Bringing home a new born is extremely overwhelming to new parents. It can be a whirlwind of emotions and uncertainty. You are not always going to know what to do or what is going on. Imagine how your dog feels. One day you leave for a few days and come home with something that looks like a human but is small and doesn't quite smell like a human. There are certain steps that you should consider when introducing your dog to your baby for the first time. It is recommended that you talk with your health provider and vet for your specific situation. However, here are some tips that you can follow to help the transition.
Before You Come Home
After your baby is born, have your husband or a family member bring a blanket home with the baby's scent on it. This will be the initial introduction to the smell of your newborn.
You can also bring a recording of the baby's sounds home so the dog can get familiar with any new sounds that will come home with you
After You Come Home
Steps to Introduce baby:
Determine who the master is and who the dog loves more.
If your dog is attached to the mom more, then have the mom sit with the dog alone in a room.
Have the dad walk in with the baby and slowly introduce the baby to the dog.
Let the dog sniff the baby to associate the smell from the blanket you brought home earlier. This should now associate with the dog.
Once the dog meets the baby, hand the baby off to the mom.
Other helpful tips:
Give your dog plenty of attention when the baby is around. This will help your dog not feel left out and minimize the amount of jealousy.
No matter how good your dog is, never leave alone with the baby
Try to train your dog prior to your baby being born so he can learn what toys aren't his. Do not yell at your dog if he grabs the baby's toys.
The AKC suggests letting your dog sniff the baby while controlled on a least. This will help prevent the dog from overreacting to any unexpected kicks, cries or screams.
Give your dog praise when he sniffs the baby.
Create a "safe" zone for your dog where he can go and not be bothered by the baby or young child. Dogs get overwhelmed just like humans do, so creating a comfortable space for him will allow him to relax.