How To Prep Your Boxer For A Baby
Image Credit: Anne Liles Photography
Ahhh, that infamous first introduction. How can you ease into an intro with your new baby and your family dog, especially if that dogs happens to be a playful, energetic, hyper boxer?! Well friend, we've got a few tricks up our sleeve. As the Boxer breed's #1 fan for the last oh, 5 years, we've been honing and refining the way we intro to make it as easeful and safe as possible for all members of your growing family.
Our Go-To Tips
These are tips we share with our adopters and fosters! While it might take a little getting used to, these handy dandy tips will help you get started on the right foot and you'll breeze through your initial baby/dog intro.
Our best advice, get a jump start and prepare your boxer for the arrival of the new baby during your second trimester. Remember that dogs are pack animals, and if you haven’t established yourself as the “pack leader,” aka the head dog in your house, now is the time to do so. Work on those basic commands like "sit", "stay", and "down" or "off", and set clear expectations for your boxer. Not only will it bring you and your dog closer, it reinforces the “house rules” and will better prepare your boxer for the new baby.
The baby gear and nursery. Dogs sense all changes in their home, including a sudden influx of baby furniture and toys. Consider setting up your baby nursery well before
your little one's arrival so your dog has time to adjust to the changing environment. If you plan on giving your dog access to the nursery, create a safe, comfortable spot for them.
Your dog's new routine. Will a new family member or dog walker be taking out your pup once the baby arrives? Your dog will notice and be confused by any sudden changes to his or her routine. To help transition your pup to the new schedule and reduce any potential stress or anxiety, consider implementing these changes 2-3 weeks before the baby's arrival.
How To Introduce Your Dog To Your New Baby
Bring home a baby blanket or swaddle. Before you come home from the hospital, have dad, a family member, or a friend bring home some of your newborn's clothes. This is a great way to first introduce your baby's scent to your pup.
Plan the Arrival. Baby or not, your dog is going to be over-the-moon to see you after a few days away! For this reason, it’s a great idea to say hello to your dog before bringing the baby inside. Have someone wait outside with your newborn while you give your pup love and cuddles and allow him to give you a good sniff over.
When finally introducing your new baby and your boxer, make sure your dog is leashed; doing so will prevent it from jumping up excitedly and hurting your newborn unintentionally. If you have two dogs, introduce them one at a time. Maintain a distance and if your #boxer gets too excited, wait until he or she has calmed down and try the introduction again.
Praise and attention. It‘s very normal for your dog to be a bit uncertain of the new routine, or possibly even a tad jealous. After all, your full attention is suddenly being directed at this new little stranger! Try to give your pup as much love, praise and attention as possible, especially in the first few days after getting home from the hospital. If the baby is napping, curl up on the floor with your dog for a cuddle or play fetch with his or her toys. If your dog is sleeping soundly on the floor by the baby bassinet, praise him or her for being so well behaved. Small, simple reminders will remind your dog they are still seen and well loved.
Dog toys and treats. There’s a good chance your dog will initially be jealous of the new baby. After all, your baby is getting your undivided attention 24/7! For this reason, consider spoiling your pup a little bit once the baby comes. Get him or her a new dog toy and long-lasting treat like an antler. In addition to making your dog feel special and loved, the toy or treat will keep your pup distracted for a while (making your life more relaxing as a result!).
Always take precautions. Especially in the beginning weeks, never leave your dog and newborn together unsupervised. Even if your dog is calm and well behaved, he or she still may act in a way that puts the baby at risk (i.e. rolling around, playing, nipping, excessive licking etc). Although most boxers can be incredibly loving and protective, there are still times when just the sheer size, wiggle, or playfulness could be worrisome. For this reason, we suggest continued supervision, watching how the two siblings interact, and making sure everyone stays safe.
Using these simple tricks, you'll be crafting the best scenario that leads to a crazy-good (and safe intro)! Never underestimate the power of a good introduction because it will help everyone adjust more quickly when you bring home your newborn.
Sooo, how are we feeling? Ready to rock your INTRO, do your thing and enjoy life with the new baby and pups? It may take a bit of time but we know you've got this.