The countdown to Baby’s arrival has begun. The experts show you how to get your dog ready.
1. Act it out
A good way to get your pet used to the new routine is to begin role-playing weeks before Baby is due, says Dr Brian Loon, principal veterinary surgeon at Amber Vet.
Act out simple scenarios around the house with common items that will be used with the newborn to train your dog to behave in the desired manner.
Or try walking the dog with the baby stroller, and using a baby doll as a substitute.
Reward good behaviour with a treat, toy or praise, and try not to scold your pet when it doesn’t listen; that will only lead to anxiety and more undesirable behavior.
2. Use the same command
It is also a good idea to make sure your dog knows and follows commands, Dr Loon adds. Important ones include sit-stay and down-stay.
Be sure it comes when called, allows gentle touches at all parts of its body, keeps all paws on the ground when greeting people and walks on a loose leash without pulling it.
Everyone in the family should also use the same command for each behaviour, so your pooch does not get confused.
3. Set a routine
This way, your dog knows when to expect meals, walks or play times, says Dr Natalie Epton, specialist paediatrician and neonatologist at the International Paediatric Clinic. And always stick to it – like babies, animals thrive on routine.
Give it a separate space with its own bed, favourite toys, and food and water that it can escape to if the noise or general chaos becomes overwhelming.