My husband and I brought our newborn son home 5 years ago, but we officially became parents 9 years ago when we brought home a cuddly beagle puppy we named Enzo. Much like when you have a new baby, Enzo captured our hearts instantly. He was just the sweetest dog who enjoyed playing, cuddles on the couch, long walks and snuggles at night.
When I became pregnant, my husband and I did the normal nesting. We bought baby furniture, painted the baby’s room, and started to deep clean the house. Honestly, the last thing on my mind was how our dog was going to react to the new baby, let alone adjust to any new rules.
On a very cold February evening I went into labor, and several weeks later a beautiful new baby boy came home to meet Enzo.
Those first few weeks as new parents with a newborn were rough. But things also changed for Enzo. We no longer allowed him on the couch because I was afraid he would jump on the baby and we no longer wanted him on our bed because we were co-sleeping (unplanned) and I was afraid he would wake the baby. It wasn’t until I heard Enzo grumble and give me a look like: “Where did that little human come from? Why does it cry all the time? And when is it going back?” that I realized Enzo was also having a hard time with the baby adjustment.
If I could pass on a helpful hint about how to ready your dog for a newborn, it would be to gradually get your dog used to any changes before the baby arrives. As your baby grows, teach your child to respect the dog and to be gentle. And above all, make sure your dog still feels loved and that he is still part of your pack. Now our dog has three little boys crawling all over him. He is extremely tolerant and gentle. And while he will give the boys an infrequent warning nip if they get too rough, usually he just grumbles and moves to the next warm, sunny spot. It has taken some time, but Enzo enjoys playing with the boys and he especially loves the extra treats he gets. After all, if it falls to the ground it goes to the hound!