Prepare your dog to adapt to life with new baby

Jul 16, 2012, 13:46 IST | PTI

Just as parents-to-be attend parenting classes, dogs also need help adapting to life with a new baby, an Australian Vet couple feels

The veterinarians -- Lewis Kirkham and his wife Debra -- who work at the University of Melbourne's Veterinary Hospital have developed a guide 'Tell Your Dog You're Pregnant' so that families can prepare their dog for the noises and household changes that a new baby brings.

Representational picture

They are hoping that their book help in building a strong bond between dog and baby. The veterinarian Lewis Kirkham said that dogs need help adapting to life with a new baby.

"As a vet I am very interested in understanding the bond between owners and their pets, so this prompted us to develop a guide to assist in bonding between the dog and a newborn baby," Kirkham said.

"To many couples the dog is their 'fur' child and there are a lot of changes that will occur when a human baby arrives." Preparing the dog early for these changes can help prevent behavioural issues such as; house-soiling, aggression, destruction and attention-seeking.

The book provides a step by step guide to prepare a dog for a baby in the house including the latest in animal behavioural psychology to help owners introduce their baby to their pet, read and interpret a dog's body language and adjust the household to keep the dog calm.

Kirkham has provided advice to many dog owning couples who were expecting a baby and found there was a lack of good quality baby and toy noises available.

"When our first daughter was born we recorded some of her sounds and then expanded and remastered these sounds to create a CD, which accompanies the book, to familiarize dogs with a range of baby sounds, including squeaky toys, crying, sneezing, giggling and bath splashing," Debra Kirkham said.

The book also includes information on recognising a dog's warning signs if it is not adapting to the new family structure and to know when to seek professional assistance for behavioural problems. 

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