The arrival of a new baby is a huge transition for your dog, and it’s something is recommended to prepare for! Here are some simple ways to prepare during each trimester to make the transition easier.
During your first trimester, I think it’s best to just relax! Yes, it’s important to prepare your dog for baby, but both you and your partner are going through some huge changes. You probably aren’t feeling the best and you’re just trying to survive with this big news. So just focus on yourself, let your partner focus on helping you, and relax! The time to train and prepare your dog for baby will come soon enough.
Ideally, this is the time when you start to think about training. If your dog is already well-behaved, you could wait until around 20-24 weeks to start training. However, you will want to start sooner if your dog has more serious behavioral issues as those take longer to address.
If you are able to start your training during the 2nd trimester, a thorough approach is best. That way, you can cover everything that your dog will need to know and be used to before the baby arrives. For example, some things you can practice are:
- Stroller walking with your dog
- Advanced obedience training (cues such as drop, leave it, stay, away, wait, etc.)
- Obedience cues while holding a doll or small pillow
- Creating dog zones in your home
- Not grabbing baby toys and items
- New routines
All of these things and more are covered in The Prep course. I highly recommend this course for parents at this stage in their pregnancy because they have plenty of time to address any potential issues and prepare their dog for baby.
Another important thing I recommend to help prepare your dog for baby is addressing any behavioral issues. You should bring this up with a trainer as it is not covered in the Prep course. This blog post can help you find a great certified dog trainer if you need one.
If you’re already in your 3rd trimester, don’t be discouraged! It’s always better to have some training than none at all. Even if you only have a few days or weeks to prepare your dog for baby, there are some things you can work on.
- Download the Dog Meets Baby Preparation Checklist. This is a great resource if you need to quickly figure out what you will need to do to prepare for the baby.
- Introduce baby sounds and baby equipment
- Install baby/dog gates
- Make a car safety plan
- Decide on dog sleeping arrangements
Additionally, if introducing your dog to your newborn is giving you anxiety, the Mini Course is a great option. You can easily go through the course a few days before your baby is born or even from your hospital bed!
You do have options when you are preparing your dog for baby. Obviously, the more time you have to prepare, the better. But if you’re already in your third trimester, don’t panic! You can still hit all of the essentials. Any preparation is better than no preparation and can make this transition smoother.
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Disclaimer: This blog is for educational purposes only. Please contact your veterinarian, a certified dog trainer, or a veterinary behaviorist, if your dog's wellbeing is at risk or your dog's behavior poses a threat to you or other people.