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 baby blankie home and offering your dog lots of love and a treat right after they smell it. Just know that ONE exposure is not going to make much difference. It's okay if you missed it or want to skip it!⁠

⁠When would it make sense to use baby’s items to introduce their scent to your dog?⁠

  • When your dog is staying with someone else for a few weeks. Have an item used by the baby taken to the dog frequently. ⁠
  • When your child is in the NICU for a longer period of time. Bring home a baby item for the dog each day.⁠

How do you create a positive association with your baby's scent?⁠

  • Let your dog sniff the item (could be in an open bag or through a barrier if your dog is likely to grab it otherwise), praise and reward with a yummy treat. Repeat every day. ⁠
  • If your dog grabs it, shakes it, and shreds it to pieces, the way your dogs shred their toys or other items, don’t worry. It is most likely just that, your dog is being a dog with a new toy! ⁠

Are you expecting or adopting? Download the free Dog Meets Baby Preparation Checklist.


Do you need guidance and help to prepare your dog/s for your baby? Check out the Dog Meets Baby Preparation Course (coming soon).

Not sure how to safely introduce your baby to your dog? Check out my Mini Course.


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