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Canine Behavior/New Baby and Dog

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Question
I will be having a new baby soon.  My dog typically is not a jealous dog.  My dog is 7 her name is Mya and she has been my only "child" since a puppy. She does love kids but this will be new for her.
My question is. I will be in the hospital for a few days
for the delivery of the baby. I am going to have a family friend take Mya while in the hospital.  Should I have my friend drop Mya off before I get home so she is waiting for me when I arrive with the baby. Or should I have her dropped off after I am home with the baby.  I really don't know what to expect here because this will be so new for both of us.  Thanks!!

Answer
Have the dog returned home well before you come home with the baby.  This means:  if you are returning home early in the AM, have the dog walked and fed and brought back home the night before (even if your friend has to come by to let the dog out before your return).

Purchase a swaddling blanket (inexpensive) and instruct the nurse's station to swaddle the newborn in it.  The scent of the baby will transfer to the blanket in minutes.  Then send the blanket "home" to the dog (at your friend's house) and let the dog "have" the blanket.  Your friend should make a big deal out of this (have a low level "party") when giving the dog the blanket.  Make sure that the dog "receives" the blanket multiple times each day (the dog may at first ignore it) to obtain scent.

Meanwhile, between now and delivery date, buy a doll (cheap doll).  Carry it with you around the house; talk to it; hug it; get the dog accustomed to seeing you giving attention to this "object" which will have no scent of its own but your own scent.  "Introduce" the dog to the doll, let the dog sniff the doll, praise and give a treat SO LONG AS THE DOG IS BEHAVING in a manner that is friendly (body height tail wag, ears curious or perked, not flat back on head, hackles normal).  Carry this "baby" around with you all the time, putting it down sporadically (as you will your infant.)

Change nothing about the dog's schedule when the actual infant arrives home.  The dog will be curious: scent and sounds of neonate Human are unknown to a dog unless dog has been heavily socialized to same (and most dogs have not).  Do not allow the dog to be with the baby alone for any reason: this is not to say the dog will harm the baby, but it is common sense precaution.  Do not let the dog sleep in the baby's room; put a "baby gate" up.

I will be back in the US end of September.  If you require any help prior to that (once your baby is born), ask Jody Epstein (another expert on this site).  Meanwhile: after my return, use followup feature so I can see original question and answer.

The domestic dog has been "welcoming" Human infants into its environment for a very, very long time without incident.  But one must remember: this is a dog.  What a dog will do with a neonate dog (newborn puppy) will injure (or worse) a human infant without the dog having any intention to do so.  

Canine Behavior

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.

Expertise

I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.

Experience

30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for ThePetChannel.com for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, K9Shrinks@egroups.com. Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Organizations
Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Publications
Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Education/Credentials
Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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