Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Day 323 - How to Make Sure Dogs and Your Infant Get Along

Today's first time parenting tip - Use patients and a calm attitude to get dogs and infants to co-exist by establishing pack dominance.

If you've had a dog for a few years and add a baby into the mix, things can get hairy. Before the fur flies, you should do everything you can to get them used to each other, so that someone doesn't get bitten.

Before your baby becomes mobile, most of the issues you'll have to deal with are pet jealousy. You can help alleviate those by reading my post on the subject.

Before they start moving, there are more things you can do to help them get used to each other. Establishing pack dominance will teach your dog where he stands, and to defer to the baby. You can do this by.

  • Feed yourself and your baby before you feed your dog

  • Take your child through doors before the dog

  • Don't allow your dog to sleep in your bed

  • When you do feed your dog, hold the bowl near your face and the baby's face (standing up, away from the dog in case he gets aggressive). This is another way of 'eating first'

  • Play with your infant and dog together. Don't roughhouse. You want to teach both the dog and the child to be gentle with each other. Show your baby how to gently pet the dog. We taught our son to pet the cat nicely by always petting him with an open hand and saying 'gentle' every time.

  • When you scold your dog, roll him onto his back without hurting him. This is the natural position of submission

By doing these things, you're recreating the natural way dogs determine who is the alpha dog in the wild. Even though yours might be tame as tame can be, their instincts are very powerful. Use that to your advantage and train your dog to see you and the baby as alpha dogs.

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