Q: If the family has a dog before kids, what are the best steps they can take to prepare for the new addition?
- Take your dog to training. You are on limited time now, so leave it to the experts to ensure all the vitals get taught correctly. This will improve your relationship and communication with your dog before baby comes.
- Make sure your dog knows the "place" command. "Place" is like an invisible cage. If you tell your dog to "place" on a dog bed, he can't step off of it until you give him permission to. This is a great way that you can safely enjoy your dog and baby in the same space.
- Practice ignoring your dog. Your dog will be getting a lot less attention, especially at first. One technique we teach is sitting on the dog's leash until he lays down. Start for five minutes at first and increase that up to 20 minutes or longer. No talking, touching or looking at the dog this whole time.
- Space is respect. Set boundaries with baby's things. Don't let you dog lay on baby's blankets, toys, swings, etc. This teaches your dog that baby "owns" these things. By keeping your dog off of them, you are telling your dog that baby and baby's things need respect.
- Learn how to read your dog. I can't stress this one enough. Understanding your dog's body language will save your dog from those uncomfortable situations that may lead to an incident. A good trainer will focus on teaching you how to read and communicate with your dog.
We want to think Krystal for her insights on training the best family dog and encourage you to contact her via the Dog Psychology and Training Center website. And we hope you'll read our other two interviews with her: finding the best dog for your family and steps to take once you have found the one.