Nobody can really predict how their pet dog will react when a new baby is brought into the house, however loveable and soft the dog may be. A dog is a pack animal and will usually dedicate its life to serving you, its leader. So when a new member of the pack (a baby) is brought into its life the dog have to fight for your attention and love and, at the very best, get used to sharing you.

There are some preparatory steps you can take to ensure baby and dog will live in harmony…

Before your baby arrives

Assess
Dogs are incredibly perceptive and yours will probably have already sussed something has changed – long before you start bringing baby care items into your home.
Really evaluate your dog and yourself. And be honest. Has your dog ever shown ANY aggressive, territorial or disconcerting behaviour towards you, another dog or a child? If the answer is yes, then you really can’t guarantee your baby’s safety.
How does your dog react around the children of friends or strangers? Don't fool yourself that your dog will be different with your baby.
Don’t take any chances. It’s best to find your dog a new loving home where it can be the centre of attention.

Reduce the attention
Your baby and dog will both want your attention and if your dog has been used to lots from you, then start to acclimatise it to how life will change. Cut back on the attention you give it, or share its care with your partner.
It would be cruel for there to be a sudden change for the dog when baby arrives and your dog will blame baby for changing its life.

Noise training
Get your dog used to the noises it is likely to hear – crying babies and noisy, musical toys.

Share the walks
Practice walking your dog while pushing a pram before baby arrives. Reward it with doggie treats when it walks well alongside the pram.

Buy a doll
If you have always cuddled your dog and let it sit on your lap, buy a baby doll and cuddle it in front of your dog. Treat your dog when it behaves well around the doll so it gets used to the doll (and later baby) being a good thing.

Start new rules now
If your dog will be gated in the kitchen once baby comes home, start that now so the dog doesn’t equate it’s lack of freedom with the new baby. Train your dog now so it doesn’t jump in your lap without being invited, or jump up at the cot, or people.

Introduce smells
Let your dog get used to the smell of baby care items like nappies, lotions and powders. Have someone take a blanket or item of clothing home from the hospital with baby’s smell on it so when baby goes home the dog will recognise her scent.

Author's Bio: 

Debra Aspinall is an experienced journalist and the editor and leading writer for the Emma’s Diary website, one of the UKs foremost pregnancy and baby websites. Debra writes on pregnancy related topics such as baby clubs, baby clubs uk, baby competitions and etc. She also writes on women’s health and beauty issues and contributes travel articles to glossy magazines in London and the Home Counties.