Do you have dogs in your home or are planning to get one? Whether you’re a parent who wants to become a dog owner or a dog owner who is soon to become a parent, it’s important to childproof your dog.
Childproofing your dog is just as important as house training it. Dogs wouldn’t know how to behave properly around babies on their own. So to avoid chaos and keep your baby safe, we will discuss how to teach a dog to be gentle with babies in this article.
1. Begin with command training.
The first step in childproofing your dog is to ensure that they can follow control commands. The most basic control commands that are always relevant include sit, down, and let go. Through this type of training, you will be able to assert your control over your dog, but at the same time, establish a solid bond built around trust and communication. As a dog owner, getting involved in command training will help you learn how to interpret the behaviors and feelings of your dog much better.
Once you’re done with the basic control commands, you can start with more advanced training that will prove to be useful in a household with a baby. For instance, your dog can learn how to differentiate between its chew toys and your baby’s toys.
2. Take some time to socialize your dog with children beforehand.
Before the baby even arrives, make sure that you’ve already exposed your dog with children. Remember, even if your dog is used to being around adults, this doesn’t mean that it is ready to be around young ones, let alone a baby. Aside from having a different scent than you, babies are significantly smaller, and can be louder and aggressive.
So if you don’t want your dog to be overwhelmed with the new creature that it will encounter, a crucial step is to simply socialize your dog with children. By letting your dog interact with children who are playing, laughing, or crying until it feels comfortable around them, you are off to a good start in childproofing your dog.
If you want to start a bit slow, you can invite some friends or family together with their older kids just to see how your dog will react around them. If things go well, you can try bringing your dog someplace where there are younger kids who are highly energetic.
During these socializations, make sure that your dog is on a leash so you can easily control it. This is also a good time to continue correcting its unwanted behaviors such as barking and overcitement, while rewarding the pleasant behaviors.
3. Follow a specific schedule.
We’ve been in your shoes. Having children can drastically change your normal daily routine. However, what’s even more important than trying to stay on schedule, is to ensure that having a baby will not disrupt your dog’s normal routine.
This means even if you have a new baby, you should still stick to the walking and feeding schedules of your dog. Dogs love some form of routine, and they also need exercise to stay healthy. So don’t deprive your dog from their daily walks and regular feeding schedule so they won’t get stressed.
If your schedule really won’t allow it, you might want to consider hiring a dog walker if only just temporarily, until life returns to normal.
4. Don’t leave your dog and baby unattended.
This is a bit self-explanatory, but again, we would like to remind you not to leave your baby and the dog alone. Even if you’ve managed to fully childproof your dog, you should still keep an eye on them.
The behavior of your dog and your child can be unpredictable sometimes. So just to be safe, avoid leaving your dog and baby unattended to prevent accidents or injuries. If you really need to do something else and be in another room in your house, use the crate for your dog. These crates can’t be easily opened by young ones, and can provide a safe personal space for your dog at the same time.
Dogs are like babies, which is why many experts recommend dog owners to wait until their youngest child is at least five years old before getting a dog. However, if it is unavoidable, the best thing you can do is to train your dog.
While dog training can be a fun way to strengthen your bond, it also requires a lot of patience and consistency. If you don’t have the skill, time, or patience, the easiest route you can take is to hire a professional dog trainer.
At Delaware K9 Academy, they offer private classes and 2-week bootcamps that can successfully teach your dog how to behave properly and get rid of unwanted behaviors. If you’re interested in childproofing your dog or you simply want to establish a stronger relationship with your pet, visit www.delawarek9academy.com to learn about their services or get in touch with them so their expert dog trainers can help you explore your options.