Here are some of the tips we followed before the baby was brought home:
- We let the dogs sniff all of the things the baby would use, especially diapering and bathing supplies.
- We spent time in the nursery with the dogs before the baby was born. We laid the ground rules before the baby arrived: No chewing on baby toys. No getting on the nursing glider. This meant there was no change in the rules once baby arrived.
- We got them familiar with being around wheeled objects, like a stroller.
- We played them sounds of babies crying (only a few times but still...)
- Once the baby was born, we had my in-laws, who were kenneling the dogs, take them a blanket that our baby, Ellis, had been wrapped in. Having that allowed them to be familiar with his smell before even meeting him.
Since everyone- dogs, babies and everything in between- all got home, there's been some interesting reactions too. Our fox terrier, Stella, was the most curious in all things baby prior to Ellis' arrival, and that proved true afterwards as well. She went from curiosity about whether he was a toy to impatience for him to play with her to being wary of all the crying. Actually, she still loves to give him the "sniff test," but definitely is a bit more disdainful of the baby when he is interrupting her sleeptime with wails! Our other dog, Max, wouldn't even go in the nursery before the baby, but now it is his more usual hang-out spot. He's still mostly indifferent and just wants to stick close to me, but if I'm out of the room and he thinks the baby needs me, he will track me down, for sure!
I can only imagine there will be new hurdles for us to adjust for as Ellis gets more mobile. What were issues you faced with a dog + baby, and do you have any tips to handle those situations?