When I am teaching a class or talking with expectant families I always mention the importance of supervision. I often feel silly about this as I go into detail about what supervision with a newborn and dog really means. I do this as I do not want ANYONE to experience a loss or injury that could be prevented. First of all I feel it is important for families to keep in mind that your newborn is NEW to you and your dog. This automatically raises the need for intense constant supervision. New sounds and smells combined with the unfamiliar motions of a newborn are interesting to many dogs and accidents can happen. During the first days, weeks and months your dog is learning about your baby as you are too. Over time they will become familiar and more comfortable and relaxed around your baby but this takes time for all dogs.
Here are some thoughts to keep in mind.
1. Sleeping adults are not supervising. I know seems obvious but...many of us enjoy our dogs in our room and do not think about this until the baby arrives. Planning ahead for safety in your room if your newborn will be in a bassinet or co sleeper in your room. Crating and tethering are great options for this and allow the dog to stay close and observe everything.
2. Be aware of location of bassinet. If it is close to the bed...can your dog reach the bed and then use that to launch into the bassinet? Be aware of location always!
3. If you have other children in your home that may want to "peek" in at baby and leave the door open by mistake attach and hook and eye lock out of reach so that they will not let your dog in accidentally.
4. Screen doors are not a great option in the early days especially as many dogs can break through. Wooden doors are best.
5. When visiting another home with a dog keep in mind that supervision must be top priority as that dog is even less familiar with your baby.
Your dog will gradually gain comfort and become familiar with your baby through inclusion in daily baby routines and your supervision.