You are expecting a baby! You’ve prepared the nursery, bought dozens of diapers, and filled the freezer with healthy heat-and-serve meals. But have you prepared the dog?

A new baby will change your household. Many experts believe that preparing your dog for these changes will reduce his stress levels and reduce the chance that the dog will bite your child. Here are some tips from the dog bite attorneys at Hupy and Abraham:

How to Prepare Your Dog for the New Baby

  • Take your dog to a dog obedience refresher course. This will reinforce your dog’s training and emphasize the fact that you are in charge.
  • Practice giving your dog cues from a variety of positions. Your dog may be responding to your actions rather than your words. If your baby is asleep in your arms, it may be hard to stand up to tell your dog to sit. Be consistent with your cues, but try them in a variety of settings.
  • Vary your dog’s schedule. Once the baby is born, your child will be your first priority. The dog will have to wait for food until the baby is done nursing. His walk will be delayed until after the baby’s nap. He may have to spend time in his crate. Create a new schedule with varied feeding and exercise times and crate time.
  • Observe the dog. Be aware of how the dog tries to get your attention. Begin ignoring attention-seeking behavior.
  • Set up the nursery well in advance. Make it clear that the nursery is off-limits to the dog.
  • Find a good place to store dirty diapers. Dirty diapers can be very tempting to a dog. Look for a diaper pail that holds in odors and can’t be knocked open.
  • Allow your dog to become familiar with baby equipment. Teach your dog how to behave around baby equipment. Put a teddy bear in your baby carrier and wear the carrier around the house. Work with your dog while you wear the carrier. You can also try walking your dog while pushing the bear in a stroller.
  • Allow the dog to become familiar with the baby’ scent. Use the baby’s shampoo and lotion, so your dog will find those smells familiar. Once the baby is born, ask your spouse to bring home a blanket with the baby’s smell. Put the blanket in the swing, playpen, or baby seat.
  • Play a CD with baby noises. This will help your dog get used to the sound of a crying baby.
  • Let your dog get used to children. Spend time with children in a controlled environment.
  • Schedule a vet visit. Take your dog for a check-up during your eighth month of pregnancy. This way, you’ll have everything your dog needs to be healthy when the baby arrives.
  • Familiarize your dog with the person who will care for him while you are giving birth.

Advance planning can help your dog accept your baby and prevent future dog bites.

Do you know a pregnant mother who would benefit from these tips? Feel free to share this article with your friends and family.

Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.