Q & A: New baby and jealous dog

Q: I’m currently pregnant and have a very jealous Yorkie. How would I introduce the new baby to my jealous dog?

A: Preferably, dogs should be positively exposed to items, sounds and smells associated with babies long before the baby arrives, so that they are well prepared for the actual arrival.

In the case of a potentially jealous dog, I would highly recommend working with a qualified behaviourist who can assist both you and your dog in handling this big change. And keep in mind that it is a big change for your dog, not just for you!

Many dogs become highly stressed when a baby arrives in the home, particularly if they have not been suitably prepared. Introducing a baby to any dog should always be done extremely carefully to ensure a lasting positive and safe relationship.

A bad start to the relationship via a poor introduction is never ideal, especially when you have a new baby who requires your attention. When it comes to babies and children, always err on the side of caution and consult with a qualified professional who only uses positive reinforcement methods – you definitely don’t want to use any sort of punishment with your dog, as he may associate it with the baby, creating an even bigger issue.

Katherine Brown, behaviourist

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