Getting your dog ready for your new baby -

Preparing your pet for a baby

Meg Branan has always grown up with dogs, so when she decided to start her family several years ago she wanted to find a way to help her 1-year-old black lab Lilly adjust.

"I definitely wanted to make sure we could all be together initially and obviously have everybody feel comfortable and safe at the same time," said Branan.

To ensure safety, Branan enlisted the help of Susan Marett. She gets couples ready for life with their dog and baby by acting out different scenarios.  

One of those scenarios is working with the dog to develop comfortable distance skills.

"That is designed to help the dog learn how to sit and lie down away from the parent so if they're holding the baby, breastfeeding, changing diaper, everyone is comfortable," said Marett.

She also says it's also very important to get your pet use to new sounds and smells as well as baby equipment like strollers and car seats. "We did the bringing the blanket home from the hospital, my husband brought that home so she could kind of smell the smells before we actually walked in with the baby.  My husband started walking her with a bike initially so that she would get used to walking with something before we even had the stroller."

A big danger, Marett says, is placing a child in low places like on the floor, in a car seat or bouncer or swing with the dog in the same area. "If you have a dog that is very ball driven or very toy driven. If you don't acclimate them to those pieces of equipment before the baby comes, and then the baby is face level with the dog's face, that's when problems can occur."

She says the key is being realistic about expectations.

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