This is a guide to help Pet Parents prepare for a new baby in the home or small children visiting. Over the years, we have had opportunities to introduce new babies and children to our dogs.
This article is a summary of how to provide Pet Parent Guidance to your dog before and after introducing her to a new member of the family or a visitor. Preparation for new experiences is the foundation of Socialization Training. If you are aware of a new baby or child arriving plan ahead and practice with your dog so he is aware of the behavior which will please you when the baby arrives.
Pet Parent Guidance Practice
This is a list of what you will need to create a practice training session.
- A doll or stuffed animal (not your dog’s toys) as close as possible to the size of the child coming to visit,
- Write down a few scenarios you have predicted the child and dog will experience,
- Create a list of behaviors you do not want, and
- Create a list of praise words and treats to communicate with your dog your pleasure as they show you behaviors you do want.
Pet Parent Guidance Praise
- Plan to provide Positive Praise (tone of voice, praise words, hugs, treats, etc.) each time your dog behaves well during the practice session.
- Plan to ignore behaviors you do not want. This is why it is important to start the preparation with an inanimate doll.
- Plan to have a daily practice session as many days in advance as possible to practice and prepare.
During the practice you will focus on positive behaviors and encourage them while ignoring the movements and actions which wouldn’t please you.
Tip: Incorporate teaching your dog the ‘down’ and ‘stay’ commands. Read our 14 Basic On Cue Behaviors List Dog Training Commands blog post.
When Baby Arrives
Now when the baby arrives, or a new child is visiting, you have built the foundation for communication and a positive experience. Be attentive, have another adult with you (to remove the dog from the area if needed), and continue the practice praise words while expecting a few new experiences. Be prepared to use a firm “down” command (if needed) and use repetitive positive praise responses to any behavior you do want. Remember that toy distraction from practice? Have it handy in case you need to remove the dog away from the baby, take a break and play.
In previous training tips, we have discussed how dogs live in a ‘moment to moment world’ so, when you praise or distract be certain the discussion you are having is specific to the current moment. It would be confusing and possibly counterproductive to communicate what you want even a few minutes after the experience happened.
This is a cute video
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