Bringing Home Baby

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It can be nerve-wracking bringing your baby home for the first time. How do I introduce dog and baby? And how will my dog react?

5 years ago, when I first adopted my dog, Dexter, he was very fearful of children. Unfortunately, he wasn’t exposed to many things in life so it’s taken a lot of work to get him more comfortable, at a safe distance mind you, and ensuring he has a ’safe place’ to go to when he needs. Having friends and family with kids made this easier to work with my dog as it gave him the exposure early on, because I knew one day I was going to have kids.
It’s about creating a positive experience with kids! When modifying behaviour, it is important to know your dogs’ distance; the distance that makes them comfortable. As well, it’s important to have a list of triggers that may set them off. Make sure you have some super high value treats like rollover or real meat when working with your dog. With Dexter, it was loud noises, kids running and waving their little arms around, the list goes on! Now, I love clicker training because it’s clean and precise, however, some people may not find clicker training is all that easy since there’s a lot of multi-tasking going on. In this case, you can always use a verbal marker like “yes” to replace the clicker.
I was able to introduce Dexter to kids of all ages. And since he’s also motivated by toys, I was able to have older children work with that along with Dexter, once I got him more comfortable at a closer distance. Children go through different stages and are constantly growing, so keep in mind that you must create a positive experience with your dog throughout these different stages. (Ei: When your baby cries, crawls, walks, moves their arms or legs, basically anything that you can think of I would work with.)
Keep in mind that training never stops. I train every day with my dog and it can be a lot of work, but there is nothing more important than my child’s safety, not to mention my dogs’! So keep at it and good luck!
Glen Quart

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