Preparing Your Dog For Baby: Don’t Wait Until You Bring Your Infant Home

Know your dog's stress signs before you bring baby home. Signs courtesy of Dr. Moon, Image by Decoded Pregnancy

Know your dog’s stress signs before you bring baby home. Signs courtesy of Dr. Moon, Image by Decoded Pregnancy

Help Prepare Your Dog for Baby: Cuddle a Blankie or Doll!

It has become quite common to recommend the use of dolls, recordings of babies crying and smells such as baby powder to prepare your dog for the arrival of the baby. But is this level of preparation really necessary?

According to Dr. Moon, the dog can distinguish between a doll and a baby, and between recordings and a real baby in the room crying. What these things do seem to help with is changing your focus.

While you are playing mother and soothing the doll, your behavior is different. Your dog sees that and becomes accustomed to your new behavior, which is a good thing. But carrying anything wrapped in a blanket can do the same.

Pregnancy and Pets: Be Aware of Human Behavior Changes

It is common to focus on the dog’s behavior, but it is also important to recognize changes in the behavior of people around a pregnant woman and newborn babies. People often overreact, particularly in situations where they perceive a danger to the woman or baby. Parents-to-be, as well as grandparents-to-be, may suddenly see the dog’s behavior, which they previously thought of as cute, as a liability and deal with it harshly.

If you have concerns about any of your dog’s behaviors, it is best to consult with a behaviorist, preferably a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, to get help with changing those behaviors in ways the dog will understand and be more apt to accept. The sooner you do this the better – for the dog and the whole family.

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Doggie Stress: Watch for These Signs in Your Pet

Dogs under stress can act in unexpected ways. For your safety and your new baby’s safety, watch for signs of increasing stress in your pet. Dr. Moon suggests keeping a log of your pet’s behavior.

• What activities and interactions make your dog “worry?”
• How does the dog behave when he is worried?
• Make a list of signs your dog is stressed.

Prepare a Family Plan

We all think it won’t happen to us, but sometimes even loving pets can behave aggressively. According to Labecka, et al, the most common pet biting injuries are dog bites, so pay attention to the signs your pet is giving you. Get help for problem behaviors now, and prepare a family plan so everyone knows how to avoid pet confrontations, and how to respond in case the “unexpected” happens.


M Łabęcka, et al. Injuries due to human and animal aggression in humans. (2013). Annals of Agricultural and Environmental Medicine. Accessed October 2, 2013.

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