Introducing a baby to your Spaniel.
How you go about introducing a baby, when your new family addition arrives, is important for your Springer Spaniel.
I have had two babies in the past 18 months, and the changes have been a bit of a wrench for my Springer Spaniel, George. In our pack he went from being the only child, to being bottom of a pack of 5. For a Springer that’s a tough shift, as they want to be the centre of your world.
So here are a few tips, based on my experience, on how to handle introducing a baby to your Springer.
When you are pregnant
Before my first child was even born, I kickstarted my programme of introducing a baby to George and so, during my pregnancy, George got as much exposure as possible to babies. You see they smell different and they tend to be pretty noisy, and it's better to introduce babies slowly and, ideally before you new arrival, to acclimatize your Springer.
I do know that some people buy baby crying CDs and play them very loudly to ensure that their dogs don't become distressed at the sound of a baby crying in the home. I didn't really go for this.
I did, however, try to give George less attention during my pregnancy so that, when the baby arrived, the reduction in fuss was not a huge impact. This was tough as Springers are so good at giving you Spaniel eyes, but it really is a case of being cruel to be kind.
Bringing Baby home
Once my baby was born, I ensured that some of his worn clothing was brought home and placed on the dog's bed to get him used to the smell. In addition this aimed to say to the Spaniel that whoever this smell belongs to you is more important than you.
When my baby was brought home, I entered the house first, leaving the baby outside. I went in and made a huge fuss of George to reassure him that all was well and that he was still part of my pack. Then we brought the baby into the house, still in the car seat and placed him in George's bed, again showing the dog that this baby is higher than him in the pack, this is trying to keep within the pack psychology guidelines.
It didn't take long for George to get used to the new baby, initially though, he used to get upset when the baby cried, but after a few weeks he became settled.
As George does not jump up onto any of our beds, we were not worried about him jumping up onto the baby's cot. If however, you have issues with your Spaniel jumping up, you may wish to consider putting a baby gate on the front of the nursery door for your own piece of mind. This way you can leave the nursery door open and not worry about the dog getting in.
Finally, and just to reinforce what I have said, I firmly believe that when introducing a baby, you should consider the pack psychology. If you reinforce the status of the new baby to your dog through the the pack order it will help your dog settle in well with your new baby.
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