Just because you’re pregnant, doesn’t mean you have to find another home for your dog. You can incorporate your baby into family life with the dog quite easily. As a matter of fact, your child will most likely benefit from growing up around a dog. Dogs can help guide children on how to not only be responsible, but on how to be gentle and caring. Dogs can be a great comfort and friend to not only your baby, but for everyone in the family. Dedicate yourself to learning how to prepare your dog for the baby’s arrival and staving off jealously so you can enjoy man’s best friend for many years to come.

Before the baby’s arrival is the perfect time for you and your dog to review the basic obedience commands. Practice things like sit, stay and down. Knowing that your dog is trained will give you comfort when your dog is around the baby. Incorporate some new training skills such as “settle”, “go away” and practice putting your hand in their food bowl to keep away any aggressiveness or jealousy. It’s a good idea to hire a professional dog trainer to go over any additional commands that would be best to know before the baby arrives.

Start getting your dog used to the sights, sounds and smells of the baby before bringing them home. Let the dog sniff the crib, toys or blankets that will belong to the baby. Practice playing recordings of a baby crying to get it used to the sounds, so when you bring the baby into the house, the dog won’t become anxious or nervous. Reward your dog during these experiences, so that they will associate this as something positive and happy.

Begin to set limits for your dog like restricting them from being in the baby’s room with commands like “sit” and “stay” or get them use to a removable gate or barrier. Also make sure your dog knows that they have their toys and to not play with the baby’s toys as their own.

When it’s time for the baby to come home, have another person hold the baby so you can pet and greet the dog happily. Have a new toy or treat for the dog so they can feel loved and important also. After the dog’s initial excitement has subsided, start to introduce your dog to the baby. Encourage him gently to smell the baby and explore them at their own pace. Always make sure to supervise the visits with your dog and never leave them alone together.

It will undoubtedly be hectic trying to care for your new baby, but try to keep to a regular routine to help your dog feel loved and well adjusted to the new baby. Make sure to spend quality time together every day so your dog will feel calm and happy.

With the right amount of training, adjustments and careful supervision, you can all have a safe and happy life together as a family.

Kelly Marshall is a writer/blogger for Oh My Dog Supplies, the leader in cool dog gear.