Stage 1: Newborn and the baby alarm
A newborn brings a whole range of new smells and sounds into your home, and perhaps the most worrying is crying. Remember, your dog picks up on energy, and the energy that your baby is giving off while crying is anything but calm and assertive. Your dog may become distressed, too, whimpering, whining, and barking.
This may be endearing at times (“Aww, look — Spot is worried about you, too!”), but it can also be a problem. A barking dog can get in the way when you’re trying to get a baby to sleep, and often those crying jags happen in the middle of the night, when your neighbors may not appreciate the commotion.
You can help accustom your canine (and human!) family members to the sounds of crying before the new arrival by playing the sound on your computer at loud volumes for extended periods of time. If possible, keep your dog some place where the noises of the baby can’t reach him at night. (That way, at least someone is the house is getting a good night’s sleep!)
One of the most important things you can do during this stage is maintain a regular routine of walks with the whole pack — mom and baby out the door first and at the front of the pack. This not only helps send a message about your baby’s role as a pack leader, but also helps drain your dog’s energy, leading to better behavior overall.
With all the changes of having a new baby, many new parents put dog walks on the back burner, resorting to just letting the dog out in the backyard or a quick stop to the corner. Of course, you may have days where this is simply a necessity, but make that the exception to the rule. Consider dog walks a priority. It’s not just good for your dog; it’s good for you, too.
Why do dogs react to babies crying?
Canine behavior experts have also stated that dogs pick up on the energy around them and that the energy of a crying baby causes the dog to feel upset. … The dog’s cries may be his or her way of showing anxiety about the new loud noise in the house. Other dogs cry around babies because they feel jealous.
Do dogs get jealous of kids?Dogs can get jealous of babies and change once a newborn comes into the house. Dogs are highly social animals who thrive on routine the undivided attention of their owners. A New baby can change that for them, and results in signs of jealousy from some dogs, but not all. You can almost think of dogs like children.
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For this Omaha dog training session we worked with 6 year-old Pembroke Welsh Corgi Harley; teaching him to stop reacting when the family’s baby cries.
We spent the first part of the session going over the day to day routine. I suggested increasing his daily exercise and Harley is a little heavy. He would benefit from additional exercise physically and psychologically.
I also went over the importance of structure to help the dog see and respect the humans as having the leadership for the group covered. As a dog behavior expert, whenever I have a dog who thinks its ok to guard or protect a baby, I always address what I refer to as the leader follower dynamic.
After suggesting ways to help Harley see the humans as leaders, I showed them how to add a little bit of structure to petting him. Because we pet our dogs so often, asking them to do something to earn this attention can go a long ways towards helping the dog adopt more of a follower mindset.
I also stressed the importance of rewarding Harley when he did desired actions on his own. I noticed he would walk over and sit in front of his humans at times to ask for attention, but this was often ignored. By rewarding him for things like sitting, laying down or coming on his own, he will be more included to repeat these behaviors when requested.
Just as we were finishing up the discussion of positive dog training, the family’s baby started to cry. I quickly handed my camera to one of the guardians so we could shoot a video with tips to stop a dog from acting aggressive to a crying baby.
Stopping a dog from getting upset when a baby cries is not hard when you use the right approach. It just takes practice and a good supply of repetitions for a week or two.
This application of counterconditioning will help Harley build a positive connection to the baby’s crying. With enough practice over the next week or two, Harley will start to associate crying with him receiving attention and treats.
I suggested the family try to record audio of the baby crying as that will allow them to practice on demand which will make it easier to rehabilitate the dog from this problem.
I also showed the family a simple focus exercise. Teaching a dog to focus on command is a great way to redirect a dog’s attention away from something before they can get into trouble or feel the need to react.
To help the family members remember all the positive dog training tips I shared in this at home dog training session, we shot a roadmap to success video that you can check out below.