Tips to Prevent Jealousy Between a Dog and a Child

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. December 12, 2016
Tips to Prevent Jealousy Between a Dog and a Child

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During pregnancy, we start asking ourselves all kinds of questions; if we have a dog, those questions will concern our future life with our pet. The fact is that we can't possibly know how our pet will react to the arrival of a baby, and how it will act if we can't spend as much time with it as we did before.

Jealousy is a natural emotion that arises when we feel rejected from a relationship with an individual or with a group. In this case, a new member of the family starts to get everyone's attention, time and shows of affection. If you don't want your dog to get jealous of a newcomer, you'll have to work on establishing a good relationship between the animal and the baby.

This AnimalWised article will give you some tips to prevent jealousy between a dog and a child. Read on to learn how to deal with an anxious or resentful dog and prevent jealousy.

You may also be interested in: My Puppy Bit My Child

Prepare your dog for the arrival of the baby

This article on tips to prevent jealousy between a dog and a child will provide you with a small guide so that you're aware of the steps to take to avoid such an uncomfortable situation.

You can start working on creating a good relationship between your dog and your child before the arrival of the baby. It is important to start by changing and tweaking your usual routine. By doing so, your dog will understand that things won't be the same as before, but that doesn't mean that they are going to be worse.

Involving your dog in the amazing experience of becoming a parent is no joke. Dogs are clever and sociable animals capable of developing bonds and showing feelings and affection. When there is a baby on the way dogs have a vague idea of what is going on; consequently, they should be able to participate where possible in the process. Remember that dogs have a sixth sense - if you're the one who's pregnant, let them go near your tummy.

Before the arrival of a baby, the whole family starts to prepare things: Their future room, their crib, clothes, toys... You should let your dog sniff and move calmly around the things that will surround your child. Rejecting or pushing away your dog at this time is the first step to trigger jealousy of the baby. Don't be afraid that your dog will do anything bad to the child.

It is important to change walk or meal times as soon as possible if you think the arrival of the baby will change that routine. Get your dog used to another person taking it for walks or giving it food, and set an alarm so you don't forget certain things. Don't let your dog suffer from a sudden change in routine.

Once the baby comes into the world, let your dog sniff their clothes. Doing this will get the dog used to the baby's scent, which will be another factor in the dog's positive response to their arrival.

Tips to Prevent Jealousy Between a Dog and a Child - Prepare your dog for the arrival of the baby

Introducing the baby to the dog

Once the baby comes home, your dog will try its hardest to see what it is - it is quite likely that your dog has never seen a baby before. Once it's familiar with the baby's smell and sounds, the dog will be more relaxed and trusting in the presence of what it considers to be a strange being.

At first it is normal for you to be hesitant in approaching your dog with your baby. You'll be asking yourself "what if my dog is confused?", or "what if it thinks they're a toy?" This is actually quite improbable, as your baby's smell will be mixed with yours.

Take your time before introducing the baby up close with the dog. It is essential that your dog starts connecting with your baby, visually and through body language, from day one. Carefully observe its attitude.

Gradually, once you feel more comfortable and confident, allow your dog to get closer to the baby. If your dog behaves well and is quiet and gentle with you, why wouldn't it be like that with your baby?

However, this doesn't apply to dogs who you don't know well. If you don't know how your dog can react to a child - for instance, if it's an adopted dog who's had a difficult previous life - it is best to call its previous carers and ask. You can also contact a canine ethologist to oversee and guide the first encounter between a dog and a child and so prevent jealousy and other behavioral problems.

Tips to Prevent Jealousy Between a Dog and a Child - Introducing the baby to the dog

Raising a child with a dog at home

These tips to prevent jealousy between a dog and a child are only the first step. Children are usually sweet and affectionate with their dogs up until 3 or 4 years old. When they get older, however, they start to experiment and interact with their surroundings in a rougher, more sudden fashion. You should teach your child what it really means to have a dog in the family, meaning love, affection, respect, companionship and responsibility.

It is very important to teach your child that they should never hurt a dog nor force it to do something, even if it doesn't listen to you. A dog is not a robot or a toy, it is a living being. Don't forget that a dog that feels attacked can react by trying to defend itself.

For a happy coexistence and to ensure your child's correct emotional development, it is good to share the responsibilities of owning a dog. Bring your child along when you walk your dog, and show them how and when should dogs be given food or water. Including your child in these daily jobs is beneficial for them. Here you can learn more about teaching a child to care for a pet.

Tips to Prevent Jealousy Between a Dog and a Child - Raising a child with a dog at home

Have you ever introduced a dog to a baby? What was your experience like? Share your tips to prevent jealousy between a dog and a child in the comments section!

If you want to read similar articles to Tips to Prevent Jealousy Between a Dog and a Child, we recommend you visit our Behavioral problems category.

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