Dog Meets Baby Blog

How To Socialize Your Dog With Young Children

Jul 23, 2021

If you don’t have kids of your own but plan on having children, are expecting or adopting, or want your dog to be comfortable with young children, socialization with that age group is important.

What does it mean?

It means repeated positive experiences. You want your dog to have positive associations with young children.

How to create positive associations?

If your dog has shown aggression, fear, or discomfort around children, I recommend working with a certified dog trainer.

If you have a young puppy or your dog is neutral and relaxed around young children, here are a few examples.

>>> Unknown Children

Your dog sees young children from a safe distance and gets a treat or plays with a toy. Your dog learns young children to predict treats and play! Rinse and repeat!

>>> Known Children

Ideally meet in a neutral space, making sure the child gives your dog plenty of space and choice.

Your dog is given a choice to approach a child, approaches in a happy and...

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Age Appropriate Dog & Child Activities | How To Safely Involve A Preschooler.

Jul 23, 2021

My kids and Lola have an amazing relationship. They share a strong bond and mutual love for each other. It is a dream come true. But they are still young children with fast-developing brains, who need caregivers’ guidance and management.

>>> Management for 3-5-year-old children is going to vary based on your child and the phases they go through. Physical management (gates, no-go zones) should still be in place. However, you know your child, and if they are good at following rules, you can give them more responsibility and loosen management in certain instances.

Here are some ideas on HOW TO SAFELY INVOLVE A 3 TO 5 YEAR OLD WITH YOUR DOG. As always, both child and dog should be consenting, relaxed, and happy to participate.

+ Giving Treats

Around this age children are more reliable about treat delivery, holding it properly, and then releasing it to the dog.

+ Assisting With Feedings

Preschoolers can fill kongs or other puzzle toys with treats or kibble, hide food in a...

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What To Consider When Choosing A Dog/Baby Gate

Jul 23, 2021

When choosing a dog/baby gate for your new family, there are so many things to consider!

We made a few mistakes when we purchased our first gate, and now I have a great list of essentials for any safety gate that will be used around kids.

  1.  It's important that you can open it one-handed! As parents, we are constantly juggling - you can't guarantee you'll have both hands free to open the gate, so a one-handed operation is a must.
  2. Make sure it opens both ways. It makes your life so much easier if you don’t have to back up to let the gate swing open. We don’t recommend gates that can swing both ways for stairs use.
  3. I love it when the corners are rounded - it really makes a difference when you have a running toddler.
  4. Don't learn the hard way... make sure your gate doesn't have a bottom bar for you to trip on!
  5. Many gates have an auto-lock feature which I love! The reassuring click makes it so you don't have to check if it's locked - so helpful!
  6. Don't get a gate with...
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Baby on the way! When Should I Start Preparing My Dog?

Jul 23, 2021

As a twin mom, I was aware that there could be complications, and many multiples arrive earlier. I had the best second trimester, I was full of energy and in great shape, and I assumed it would continue that way.

Literally overnight, I had to stop working and was put on modified bed rest for 2 months, with two short hospital stays. We never had a chance to introduce Lola to a stroller. Luckily it was not an issue, but not every dog does well with a stroller without training.

While severe complications are rare, you might be too tired and uncomfortable in the last weeks of your pregnancy.

And, since babies often don’t arrive on their due date, it’s best to start earlier.

The ideal time to start preparing your dog for your baby is about 3 to 6 months before you have your baby.


If your dog has any behavioral issues that need to be addressed, like:

  • possessive over resources such as food, toys, chews, novel or stolen objects, locations, or people, 
  • barking and...
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Do I Need To Bring A Baby Blanket Home For Your Dog To Smell?

Jul 23, 2021

How many people recommended bringing the baby blanket, baby hat, or your baby’s onesie home for your dog to smell as a way of introducing your dog to your baby? Probably many, am I right?

As a trainer who taught scent detection classes and competed in scent detection, here's my take on it. To start, there are a multitude of smells being brought home on that item in addition to the baby’s scent:

  • Detergent,
  • hospital smells,
  • baby lotion,
  • diaper smell,
  • smells of anyone who touched the blanket,
  • smell of the bag(s) it was carried in,
  • milk or formula smell, etc.

While your dog will detect the baby smell on the blanket, it will be one of many scents.

Your dog is exposed to new smells every day. Every time we bring new items into the house - groceries, new items we purchased, anytime we come from being somewhere else, we bring new smells. Dogs learn that smells don't matter unless they already have a strong association with a particular smell.

There's no harm in bringing the...

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Are Dog Puzzle Toys Worth Spending Money On?

Jul 23, 2021

Many parents of newborns and young children find puzzle toys super helpful. They often reduce the parents’ guilt of having less time for the dogs and keep the dogs busy, a win-win situation.  I recommend using them to feed dogs their meals, make snacks, during grooming sessions, or when working on alone time training.

General rules:

  • Make it initially easy and yummy.
  • To start with, use a lot of loosely packed food so it falls out easily.
  • Slowly make it more difficult: pack it more densely, add layers, freeze the toy.
  • Choose a puzzle toy that matches your dog’s personality, size, and breed.
  • Many puzzle toys come in 2 or 3 sizes. To choose the right kong, check out the Kong size guide on their website.

There are many puzzle toys on the market and your dog certainly doesn't need all of them. Over the years, I’ve tested many puzzle toys on various dogs. Here are some of my favorites.

If you have a herding breed dog or one that likes to play with toys, a ball-like...

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What To Get Your Dog When You Have A Newborn

Jul 23, 2021

Chews can be so helpful when you have a newborn or a young child and have less time for your dog. Under-exercised dogs can bark, chew on your furniture or kids’ toys. Chews will keep your dog occupied, and they are a great outlet for dogs’ natural instincts.

As I was researching various chews to share with you, I came to the conclusion that there just isn't one 'always-safe' chew for every dog. Possible concerns: broken or cracked teeth, choking, gastro-intestinal irritation, or digestive obstruction, should a dog bite off more than they can chew or decide to swallow something whole.

General rules:

  • Always consult your veterinarian before offering your dog a chew.
  • Supervise your dog, and remove small or broken pieces to prevent a choking hazard.
  • Ideally, a chew should pass the “thumbnail test": soft enough that it will “give” if you press it with your thumbnail.
  • Some chews are very high in calories, some stink, some stain carpets.
  • The American...
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Puzzle Toys My Dog Loves & Doesn't Destroy (Easily)

Jul 23, 2021

Is there a toy or a puzzle toy that occupies your dog for longer? 

Due to the nature of my job, I have tested many different puzzle toys on Lola and other dogs. There are new puzzle toys each year but there are some we’ve been buying over and over or we’ve kept for years. The reason I’m buying them again is not always because she destroys them, some get lost.

We started using the Slow Feeder Bowl about three years ago. Having fed Lola out of complicated puzzle toys for many years, I’m not ready to feed her out of a bowl. I love when dogs work for food because there are so many benefits. This is a good alternative to a regular bowl.

Pickle Pocket is my secret weapon. This toy holds up really well. I hide small yummy treats or tiny pieces of sausage or cheese and Lola spends hours chewing on it and dropping it with the hope that food will fall out.


An award-winning puzzle toy!  Very well made, durable, hold treats, kibble, all sorts of...

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Childproofing Your Dog

Jul 23, 2021

While there is baby-specific training that I recommend doing when you are expecting or adopting, a lot of the training can be done much sooner.

  • Obedience training (coming when called, wait and stay, placement cues such as go to bed or go to crate)
  • Leash training
  • Alone time training
  • Crate training
  • Resource guarding prevention exercises (to teach your dog to be comfortable when resources are taken away)
  • Handling exercises (being comfortable when paws or ears are touched)
  • Socialization with new objects, sounds, movements, surfaces, etc.
  • Socialization with infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and older children.



I asked my followers on Instagram to share with me, what was the best thing they taught their dogs to prepare them for future children. 

Marya: “Crate training. So helpful not only with a 4-month-old but in so many instances.”

Melanie: “Place work! So nice to tell her to go lie down if she’s showing anxiety or just is in the way. “...

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Advanced Dog Puzzle Toys For When You Cannot Exercise Your Dog

Jul 23, 2021

If you have a high-energy and/or working line dog, an occasional bully stick won’t do it. Even if your dog has plenty of exercise, that might not be enough for dogs who need a job to thrive. More complicated puzzle toys are very helpful when you cannot exercise your dog, e.g. during pregnancy, or postpartum recovery.


DID YOU KNOW? You can make most puzzle toys more challenging by freezing the food or packing them densely.

Here are some options:

Busy Buddy® Barnacle

The flexible prongs make this toy more challenging. Durable comes in 3 sizes.

Busy Buddy® Tug-A-Jug

Another challenging puzzle toy from the same company. The plastic is durable according to parents who tested it on their destructive chewers.

Kong Genius

Interlocks with other Genius toys for an added challenge. Comes in two sizes.

Dog Treat Ball

You can hide kibble, treats, or smear PB. If you use it for kibble, it is pretty time-consuming to fill it. But it is equally challenging for your dog to get...

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