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Tuesday, 15 March 2011

BBC - Health: Safety and dogs

Although incidents of dogs killing or seriously injuring children are very rare, it's sensible to work out ways to protect your child.

Kids and dogs seem to be natural pals, but the introduction of a new baby into a family that already has a dog takes some preparation and planning. Many dog owners, especially those who do not yet have children, dote on their pets and lavish them with a lot of attention. While this is terrific, there is no doubt that with the new baby will come household changes, so smart parents-to-be make the effort to prepare their best furry buddy for the needed adjustments.

Although there are occasional stories in the newspapers about dogs attacking babies, generally this is quite rare and most pet owners don't have problems. However, thinking about how your dog may react and minimising the disruption can really help.

To reduce the upset, making changes to your usual routine before the new baby arrives can be beneficial. For example:

  • Cut down the number of walks you have each day, as you'll probably have to do so when the new baby has arrived.
  • Watch out for any behaviour or habits that could cause difficulties, like frequently jumping up or pulling on the lead. If you do notice such habits, slowly work on them, using treats as rewards.
  • Teach your dog to be quiet around the house and get him used to sitting still and staying still. When you're dealing with a baby, this will be very useful.
  • Have a dummy run and see how your dog might react to a baby. It sounds mad, but wrap a doll in a blanket, nurse it and give it attention.
  • Encourage your dog not to go upstairs, especially if your nursery will be there.
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