HELPING LABRADORS WITH A NEW BABY

Pets, particularly dogs are our companions, often regarded as members of our own families. Dogs are capable of love and affection, are intuitive, and have emotional and physical needs of their own.

Although they can not speak for themselves, their opinions and needs need to be taken into account not unlike we would treat any member of the human race. A good pet owner is receptive to and proactive when caring for their special family member.

When a new family member is added, dogs like older siblings need the chance to acclimate. Dogs can't hit or punch a new baby, but can express their feelings of rejection and loneliness in other, perhaps more destructive ways. This might include biting or climbing onto the baby, risking suffocation. Dogs are animals and though loving, capable of aggression. An intuitive and loving pet owner can employ provisions and considerations for their pet to facilitate harmony for the entire family.

Since dogs connect with the world using their senses, paying close attention to the way they interpret their surroundings is key in helping them adjust. There will be much baby paraphernalia when the newborn arrives, and it's helpful for a pet to become familiarized with items they will soon see and be surrounded with every day.

A start might start by putting out everyday non-toxic items, such as a basinet, baby blankets sprinkled with powder, and bottles that will eventually contain formula. There is the risk of the dog thinking these things now belong to him, so interaction with the dog is paramount. For instance, if the dog jumps into the basinet, taking the dog out of the basinet, and introducing him to one of his own toys can interrupt the "it's mine" assumption. A doggie treat for playing with and keeping a respectable distance from the baby's things can also be of help.

Most notably, appeal to the dog's sense of smell. Anything scented (such as the above mentioned powder) that can be safely scattered about the house will familiarize the dog with the new smells that will be a part of the household once the baby arrives.