How To Prepare The Dog For Our Baby’s Arrival

Anyone with a pet knows that introducing a new addition to the family can be tricky.

As with many childless couples, our dog, Teddy, is our baby. For a while, we were unsure if we would be able to have children and Teddy completed our family. We took him to puppy school and clapped like the proud parents we are when he graduated (yes, we actually have a graduation picture). We have so many pictures of Teddy on our phones, we could create multiple photo albums. He has a bedtime treat every night and has chicken flavoured doggy toothpaste…which, like a child, he refuses to use. We often refer to him as ‘angel,’ ‘baby’ or ‘my darling.’ We walk him, bathe him, feed him, cuddle him and love him. He is the apple of our eye. And he knows it. 
With a new baby in the very near future, Teddy’s world is going to change drastically. He will need to share his spotlight with our little boy and, at times, give it up completely. People have warned us that he will no longer matter, but I can’t imagine not sharing the huge amount of love we have throughout our little family to both two and four legged members. 
Regardless of love, we know that bringing home baby will be an adjustment and we need to prepare our dog as much as possible for this seismic shift in his Teddy-centric universe. Despite his obvious intelligence, there is only so much we can do to warn him. After reading many websites on ‘Prepping your dog for baby,’ we have started with the following Teddy preparation.
Having Him Around Kids
Teddy has always had children in his life. With a three-year-old nephew, seven-month-old niece and a whole host of friends with children in our lives, Teddy has grown up with diapers, baby wails, and squealing kids. He has sat patiently through less than gentle petting, stepped carefully over babies on play mats and even sat on guard in front of my niece while she slept. He sits quietly during the chaos and eats any dropped toddler food. His only vice is children’s toys which, in fairness, could easily be interchanged with dog toys (Teddy and my niece trade toys all the time). We hope that this interaction with small human beings will help him get ready for the tiny one that will be entering his life shortly. 
Plan First Day Home With Baby
We don’t want to arrive home from the hospital and not give Teddy the normal attention he currently receives when we walk through the door. We figure that this alone would tip him off that something isn’t right. After doing some research, we have decided that: 
Step 1) I will enter the house first with Hubby and baby bringing up the rear
Step 2) I will give Teddy some attention right away with the cuddles and tummy rubs he is used to. Hubby will follow suit.
Step 3) Pick up Teddy and introduce him to baby
Step 4) Let Teddy sniff new baby 
Step 5) Hold both baby and Teddy (one ‘child’ to one parent) and all sit together
Step 6) Repeat Step 4 & 5 
As we all know, the best-laid plans always seem to come undone and we can only hope that our arrival home is so seamless. The point is, we want Teddy to see the new addition as just that; a new addition to our family that will only increase the number of people to play with, pet him and love him. 
Plan For Initial Months
We plan on making Teddy part of our new routine with baby. For feedings, he can sit nearby so he doesn’t feel excluded. He will be part of the walks and runs as he was before. He can come in the bathroom for bath time and still enjoy some cuddle time on the couch with my husband and/or I (and baby). I know this planning may sound excessive for my dog-less friends, but for anyone who had a dog pre-baby, I know you understand the struggle of remaining all inclusive. 
Already Teddy lies across my big belly and falls asleep cuddling his new playmate. He sits beside me while I fold freshly washed baby clothes and sniffs around the new nursery. He has found a place to settle beside the baby’s glider and has even felt a kick from the baby bump. 
They say a dog is a boy’s best friend and I am confident that our two ‘babies’ will fall in love, both adding to the joy of our little family. 

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