Introducing Your Pet To A New Family Member (That Doesn’t Have Four Paws)
Bringing a new addition home is an exciting time for the whole family – two and four-legged! When introducing a new addition to your pet, it’s important to take things slowly. However, there are a few additional things to consider when introducing a pet without four paws.
Set up early
You likely acquired all of your essential baby items long before you arrived. This is great because you want to set them up as early as possible. This way, your pet has time to get used to the new items and learn how to behave around them (hint: no jumping in the crib!) Long before the baby arrives.
Make the changes gradually
There is a good chance your dog’s routine will be affected by the new arrival. So think about what these changes might look like. You can then make these changes gradually before the baby arrives so that there are no sudden changes associated with the new addition. Start with things that you are going to do with the baby, such as: For example, take the stroller for a walk, go at different times, rock a doll or blanket, or even play a recording of different baby sounds so your pet will get used to them over time.
When you get home, be the first to say hello
The first time you come home with your newborn baby, greet your pet alone. They’re likely to be very excited about your return – so much so that they can jump up or weave between your legs – and don’t want to risk the baby getting caught in the middle. Once they have calmed down, you can start introducing them to their new family member.
Give your pet an adjustment period
With babies come many new sights, smells, and sounds that may be unfamiliar and potentially overwhelming to your pet. You should give them a few days to get used to before you introduce yourself. During this time, you can give them baby’s clothes to smell, minimize the amount they are in when the baby is crying, and let them watch from a distance what is going on. Once they no longer seem to have sensory overload, you can begin the personal introductions.
Start with introductions on a leash
When your pet first meets the baby, you want them to be secured in some way. This could mean being on a leash, but even just holding her in your arms it can work. Once on the leash, let them initiate the approach at their own pace. When they are in your arms, move very slowly and keep an eye on their body language. Be sure to give them lots of praise and even treats on the first few introductions – this will help them develop a positive relationship with the baby. You can do these secured tutorials a few times before finally letting them interact freely. It goes without saying that supervision is a must when your pet is spending time with the baby, whether they’re being restrained or not.
Have a safe place just for your pet
For your pet, having a new addition to the family can sometimes be understandably overwhelming. Because of this, it’s important that you have a safe, baby-free space for your pet to escape to when they need downtime. This can be an entire room, or even just the top of a shelf or box, as long as they have a comfortable and quiet place to rest.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
As a new parent, you have a lot of things on your plate so don’t be afraid to ask for help. A professional can help with training before or after the baby arrives so that you can focus on practicing instead of teaching the behavior you want. If you don’t know a trainer in your area, your vet can recommend one for you.
We hope these tips are helpful in preparing you to introduce your pet to a new family member. If you take the time to plan an appropriate induction, you can ensure that your two- and four-legged family members can have many wonderful years together.