Monday, February 27, 2012

Help your dog adjust to baby

Repost of article in Miami Herald February 27, 2012

American Kennel Club

Congratulations, you're having a baby! You spent nine months preparing for your newborn, but the American Kennel Club asks what about your other "baby" your dog?
"Most dogs are used to being the 'baby' of the family and many have difficulty adjusting to the new family dynamic," warns AKC's Canine Good Citizen and AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Director and Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, Mary Burch, Ph.D. "However, many gradual adjustments to your lifestyle can help prepare your dog for changes he will experience and ensure a smooth adjustment."
The AKC offers tips on how to ease your dog into this new phase and exciting period of your life. Among them:
- Start early. Begin to make adjustments to your dog's schedule before your baby arrives. Make a list of all the ways your dog's routine will be changed. For example, will your dog's daily walk be switched from morning to afternoon? Will your pup have less one on one time with you?
- Use sight, sound and scent. If any of your friends have babies, you can ask if your dog could be introduced to one of their new babies. Play a CD of a baby crying to acclimate him to the new sound. Before you bring your newborn home, bring a baby blanket home from the hospital so your dog can get used to the infant's scent. When your dog behaves well around these new stimuli, praise and reward him with treats.
- Exercise. One of the best ways to combat any undesired behavior in your dog is through exercise. Make sure that your dog has plenty of time to exert his energy by making the daily walk a priority or hire a dog walker so he doesn't become bored.
- Schedule time with your dog. After the baby arrives, things will be very hectic. To make sure the dog stays a priority, decide on times when you can give your dog a little extra attention-perhaps while the baby is napping or make it a point to have your dog accompany you on walks with your baby.
We highly recommend the Nina Ottosson puzzle toys for your dog.  They are mentally stimulating and really help keep your dog from being bored.  It is a great way to spend some one on one time with your dog.
Additional tips can be found on the American Kennel Club Web site at
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