Brush up On, or Start, Training
First things first: training. Regardless of whether your dog has been in training since the day she came home with you or has never set foot in a formal class, training should be your first step when thinking of how you’ll manage both a baby and a dog.
“Training using positive reinforcement methods strengthens the bond between pet parents and their dogs,” says Merritt Milam, an ABC certified trainer and founder of Wags ‘n Whiskers in Alabama. “Having a good relationship is important so the dog knows to look to her parent when determining her next move.”
If your dog has never been in training and you’re soon to have a baby, experts agree—don’t delay.
“It’s a great idea to reach out to a positive reinforcement based trainer as soon as you realize you’re expecting a baby,” Fratt says.
Part of this training will include teaching your dog cues that will come in handy with a baby in the house.
“‘Leave it,’ where the dog leaves an object alone, can be helpful when it comes to baby’s toys,” Milam says. “It might be challenging to teach the difference between the baby’s toys and the dog’s toys, but if pet parents can teach the ‘leave it’ cue, it can apply to the baby, baby’s food, clothes and toys.”