Advice for Dog Owners
In the Dog House
Like my dog, Napoleon, your furry friend might have some trouble adjusting to his new housemate. "Dogs form strong social attachments to people," says Driscoll. When your dog moves from top dog to underdog after baby comes, he will likely be confused, "and a confused dog is more likely to form negative associations with a new baby," says Driscoll. Take your dog to parks before baby comes so he can adjust to being around kids, advises DeFranco.
And if you haven't trained your dog already, consider obedience school. "It sets up a system of communication between you and your dog," says DeFranco. "It lets him know who's boss in your house: you. If a dog doesn't know his place, he's likely to think of himself as the leader and less likely to respond to the commands of his guardian."
An issue that frequently comes up when a baby and a dog share a home is tussling over toys. Try to keep baby toys and dog toys separate, but if your pet grabs one of your baby's playthings, take it away and redirect him to something of his own. When the dog plays with his toys, reward him. DeFranco also recommends rubbing your dog's toys with almond oil. "He'll associate the good smell with his things and won't go after the baby's." What if baby grabs your pet's toy? Redirect him to his own things and praise him -- no almond oil needed!