If you’re preparing for a new baby, you have so many things on your mind. Also have a pet at home? You probably have even more questions. So, Crème de la Crème of Frisco put together this list of tips to help you get ready for a smooth transition for your whole family, including your furry friends.
Making the First Preparations
Getting ready to introduce your new baby to your pets starts long before your baby arrives in your Frisco home. Because it can take some time to change up your pet’s routine, you should consider the house rules you’ll want to have after your baby’s arrival and start to put them in place in advance. Things to think about include:
- Are there areas, like the baby’s room, you want to keep off-limits?
- Are there behaviors, such as barking or jumping, you want to change?
- Will the amount of time you spend with your pet change?
- Will you need to alter your pet’s routine, such as keeping your cat outside more or walking your dog at different points of the day?
After you identify how you want your pet to behave with a baby in your home, you can start implementing those new rules to help your pet adjust before you bring your baby home. Teach a cat that likes jumping into your lap a jump-up command by standing up and putting your cat on the floor when they jump on your lap without an invitation. Then, use a treat as a lure to show your cat it needs an invitation before jumping into your lap.
Likewise, you can teach a dog basic commands and reward appropriate behavior by playing or giving treats. Professional training can also go a long way, so you can check out these pet training businesses in the Frisco area:
It’s important to teach your pet not to jump up on people, as your baby will often be on someone’s lap or in someone’s arms. You can make other preparations in advance as well. For example, letting your pet check out the baby’s changing and sleeping areas and teaching them which areas in your home will be off-limits is essential.
Keep in mind that pets may find adjusting to the new routine, smells, and sounds of a newborn tough. You can also prepare for these aspects of introducing a new baby to your pets by bringing in some stimuli that mimic the newborn’s environment before your baby actually arrives. This might look like:
- Carrying a bundle or doll and rewarding your pet for positive behavior to create a positive association.
- Playing a recording of a crying baby while rewarding good behavior.
- Practicing walking with a leashed dog with a stroller.
Finally, a new baby often translates to spending less time with your pet. You can prepare your pet for the change by cutting down on the time you spend with them gradually. Doing this before you bring your baby home will get your pet acclimated to the change.
Introducing the New Baby to Your Pets
When your baby finally arrives, it’s time for the big introduction. Make sure that the first moment is non-threatening and positive by taking things step-by-step with your dog:
- Keep your dog on a leash.
- Have two adults present, one to keep an eye on your baby and another to watch your dog.
- Let one family member greet your dog, then introduce your baby once you ensure the dog is relaxed and calm.
- Let your dog investigate your new baby and reward them for good behavior to help foster a positive association with the newest member of your family.
If you’re introducing a cat to your baby, just remember it’s not unusual for cats to go into hiding once the baby arrives. Make sure you’re prepared for this common behavior by having a quiet room for your cat to escape into ahead of time.
Easing Into Your New Routine With Your Baby and Pet
As you all transition into your new routine together, you’ll want to continue to emphasize a positive environment for your pet. If you’re not careful, pets can start to associate your baby’s presence with inattention or even punishment. Instead, help your pet associate good things with your baby by rewarding them for relaxed behavior and obedience whenever they behave appropriately with your child.
You should also prioritize spending time with your pet. Even if it’s just a few minutes sitting together without the baby, quality time will help your pet understand they’re still a valued member of the family.
What Happens When Things Don’t Go According To Plan?
Even with tons of preparations, things may not always go according to plan once you introduce your new baby to your pet. Dogs may act aggressively toward a child or become hyper-focused, and cats may become hostile. Be sure to keep any pets who display any threatening behavior away from kids, and speak with a veterinarian as soon as possible so you can effectively deal with the issue. Some veterinarians in the Frisco area include:
Preparing for the Future
You’ll also want to think ahead to when your baby will be more mobile when you introduce your new baby to your pets. Problems between kids and pets often pop up once your baby starts to crawl and then walk. Since movements and clumsy actions can excite or threaten pets, you’ll want to take some actions to keep everyone safe in the long run.
No matter how much you trust your pet, don’t leave them unattended with kids under 7 years old. Keep monitoring your pet’s behavior as your child grows, implementing routine or behavioral changes in consultation with a veterinarian and/or training services as needed.
There you have it! Crème de la Crème of Frisco just gave you some strategies to successfully introduce your new baby to your pets. Do you have another tip to add? Drop us a line so we can share more advice with families in Frisco.