Congratulations! You are new parents, and it is now time to bring your little Carrie home. You have read up on “children and dogs" and know what advance steps to do to avoid jealousy or development of dog aggression or dog dominance behavior. You have prepared Duke, using your leadership position, common sense, and his dog instincts - so he is looking forward eagerly to the arrival of the new “pack member" and knows how to treat her with respect.
Remember a few things here. First, Duke has long awaited Carrie's arrival, throughout your pregnancy. Now he knows long before you come through the door that she is coming home. He has smelled it in advance, so you do not need to let him sniff her. On the contrary, do NOT put the baby at a level where Duke can sniff her, both for their individual adjustment and for their mutual safety.
Duke knows Carrie's scent already, but he needs to adjust to the crying noises and all the new sounds and smells a baby brings. Duke may have a fear bite reaction if he is given access too early. Heaven forbid baby might cry if sniffed, spook the dog, and a frightened Duke nips her! Premature access might also cause a startled Carrie to develop a fear of dogs.
Keep Duke on his normal routine. Do not change it. Duke needs consistency from you, not favoritism or sympathy. He needs stability and a simple adjustment period.
As soon as Carrie is old enough, take her in the stroller on walks with Duke as regularly as feasible. This is important. This helps to create a “pack. " Be sure to keep her stroller in front on the walk, though, so that Duke remembers: "Baby = Respect!"
It is important to establish to a dog that a baby means BOUNDARIES. Without knowing the rules, a dog sometimes tries to help by handling the baby the way he would a pup in the wild. Not good!
Gradually allow Duke supervised access to Carrier's room. He is allowed to lie down by her crib if he pleases, even from the beginning if his demeanor is proper. This is a good dog instinctive behavior and means that Duke is keeping a protective eye on her.
If Duke is pestering you and trying to bring you into Carrie's room when he is normally calm around her, then CHECK THE BABY IMMEDIATELY! Trust me, Duke knows something you don't! Even if nothing appears to be wrong with Carrie, take her to the doctor – You may be thanking Duke for saving her life!
Dogs read scents. To them, it is like a free tabloid that comes out several times a day with intimate details! Let Duke learn about Carrie and observe your behavior BEFORE interaction between dog and baby is allowed.
Remember, too, that the personal time you have with your baby is for the two of you, and Duke is not a part of it. He may walk in and lie down respectfully, but you must not let him come over and demand attention. That can create competition and jealousy. Also, do not pet him while you are holding the baby, because he will think he can push your hand in such circumstances to get attention – Then one day he might push the wrong way, the wrong time, and down goes baby!
Of course, jealousy, dog possessive behavior, and dog aggression do sometimes happen. If you have any doubts or concerns about your dog's temperament, consult a professional immediately – especially if the dog is being possessive about the baby! Better to be safe than sorry. Symptoms of dog jealousy include relieving himself by the crib or in the baby's space, taking the baby's things, growling, or trying to snap. Do not take any symptoms lightly. Dog aggression toward children is a very serious problem!
GET HELP from Rena Murray at the Dog Obedience Training website. An accomplished Dog Behavior Modification expert, Dog Obedience Trainer, and Platinum Expert Author, Rena provides self-help Articles and free “Best Ezines"-recognized newsletter: PAW PERSUASION POINTERS to help you better understand communication and control of your dogs, debunk dog training myths, explore right and wrong dog training techniques for specific situations, address destructive dog behavior, excessive and obsessive dog behavior, and other canine issues, from new puppy to old dog. Subscribe for free at PawPersuasion.com, visit Rena's BLOG - http://www.pawpersuasion.com/blog/ , find the dog products, crates, and gifts you need at PawPersuasion.com, and Contact Rena for Coaching