How dogs react to human infants - KLFY News 10

How dogs react to human infants

Updated: July 19, 2010 03:48 PM EDT
As a pregnancy progresses, life will inevitably change for your dog. © iStockphoto.com/Ivan Solis As a pregnancy progresses, life will inevitably change for your dog. © iStockphoto.com/Ivan Solis
  • From The Dog DailyMore>>

  • The best way to clip your dog’s nails

    The best way to clip your dog’s nails

    Being a dog owner means sometimes taking on tasks that might not be that pleasant -- for either you or your dog. Nail clipping, in some cases, is one of the tasks. More >>
    Being a dog owner means sometimes taking on tasks that might not be that pleasant -- for either you or your dog. Nail clipping, in some cases, is one of the tasks. More >>
  • 5 fun ways to show your dog you love her

    5 fun ways to show your dog you love her

    There are many ways to show your dog that she is your best friend and an important member of your family.More >>
    There are many ways to show your dog that she is your best friend and an important member of your family. From doing activities together to creating a space just for her, these are some easy ways you can strengthen your bond with your four-legged friend.More >>
  • Prepare your dog for guests

    Prepare your dog for guests

    Inviting guests to your home when you have a new or energetic dog can prove to be challenging. Just a little training -- for both your dog and your guests -- will make visits more enjoyable for everyone.More >>
    Inviting guests to your home when you have a new or energetic dog can prove to be challenging. Just a little training -- for both your dog and your guests -- will make visits more enjoyable for everyone.More >>

By Brad Kloza

When Lena Harris got pregnant with her second child, her German shepherd, Guinness, started acting overly attentive and clingy, as if he'd sniffed out the forthcoming addition to the pack.

"As I got further in the pregnancy, he became more hyper about herding me," recalls Harris. "He followed me into every room; he even ignored the door bell, which usually drives him crazy. By the ninth month I swear it was like he wanted to either deliver the baby himself or give me a ride to the hospital."

Imagined Behavior or Real Baby Detection?

Dog behavior expert Colleen Pelar, author of Living With Kids and Dogs … Without Losing Your Mind, says Guinness' sixth sense isn't surprising. Studies show that dogs are capable of sniffing out human cancers, so Pelar suspects they can detect other biological changes.

"I don't think they have a concept of gestation or pregnancy," she says. "But the dog is responding to the idea that something is different.'"

Even if dogs can anticipate a new family member, that doesn't mean they know how to handle it. Here are some tips for getting them properly prepared and acclimated:

Make Changes Early


As a pregnancy progresses, life will inevitably change for your dog. You'll give your pet less attention, and his or her usual mealtimes will likely become less punctual. It's best to implement such expected changes gradually in the months leading to the birth. "This way, the dog doesn't experience all these big changes at once and associate them with the baby's arrival," says Pelar.

Bring Home a Blanket


After the baby is born, bring home the baby's swaddling blanket for the dog to sniff and "introduce" the dog to the new baby. Pelar says a mistake dads make is to hand over the blanket to the dog, or even play tug-of-war with it. "I get regular phone calls from hysterical mothers because the dog has torn up the blanket," she says. "Treat it like a baby; Let the dog sniff it as much as you would let it sniff the baby -- not stuff his nose into it for five minutes."

Store Prepared Treats

Any owner of a hyper dog knows that a Kong toy stuffed with peanut butter is the perfect diversion, providing needed peace and quiet. Prepare them in advance, so you don't have to make the Kong treat while holding a crying, hungry infant in one arm.

Remember Your Dog

Queens, N.Y., pug owner Liv Keystone made an effort to include her pug in daily activities with the baby. Eventually, the dog was her daughter's favorite playmate. "She's been so sweet," says Keystone. "She even lets my daughter pound on her and pull her ears, which she'd never let us do."

Use Help From Friends


If people offer to help once the baby is born, Pelar says a perfect answer is, "Come over and play with my dog." Since dogs inevitably lose status and attention when the baby arrives, arranging these kinds of playdates can make up for lost time. "Have them come over and play with the dog for 30 minutes in the yard or take him to the groomer for you," she says.

Be Patient


This is an ongoing relationship that requires work. A dog that tears up the baby blanket may end up being best pals with the baby from day one. And a dog that is perfectly loving from day one may grow to become jealous and aggressive toward that child once the baby starts crawling.

"There will be ups and downs, just like with siblings," says Pelar of the dog-baby dynamic. "As long as you keep it on the path that's mostly good, then you're succeeding."

Copyright (c) 2010 Studio One Networks. All rights reserved.

Brad Kloza is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine and Discover.

  • Should Dogs Ride Loose In the Car?

    Should Dogs Ride Loose In the Car?

    Thanks to Dr. Marty Becker of Vetstreet for this articleI’ve done it, and I know better. You’ve done it, and you probably know better too. I’ve written against it and recommended products that will prevent it. But I bet the majority of pet owners still do it. In fact, I know they do.What am I taking about? Letting dogs ride loose in the car, or even worse, letting a dog sit on your lap in the front seat, head happily out the window. Yes, dogs like — make that love! — doing this. And yes, it’s...More >>
    Thanks to Dr. Marty Becker of Vetstreet for this articleI’ve done it, and I know better. You’ve done it, and you probably know better too. I’ve written against it and recommended products that will prevent it. But I bet the majority of pet owners still do it. In fact, I know they do.What am I taking about? Letting dogs ride loose in the car, or even worse, letting a dog sit on your lap in the front seat, head happily out the window. Yes, dogs like — make that love! — doing this. And yes, it’s...More >>
  • Today's Celebrity Pet!

    Today's Celebrity Pet!

    GWEN STEFANI The singer and her pup hit the beach for a day of sun and fun in Marina del Rey, California.More >>
    BETTY WHITE The Golden Girl shares a sweet cuddle with pooch Delilah while attending the Saturday American Humane Association's Hero Dog Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.More >>
  • Camp Bow Wow "Foster Dog of the Month"

    Camp Bow Wow "Foster Dog of the Month"

    Meet Mandy, a young pit bull terrier mix who is our Camp Bow Wow "Foster Dog of the Month" for October! Mandy had a bit of a rough start to life but is happy as can be now that she is out of theMore >>
    Meet Mandy, a young pit bull terrier mix who is our Camp Bow Wow "Foster Dog of the Month" for October! Mandy had a bit of a rough start to life but is happy as can be now that she is out of theMore >>
  • Why Does My Dog...Tilt Her Head to the Side?

    Why Does My Dog...Tilt Her Head to the Side?

    It's a classic dog move: Your pup hears something — a mysterious sound, a smartphone ring, a certain tone of voice — and suddenly her head tilts to one side as if she is contemplating what the sound wantsMore >>
    It's a classic dog move: Your pup hears something — a mysterious sound, a smartphone ring, a certain tone of voice — and suddenly her head tilts to one side as if she is contemplating what the sound wantsMore >>
  • How to Make the Most of Your Visit to the Vet

    How to Make the Most of Your Visit to the Vet

    By Pamela Babcock WebMD Pet Health Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM Taking your pet to the vet? Whether it's a routine appointment or you're checking on symptoms, there are steps you can take to help theMore >>
    By Pamela Babcock WebMD Pet Health Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM Taking your pet to the vet? Whether it's a routine appointment or you're checking on symptoms, there are steps you can take to help theMore >>
  • How to Housetrain Your Puppy or Kitten

    How to Housetrain Your Puppy or Kitten

    ByStephanie Watson WebMD Magazine Reviewed byWilliam Draper, DVM Puppies and kittens aren't like human babies. You can't wait 2 years to start potty training. "With a puppy or kitten you say, "Oh it'sMore >>
    ByStephanie Watson WebMD Magazine Reviewed byWilliam Draper, DVM Puppies and kittens aren't like human babies. You can't wait 2 years to start potty training. "With a puppy or kitten you say, "Oh it'sMore >>
  • Why Does My Cat...Meow So Much?

    Why Does My Cat...Meow So Much?

    Why do cats meow? The reasons change as they grow from kittens into cats. Kittens meow to their mothers when they're hungry, cold, or scared. But once cats get older, they use other vocalizations -- suchMore >>
    Why do cats meow? The reasons change as they grow from kittens into cats. Kittens meow to their mothers when they're hungry, cold, or scared. But once cats get older, they use other vocalizations -- suchMore >>
  • Why Does My Cat...Purr?

    Why Does My Cat...Purr?

    We love to hear our cats purr, don't we? We take it as a sign that our pets are happy, healthy, and well fed. A purring cat is like an acknowledgment that we are doing a good job as a pet owner. But ifMore >>
    We love to hear our cats purr, don't we? We take it as a sign that our pets are happy, healthy, and well fed. A purring cat is like an acknowledgment that we are doing a good job as a pet owner. But ifMore >>
Powered by WorldNow

1808 Eraste Landry Rd, PO Box 90665,
Lafayette LA 70509

Telephone: 337.981.4823
Fax: 337.984.8323
Email: tip10@klfy.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Young Broadcasting of Louisiana, Inc. A Media General Company.