When parents bring their newborn baby home for the first time ever, one of the things they might be thinking about is the dog’s reaction to the baby. While a dog might be confused in the beginning, they quickly start obsessing about the new little human in the house.
If you’re wondering “why is my dog obsessed with the newborn baby and is it safe?”, you’ve come to the right place! In the following article, you’ll find all the reasons behind their strange behaviors as well as a brief guide about managing this relationship correctly.
For the most part, dogs’ obsession with babies comes from their genetic bond with human beings as well as their instinct to protect their pack. Also, since dogs are protective by nature, they’re excited about the new family member just like we do.
Keep on reading if you want to know more about the pros and cons of having your dog around a newborn baby.
Why Are Dogs Obsessed With Newborn Babies
The relationship between your dog and newborn babies have been going through thousands of years of honing by evolution. Dogs were selectively bred based on their family-friendliness and competency of living in a household.
For these reasons, dogs share a very special bond with newborn babies, which is imprinted in their genes. Here are the reasons why your pooch is obsessed with your newborn baby.
Protection of Family Members is in Dogs’ Genetic Code
As you already know, dogs used to live in packs in the wild. So, their method of survival was all about sticking to their pack and looking for one another.
In wolf and dog packs, there’s a social hierarchy where strong dogs take care of weaker ones as well as puppies.
Dogs consider humans their family and pack. So, with the introduction of the new baby, the dog feels the responsibility to care for and protect the baby from strangers and imminent danger.
That’s why dogs start barking loud when the newborn baby is handed to an outsider on house visits.
Keep in mind that such behavior is even manifested differently with various breeds. For example, it’s most evident in guard dog breeds, such as shepherds and boxers, as they’re naturally more protective than other breeds.
Your Dog Is Going Where The Attention Happens
Dogs are smart creatures and they understand from the first moment that the baby is a new family member. We all obsess about new babies in the family where the cuteness factor plays a huge role, so why not dogs?
While some dogs might feel a bit jealous of the new baby that takes all the attention, they can’t help but be around them all the time.
This might be due to the fact that they think that by being there, they can “get some of the attention happening over there”.
The “Mini Human” Experience Is An Interesting Thing For A Dog
As you already know, dogs are extremely curious about anything new in their environment. While they do understand the concept of a baby human, seeing one is a completely new experience to them.
Couple their strong sense of smell and hearing with this new sight, and you’ll have a recipe for obsession.
Babies have a distinct smell and their cries might be something that your dog has never heard before.
These stimuli have a strong impact on the dog’s alertness, which is why they’re always hanging around the source.
Do Dogs Get Jealous Of Newborns
Dogs are one of the friendliest pets towards humans and they’re highly likely to harm a newborn baby on purpose or out of jealousy. It’s generally safe to keep a dog around a newborn baby, However, accidents can always happen if you’re not careful enough.
That’s why it’s usually better to keep them apart whenever you can to avoid any problems, especially for the first couple of weeks, as the baby might still be extremely weak.
Ideally, you shouldn’t expose your dog to a newborn baby without good preparation and patience. This is best for you, the newborn baby, and the dog.
What Are The Benefits Of Raising A Baby With A Dog
Having a dog around your baby will have various benefits to them. For example:
- Babies raised with dogs usually have a stronger immune system.
- Develop a strong friendship and bond between the baby and the dog, as they fulfill each other’s needs for a playmate and companion.
- Interaction with dogs raises the average level of dopamine and serotonin in your kids, which are the hormones responsible for happiness and well-being.
Is It OK For A Dog To Lick A Newborn Baby
Despite all their merits, you should prevent your dogs from licking a newborn baby. Dogs’ mouths can have a wide variety of bacteria and germs that are too harsh for a newborn baby.
These viruses and bacteria can easily transfer through licks and kisses. Also, dogs can transfer fleas, worms, and other parasites if they’re allowed to play outdoors for a long time, so you have to be careful.
Tips On Keeping Your Dog Around A Newborn Baby
Here are some tips to help you manage the relationship and the introduction between your dog and the newborn baby.
Prepare the Dog for the Changes Coming
Sudden changes might have a bad influence on your dog’s behavior around the baby. Preparing your dog for these changes gradually will help in reducing the impact greatly. For example:
- Start preventing the dog from getting into the baby’s room before it arrives.
- Play records with baby sound to get your dog used to them.
- Get your dog used to the smell of baby products.
- Reduce the attention and playtime with the dog gradually for a couple of weeks before the baby arrives.
[Related Article: How To Prevent Dog From Jumping Off Bed And Hurt Themselves]
Always Keep an Eye on Them
When it’s time to allow your dog around the baby, you should never leave the dog unattended around the baby. Even if the dog is known to be gentle, it’s always better safe than sorry.
Maintain A Limited Time Window In The Beginning
To limit the possibility for accidents to happen, allow your dog to gradually earn its time around the baby by behaving well. Dogs will quickly understand this and will remain calm around babies quickly.
Keep Your Dog Out When The Baby Is Crying
Dogs tend to whine and howl loudly when they hear a newborn baby crying. While it might be a good alert, it’s bad behavior that dogs might maintain long after the baby grows up. Discourage the behavior to reduce the general noise around the house.
Deal With Crawly Babies
When the baby learns to crawl, prevent them from poking the dog or scaring it as they might jump or growl in a way that might scare your baby.
Teach A Dog To Be Gentle Around A Newborn Baby
The best way to encourage a dog to be gentle around the baby is to maintain your calm and show your gentleness around the baby. Dogs are smart and will pick up the pattern with time. You can also reward your dog with treats to get them to their best behavior.
[Related Article: Is Gravy Train Good for Dogs and What Are Some Healthier Choices]
With that said, you now know why dogs are obsessed with newborn babies. It’s simply due to their natural instinct to protect the weak individuals in their pack.
It’s critical that you prepare your dog for having a newborn baby before you bring it home. Also, you should establish certain rules to reduce the sudden activity around the house, so they don’t harm or scare the baby.
As the baby grows up, they’ll benefit greatly from having a dog to have fun with. However, it’s always better to keep them apart for the first weeks.