The introduction of a new 'pack member' can be a baffling time
for your dog but there are lots of steps that you can take, both
before the arrival of your new baby, and when you bring it home,
which will help to ease the transition and make the relationship a
happy and safe one. Click here for more information, brought to you
by the KCET.
Bringing a puppy into the family home?
A dog can be a wonderful addition to your family, but it is
important to do your research first. If you have a baby it is well
worth considering waiting until your child is a little older and
you have the time to dedicate to your new puppy. If you have the
time to ensure that you can train, exercise, groom and give
attention to your new pup then it is important to ensure that you
choose the right breed to fit your family's lifestyle. The KCET has
lots of advice to help you make the right decision.
Before the baby arrives
1) Make sure that your dog is well trained - he
should know to not jump up and should respond to basic obedience
commands such as 'sit', 'stay' and 'come', whilst also knowing and
understanding the word 'no'. If your dog has not mastered basic
obedience, the Kennel Club runs Good Citizen Dog Training Classes
throughout the country. If you dog has behaviour issues, seek
training advice from a Kennel Club
2) Get your dog used to the routine he will experience when the
baby arrives - that might mean getting him used to being alone for
short periods of time while you are in another room or out of the
3) Get your dog used to unfamiliar objects that will come with
the baby's arrival - this might include getting him used to walking
well next to a pram, and seeing the cot, playpen and baby toys
indoors and learning that they are not his.
4) If there are areas of the house that will be out of bounds
when the baby arrives, put this in place long before you bring baby
home - you don't want your dog associating the baby's arrival with
the removal of privileges that he used to enjoy.
5) Ensure that your dog's worming, vaccinations and flea
treatments are all up to date.
When baby arrives
1) When bringing the baby home from hospital, mum should greet
the dog first as he will be delighted to see her after she's been
away, while dad brings in the baby calmly afterwards.
2) Include, don't exclude - Reward your dog for approaching the
baby calmly and gently. Don't shout at him for getting it wrong or
for trying to get your attention, gently show him the right way to
3) Teach your dog to stay behind a baby gate or in a crate,
encouraging him with treats and praise. This will keep him away
from the baby but he will still be able to see what is going on. If
you can teach this before the baby arrives that will make the
transition much easier.
4) Keep your dog busy with interactive toys like a stuffed Kong
while you are busy with the baby.
5) Your dog will still need plenty of exercise and interaction
to stop him getting bored and frustrated.
6) Never, ever leave dog and baby alone together.
7) As the baby grows, it is important to know how to behave
around dogs. The Kennel Club has an interactive Safe and Sound game
online, which teaches children the correct way to behave around
dogs in different scenarios, so that safety is never
8) If you want to get a dog once your baby is home, make sure
you research the right breed for you and ensure that you have the
time to dedicate to it.
Helping your children learn how to behave around dogs.
Doggie dos and don'ts
Living with dogs enriches children's lives. Taking care of a dog
is an excellent way of teaching a child to take responsibility,
express empathy, get some exercise and to have fun. Dogs can also
significantly help to raise their self-esteem. But it is the
responsibility of adults to make sure that these valuable child/dog
relationships are nurtured so that one understands the other.
Sadly, dog bites can and do occur in the family home but in most
cases these are easily avoidable if the correct steps are taken in
the first place. You will find a list of doggie dos and don'ts
to teach your children here.
Safe and Sound
The KCET supports the Kennel Club's Safe and Sound initiative,
which helps to ensure dogs and children have a safe and happy
relationship. The Safe and Sound
website includes an online interactive game that helps children
to understand how to behave around dogs in certain situations, to
help avoid incidents occurring.