that carseat, so after he’d settled down, we held him gently by the collar and let him investigate this new little creature. He did lots of sniffing and got very close to Owen’s face, but we were holding him the whole time. Oliver has never ever been aggressive to humans (though he’s been in a few dog scuffles), but if your dog is more aggressive, you might not want your dog to get too close to their little face. After a few minutes he seemed to be done and also uninterested and went back to his spot on the couch.
We continue to let Oliver sniff and check out Owen on his own terms. To be honest, Oliver doesn’t really seem to care that he’s here, ha! It is funny to see him sniff his head or his diaper though and Owen doesn’t even notice he’s there.
Give Him Extra Attention
Over the following weeks and months, we went out of our way to make sure Oliver was getting plenty of snuggles, long walks and generally not being forgotten. I want him and Owen to get along when Owen is older, so creating a calm and loving environment for everyone was really important to me.
Don’t Leave Your Dog & Baby Alone
This can come with time, but as long as Owen is small and helpless, I don’t leave them by themselves if I have to run upstairs and grab something. I would be 100% shocked if Oliver did anything to harm Owen, but why risk it? I’ve heard some really sad stories about dogs randomly attacking, and sometimes even killing a baby, so I just don’t think it’s worth it. Eventually, Owen will be older and I won’t worry about it, but for now, I always have an eye on them when they’re in the same room—even though it’s super rare Oliver evens notices his presence!
Did your dog adjust well to your baby? What tips do you have to share?