Raising kids and raising dogs can both be tough tasks. So how do you deal with both at once? Here are some tips for raising both together without losing your mind.
Whether you own a dog and you’re preparing to welcome a baby, or you have a little one and you’re planning on getting a pup, raising a kid and a dog together can quickly get overwhelming as each one grows up and develops personality and spunk!
Here are some tips and tricks to make your dual baby-raising easier.
Prepare Each One For The Other
Whether you’re bringing a baby home to a dog or getting a dog to add to your family, it’s a great idea to introduce the first to the second. If they get off to a good start, it will make your dual-raising easier from the beginning!
If you have a baby at home, you may want to bring the dog for a playdate and facilitate some gentle contact. Be sure to supervise every moment! If your child is a little older, explain to them what’s happening and visit the pup before bringing him home. Visiting friends with dogs is also a good idea.
If you have a pup and you’re awaiting the arrival of a baby, you can sprinkle some baby powder in their basket or rub some baby oil on one of their toys to get them used to the scent. Be sure it’s not toxic to dogs! You could also play some baby sounds, like gurgling or laughing.
Spend Time Together
Once both pup and babe are living in the home, have them spend time together as much as possible. Always supervise, and always ensure they’re gentle with each other.
If you notice any hint of unhappiness or fear from either one, remove them from each other’s presence and try again later or the next day. Monitor carefully to see what sparks these moments. If your child is old enough, you can ask them how they feel and why.
The more time they spend together, the more they’ll get used to each other’s presence. Your baby will come to see the dog as their sibling, and the pup will see your child as their pack-mate.
They’ll also begin to get an idea of each others’ body language and subtle cues. Your child will learn that growling means the puppy is unhappy, and the pup will learn that crying means the baby is upset.
Train Them Both
Both puppies and babies can be trained! Teaching them how to interact is imperative. Babies need to learn not to pull on puppy’s fur, and dogs need to know they can’t bite the little human.
One of the best ways to train your child is by leading by example. Yes, even from a very young age, they notice. When they’re tiny, a simple “No!” can teach them what they shouldn’t be doing, and as they get older you can explain why.
Discourage teasing, pulling of fur, interrupting sleep, or trying to ride the dog! You want to teach mutual respect, not that a dog is an object that can be manhandled.
The same goes for the dog. If they get a little nibbly, don’t yell (as tempting as it may be, to protect your baby). When your dog nips, let out a high-pitched yelp. This is how they learn bit control when they’re still with the litter.
Use A Reward System!
One of the best ways to make training stick (for both kids and dogs) is to implement a reward system. This doesn’t have to be a piece of candy or a dog treat each time they get something right. Positive reinforcement and praise is good enough.
Get Kids Involved In Dog Care
If your child is slightly older, even by just a year or two, get them involved in looking after the dog. Something as simple as getting them to pour the cup of kibble into your puppy’s bowl can give them a headstart on looking after their buddy.
If they’re still tiny, just having them around while you do dog-related things like feeding, grooming, and even picking up poop could impress upon them how a dog should be treated.
Raising a kid and a dog together doesn't have to be an overwhelming experience! If you’re planning on having a tiny human and a baby pooch in your home at the same time, it’s all a matter of having the right mindset, preparing well, and having enough patience to raise them together lovingly.