Expecting a baby?
This is how it will affect your dog (and the way to help him)
Many dog owners notice that while they are excited about pregnancy and the impending birth, their dog becomes more nervous and less relaxed.
Experts explain why this happens, and how to prepare the dog for the baby that is about to arrive
Wednesday, 06 July 2022, 08:15
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A dog left alone at home (REDDIT / Salty_Distribution84 WS)
When Keren, a 38-year-old single mother from Tel Aviv, was in advanced pregnancy she felt an extreme change in her dog's behavior.
"Suddenly she started defecating at home. She was 7, nothing like this had ever happened to her. She turned around nervously and I felt like she was watching over me every step I was making. It was a strange transition, a carpet bitch suddenly became so restless and quiet."
Pregnancy is also a complex period for women, but when there is a dog at home the situation can be even more complicated, in several respects - the change in the dog's behavior, the habit of the new tenant changing his place in the hierarchy and of course, the great concern for the newborn.
Keren's bitch regained consciousness after the birth, but there are some who may deteriorate mentally - which can be dangerous for the whole new family nest.
"It's a mistake to think that the dog is unaware that something is going on," explains Dr. Stephen Bloor, a zoo-veterinarian (dog behavior specialist), "he may not know a baby is coming, but he feels the changes in the weeks before birth.
Behavior change, such as defecation and nervousness, is completely normal.
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This seems like an ideal situation - but don't count on it coming so fast (Photo: ShutterStock)
The concern of couples before birth is how the dog will get along with the baby.
Protecting the child means that not one of the new parents will ask to prevent him from being exposed to the dog.
Dr. Bloor thinks this approach could be harmful: “When the dog is not allowed to be exposed to the baby he gets a problematic message.
For him the parents are interested in his approach, he feels he is out, and that maybe what they have in their hands is scary and dangerous, communication that causes alienation.
Many people are apprehensive, but except for cases of aggression that have been identified before, whether towards adults or children, there is really no reason to be afraid of bringing the child closer to the dog.
The family may change, but a dog is a flexible and adaptable animal.
He can adapt to the system and new social connections. "
In extreme situations of maladaptation, people take the painful step and remove the dog, since there is really no choice between him and the new member of the family.
Dr. Bloor says you should not wait for the baby to be born to get into dangerous conflicts because there is a simple way to test the dog's social skills. "All you have to do is examine his behavior when people come to visit you," he explains, When they enter or he is calm.
His behavior with guests is an indication of accepting the baby.
If the dog shows aggression towards guests, he definitely raises a question mark because he may also show aggression towards a baby in the future. "
And yet, the fact that the dog is an adaptive animal does not mean that there is not much way to go.
"The tendency of bitches is to keep the child, in extreme cases also to growl and show possessiveness. Some of them tend to sit next to the baby," says Dr. Bloor.
"In veterinary psychiatry we differentiate between several conditions - there are normal dogs that quickly return to mental balance, there are reactive dogs that start to be stressed and alert and for these, they can return to the previous state and relax or fall into a pathology that causes constant anxiety."
Is the dog angry when there are guests?
Here you will already know that there is a problem (Photo: ShutterStock)
So what can be done to create a comfortable environment for the new tenant?
Dr. Bloor suggests one exercise that may solve a lot of problems later on: “Make sure the dog has a not very central corner with his own bed, where he knows in advance that no one will come to disturb him and touch him.
You need to practice a 'to place' command with it.
In that case, if there is a problem interacting with the child, he knows where to go.
This is information that the dog should receive long before birth. "
He adds and emphasizes that it is also the parents' duty to prevent the baby from approaching this corner:" The child should be taught as early as possible never to go there.
"If privacy is respected and the dog knows that his place is protected, he will always go there by order and thus a healthy separation will be created."
On the subject of interaction, Dr. Bloor notes the Proxmix method, according to which space between people has meaning: “It works with dogs, too.
When you stand next to the dog, you are actually informing him that you are in coalition with him and agreeing with what he is doing.
When you stand in front of the dog you part with him and show no partnership.
Therefore, when you have a baby on your lap or on the floor, you must be in front of the dog to maintain 'opposition'.
In this way, he receives a message of control from your side. "
Cute cute, but can be dangerous
Dr. Stephen Bleuer (Photo: courtesy of the photographers)
One thing Loire strongly says should not be done - and you too, most likely, have been tempted or will be tempted to do so in the future.
"From the dog's point of view there are several breeds of humans - up to age 3 it is one breed because the child communicates differently, ages 3 to 8 is a different breed and the other type is the child past age 8. Therefore do not leave a child alone with a dog up to age "People are uploading videos of the dog when he is alone next to the little boy and this is a serious mistake, as the dog can always turn over suddenly, and as a rule it sends the wrong message."
So a moment before you run to show the world comic moments of the extended and happy family, think about this point instead of the likes.