Pets and a New Baby

by Kelly Mills on November 5, 2010 at 1:30 am

5-year-old Rusty was dropped off at the Muskingum County Animal Shelter when his family got a new baby. It happens to animals time and time again.

"What we see a lot of is we get people that come in and they say the wife is getting ready to have a baby they’re afraid to have the animal in the house around the new baby, so they bring them in and they surrender them to the shelter," says Larry Hostetler, Animal Shelter executive director.

It’s a sad scene that Hostetler says isn’t necessary in many of the cases.

 "A lot of times I feel they are not giving the animal a chance. There’s things that you can do, you know, train your pet and so that the animal can stay in the home and continue to be a part of the family," he says.

You need to start working with your animal months before your due date so that they’re prepared for the baby’s arrival.

"You need to get the dog ready for a new baby in the home. That means all the smells, all the sounds, new furniture, different ways of arranging rooms," says Mary Swingle, certified dog obedience trainer.

You should try to create situations the animal will encounter once the baby is born.

"Start thinking about maybe getting tapes, audio tapes, of babies crying. They need to get the dog used to the diaper smell, the soiled diaper smell, such as putting ammonia in the diaper and putting it in the diaper pail," says Swingle.

You could also carry a doll in a baby blanket and use it as a tool to teach the animal boundaries. There is one thing however you should never do.

"The one thing you do not want to do is yell at your dog or push your dog suddenly, because when you do motions or make negative sounds at the dog they sometimes will start resenting the child and then that can purpose major problems in the future," says Swingle.

Also, make sure to set aside quality time with the animal each day after the baby is home. If you are still having issues Swingle says contact an animal trainer before considering giving your pet away.