Reasons why your dog might be scared of your newborn baby
Your dog could be afraid of your newborn for one of three reasons: 1) they have had a negative experience with a small child in the past, 2) Your dog hasn’t been socialized around babies, 3) your dog might be jealous that they don’t have your undivided attention anymore.
A past negative experience with small children
Small children and toddlers can be rough with pets. A curious and well intentioned child can pinch, grab, scratch, hit, poke, and even bite a peaceful dog minding his business. If you have already had children before your newborn and they were rough with your dog when they were little, then your dog might be fearful of your newborn because they don’t want to repeat the same experience again.
Lack of socialization
If your dog hasn’t been around babies or small children then your newborn will seem very strange to your dog. Your dog won’t initially understand what’s going on with this tiny squirmy package of strange noises and smells. Depending on your dog’s breed and personality, these new discoveries might seem stressful rather than exciting.
Dogs love attention and routine, and if those two things change it can be disconcerting for your pup. The arrival of your newborn might be a shock to your dog. You don’t play as much together as you used to. The daily rituals and routines are constantly being interrupted or upended by the baby.
As a dog owner these changes seem obvious, and you probably expected them. Your dog however, didn’t expect these sudden changes. To him or her everything changed overnight. This can lead to stress and jealousy.
How long does it take for a dog to adjust to a new baby?
While the time varies widely between families and their dogs, it can be anywhere from 3 to 9 months before a dog adjusts to a new baby. Younger dogs may have an easier time coping with change than older ones. The breed and individual personality of your dog are factors as well.
How can I calm my dog down around my baby?
Before we get into how to help calm your dog around your baby, we’d like to point out that your baby’s safety should always come before your dog’s training. Never put your child between you and your dog for the purpose of training.
Try desensitizing your dog to your baby. When your dog is in the same room as the baby, encourage calm behavior. Make sure your dog knows that calmness is expected. Try petting your dog and talking softly to them while they are in the vicinity of your child. If your dog sees that you are calm they are more likely to be calm too.
You can also introduce your dog to the baby in short intervals (ideally when your baby is calm too). It might take some practice but as your dog spends more and more time around the child then the excitement and nervousness will start to wear off.