With a man’s best buddy, we have an incredible bond. Their fidelity, devotion, and love of being around us produce a bond that is truly unparalleled. In fact, the link between them is so strong that some pet owners claim their dogs will protect young children.
In truth, dogs have shielded and guarded babies in several media tales over the years. It seems possible that they are naturally good at it.
I made the decision to research it a little further, starting with the initial query of why dogs guard babies and then on to a more thorough investigation.
Why do dogs guard young children? Because of the connection they have formed with the family, dogs frequently defend human infants. Dogs exhibit both a pack mentality and some herding instincts. This could imply that they protect and watch over the pack’s human infants.
However, this isn’t always the case, and not all dogs will instinctively protect infants in your home. In reality, it happens frequently that dogs will grow envious of human infants and may even harm or even kill them. Never leave your child unattended with a dog.
However, many dogs will exhibit a sweet instinct to guard your child; therefore, let’s examine why that might be.
Do dogs recognize infants as such?
Your dog might behave somewhat differently around babies, as you’ve probably noticed. In fact, you might have noticed that your dog has a particular fondness for young children, but do you know why? Even the experts don’t appear to know. It is shocking to witness how dogs regard newborns differently from humans when they can hear, smell, and sight babies but don’t fully understand what a baby is.
While your dog might not be particularly interested in adults, you could notice that they do. Although there is no proof for this, experts theorize that it may be because they can distinguish between the smells of adults and babies.
Whatever the cause, dogs frequently wag their tails when they see a baby or stroller. You may have also observed that when a baby cries or coos, your dog’s ears perk up. Additionally, your dog can start to whimper or bark at you if you keep the infant away from it.
It is your responsibility as a dog owner to keep all infants and young children safe around your dog, no matter what prompts dogs to show an interest in newborns. This calls for careful observation of all interactions and training your dog how to behave with children.
Does a dog know how to protect a baby?
Dogs are generally the closest companions to children and adolescents, despite the proverbial notion that they are “man’s best friend.” A well-trained dog who receives positive reinforcement frequently forges a close attachment with their human family. Some people have a special affection for infants and kids. Many dogs will develop a protective feeling towards their human friends, despite the fact that they may be eager to show them a lot of affection. This indicates that they wish to protect their health.
Every dog is an individual, despite the fact that many people place a lot of emphasis on breed-specific tendencies. Naturally, some people will be more protective than others. Why are dogs protective of young children, wonders AnimalWised? We examine the causes for dogs to defend human infants as well as the potential barriers to their protection.
Why does my dog guard my daughter so fiercely?
Dogs naturally exhibit this behavior to guard the members of their pack or family. However, it usually involves more than that. Dogs are descended from wolves, which had a social structure in their daily existence. This implies that there is a top dog who rules over all other dogs, even the weakest. The more powerful dogs guard the less powerful dogs. Having said that, your dog might become too protective since he sees the child as the lesser dog that has to be shielded from harm. Your dog might become too protective of the infant if there are any new people or animals in the house. This is good in some ways, but it may be a real hassle if you want to introduce your new child to your aunt Trudy.
The fact that some dogs are bred with protective personality qualities is another underlying explanation of this behavior. Consider a sheepdog, which is designed specifically to guard sheep and herd them together in the event of danger. Such a canine would not allow a little child or baby to get lost or left behind. Sometimes it’s just the temperament of your dog. However, bear in mind that although your dog may become protective if he or she is inherently shy or scared, they often do not make ideal guard dogs because they may act out of fear. There are benefits and drawbacks to your dog protecting your child, depending on factors like instinct, breeding, and disposition. It is entirely OK for your dog to show some degree of protectiveness toward the infant, but if he or she exhibits excessive levels of this behavior, it may be time to look into ways to encourage more suitable behavior in your dog.
Why does my dog poke at my new child?
The dog’s reaction to the new baby is typically the new parents’ biggest anxiety during the homecoming. Nevertheless, if handled properly, this situation shouldn’t be unpleasant.
Every dog in the house has a special relationship with one person, and when your return, this person shouldn’t handle the newborn. This individual ought to come inside the house and greet the dog like they always do.
The other parent should greet the newborn and bring it into the house. Once everyone is settled, the dog can explore the baby while the parents keep an eye on him or her.
Some parents have a tendency to become alarmed and shoo the dog away from the newborn. However, this tactic is ineffective and is to be avoided. Dogs, like young toddlers, only get more inquisitive when instructed to leave something alone. You decrease the risk that the new infant will become a “big thing to the dog” by letting the dog to investigate.
Dogs will typically want to sniff the infant and may even poke the baby with their noses or kiss it. In most cases, these behaviors are fine and part of your dog’s usual inspection process, unless the baby was born with a particularly weakened immune system or another health risk.
Denying your dog the chance to get to meet your child will make them more curious and encourage animosity of this new member of the family. Dogs can develop jealousy just like other human children, so it’s crucial to treat your dog the same way you always have, keep their routine as constant as you can, and include them in the joy of welcoming the newest member of the family.
Why is my dog attempting to bury my child?
The first time you witness your dog attempting to bury your child, it can be unsettling. We examine the causes of this and explore your level of concern.
A deep bond between a dog and a youngster can be quite remarkable and charming to witness. These movies of dogs getting along wonderfully well with the newborn kid and doing everything in their power to protect them are commonplace. When your dog tries to bury your child, it enters into new area and could turn into a lifelong relationship.
Because their ancestors modeled this behavior for them, your dog tries to bury your child. Their ancestors frequently cached food in the wild to prevent it from being stolen by other predators. To safeguard their valuables from danger, modern dogs often bury or hide them.
We’ll talk about how modern dogs are affected by this “burying” habit, why dogs engage in it as a kind of defense, and what may be done to stop it. Read on to find out more about this peculiar burying practice!
Will my dog nip at my child?
Your family includes your dog. He participates in whatever you do. The way he welcomes you home at the end of the day is a sign of his love and kindness. However, it would be better if you continued to exercise caution whenever your dog is near your young child.
Dogs can bite at any time, and their actions are not always consistent. Your newborn child is at enough risk from a dog that you should never leave the two of them alone.
How can I tell whether my dog likes my child?
Seven Clues Your Pet Is Falling For Your New Baby
- They look for your infant. Giphy.
- They Lay Next to Your Child. Giphy.
- When you are holding the baby, they want to be close to you. Giphy.
- They Have a Game. Giphy.
- Baby Gifts Are Brought by Your Pet. Giphy.
- While they sleep, your pet watches over their door.
- Your Pet Is Looking for Baby’s Things.
Do dogs show more defense toward female owners?
In terms of protective tendencies, male and female dogs do not significantly differ from one another. Breed also plays a part, and territorial or protective characteristics are more prominent in unaltered dogs than in neutered dogs. While some dog owners report that male dogs are attentive and prepared to defend themselves, others assert that female dogs are more protective and attribute this behavior to maternal instinct.
Preparing Your Dog for a New Baby
Your dog will encounter an overwhelming amount of new sights, noises, and smells when you bring a new infant home. She might find some of them disturbing, particularly if she didn’t have the chance to interact with kids when she was a puppy. Your daily routine will be substantially altered, which means that your dog’s schedule will also change. She will also receive less of your time and attention out of need. If she has been the “only kid for a while,” it can be a challenging moment for her.
Take some time to get your dog ready for the arrival of your new addition so that everything goes as smoothly as possible for everyone. Prior to the baby’s arrival, you’ll concentrate on two things:
- Give your dog the knowledge she needs to safely engage with her new family member.
- assisting your dog in adjusting to the numerous upcoming changes and new experiences
Making a Plan
Any training you can do before to the birth of your child will be beneficial to your dog.
- You can better control your dog’s behavior when the baby arrives by teaching her some fundamental obedience commands. For detailed instructions on how to train your dog, see the section below under “Teaching Your Dog Important New Skills.” To get a jump start, think about signing up for a group class.
- Four months prior to the baby’s due date: When you bring your new baby home, gradually introduce your dog to the novel sensations, noises, sights, and smells she will experience, and teach her to link these novel things with positive reinforcement. Your dog will grow to appreciate life with the infant if you do this.
- A month or two before the baby is due: Prepare your dog’s daily routine for the changes you’ll make and start implementing them.
Teaching Your Dog Important New Skills
When balancing the requirements of your dog and the baby’s care, having effective verbal control over her can be incredibly helpful. The following competencies are crucial.
- Remain seated
- Your dog can learn impulse control by practicing the commands to stay, wait at doors, and settle. These commands will come in handy in a variety of circumstances. You may train your dog to lay down and stay, for instance, whenever you sit in your nursing chair.
- You may train your dog to leave the baby’s items alone by using the two behaviors of “leave it” and “drop it.”
- Salute people formally: When you are holding the baby, a jumping dog can be unpleasant at best and dangerous at worst.
- Relax in a crate: If you crate-train your dog, you’ll be able to leave her unattended while knowing that she’s safe, and she’ll have a comfortable space to unwind in when things get busy.
- When called, arrive
- Teaching your dog to target your hand with her nose can offer her something to do around the infant and may help her feel more at ease and confident if she is hesitant or anxious. You can even teach your dog to gently touch the baby with her nose when she masters the art of aiming for your hand.
- I beg you to leave
You may manage your dog’s behavior around your infant by teaching her to leave the room when asked. For instance, if the infant appears uneasy and your dog is creeping near her, you can use this indication to instruct him to leave the area. Many pets are unaware that they can relocate! She will never feel stuck in a stressful circumstance if she learns that she can simply leave the infant when he makes her uneasy, and she won’t be obliged to communicate her nervousness by growling or snapping. Here’s how to impart this crucial ability to your dog:
- Give her a treat, such “Throw the treat four or five feet away from you and leave. Numerous times, repeat this series.
- The next step is to wait until your dog starts to back away before throwing the treat. Say “Leave while waving your arm around like you’re throwing a treat. Even if your dog merely takes one step in the direction of your signal, exclaim “Yes! Then, throw a treat four or five feet away in the direction that your dog was initially moving.
- After a few more tries, try saying something after your dog has taken a few steps away “Yes, and throw the candy.
- Play fetch to get your dog ready for a secure, enjoyable interaction with your child. Teach your dog to fetch a toy.
Preparing Your Dog for Lifestyle Changes
Anxiety is a common reaction in dogs when their lifestyles are abruptly changed. Even though things may change when your new baby is born, you can reduce your dog’s anxiety by progressively acclimating her to these changes beforehand.
If you know how your schedule will change when the baby is born, start making a gradual shift to the new schedule now. Start taking sporadic afternoon naps if you intend to nap in the afternoon while the baby sleeps. If you want to walk your dog at various times throughout the day, transition to the new schedule gradually.
With a baby, life may be chaotic and unpredictably unexpected. It could be beneficial to get your dog used to a less predictable daily schedule. Change the time at which you feed your dog. For instance, if she typically has breakfast at 7:00 A.M., try giving her meals at sporadic intervals between 6:00 A.M. and 10:00 A.M. As an alternative, you can use an automatic feeder to follow your dog’s usual feeding schedule. Due to the built-in timers in these items, you may program them to bring food at predetermined times every day whether you’re home or not.
At least for the first few weeks after the baby is born, think about hiring a dog walker to take over the chore of exercising your dog. Interview dog walkers before selecting one. You can ask the dog walker to start taking your dog on brief walks to help her get acclimated to leaving your home without you.
After the baby is born, you might take your dog to a doggie daycare once or twice a week if she enjoys playing with other dogs. Investigate your alternatives right away, and spend time acclimating your dog to this new activity by letting her attend the daycare. Another option is to schedule visits with friends or family members for your dog once or twice a week so she may spend time with people she knows and likes. Start these appointments right away.
You can try getting up in the middle of the night with your dog if you’re feeling very adventurous. Teach her to relax in a place where you’ll be nursing the baby.
In the weeks leading up to the baby’s due date, resist the urge to show your dog more love. She will only be more disappointed when the kid arrives and takes center stage as a result of this. Instead, start setting out brief moments to play and snuggle with your dog, and gradually offer her less attention throughout the rest of the day. In order to prevent your dog from developing an expectation of attention at a specific time, schedule your sessions randomly.
Some of your dog’s privileges will probably change when the baby arrives. If you set up new guidelines in advance, she will be more likely to accept them.
Introduce that restriction now if you don’t want your dog to be allowed on the furniture or the bed once the baby is born.
Start training your dog to keep all four of her paws on the floor if you don’t want her to jump up on you while you’re carrying or holding your new infant in your lap.
Provide your dog with a cozy dog bed so she can sleep elsewhere if she is accustomed to sharing your bed with you but you want that to change once the baby is born. If it’s required, you can put the new bed in a crate or an exercise pen to stop her from climbing into your bed at night. Similarly, develop this habit well in advance if you want your dog to sleep in a different room when the baby arrives.
Even though your dog adores kids, she might unintentionally itch your newborn while traveling next to him in the car. Think about constructing a car barrier, getting a dog seatbelt, or teaching your dog to unwind in her box while riding along. Most large pet stores carry crates, special seatbelts, and barriers.
Many owners value their dog’s ability to serve as a watchdog, and having a loud dog around the house can be a fantastic deterrent to intruders. However, it gets old very quickly when your infant is attempting to snooze and your dog is barking at neighbors, falling leaves, and outside squirrels. It’s time to begin showing her that she doesn’t need to be quite as watchful. Please read our article on Barking to understand how to stop her from continuously raising the alarm.
Some people choose to have their dog wait outside the baby’s room unless they specifically invite him inside. Teach your dog to sit or down near the door as this is the simplest approach to achieve this.
Keep the baby door closed when you’re not training, or put a tall baby gate in the doorway, so your dog learns used to having limited access.
In the baby’s room, place a dog bed in a hidden location and keep a bowl of dog goodies nearby. Leave some snacks on your dog’s bed from time to time when she’s not looking. She can find them later on her own. She’ll get used to her new place in the nursery.
When you need your dog to keep out of the way, you can train her to fall asleep in her new bed in the baby’s room.
Teach your dog to spend quiet time in the room with you if you intend to spend time in the baby’s room while you nurse or rock him to sleep. Your dog can unwind on her bed while you are seated in a chair. During your quiet time sessions, consider giving her a fresh chew bone or a food puzzle toy to play with. When the baby is born, you can occasionally throw treats to your dog while she is lying on her bed when you rock or feed him. She will enjoy being around the baby because of this routine, which will also encourage her to remain seated during quiet time.
If you don’t have the time to train your dog the “Stay” command, you can use a leash or tether fastened to a large piece of furniture to remind her to stay in bed. To secure the tether, you can opt to screw an eye hook into a baseboard. By doing this, you can keep your dog from jumping up or pawing at you while she spends time with you and the baby.
Some dogs might consider a cot to be the ideal spot for a nice nap! It’s crucial to let your dog know right away that she will never be permitted to cuddle up in your baby’s cradle if she is quick enough to climb in there. Simply call her to come to you if she approaches the crib and investigates it for more than a few seconds. If she agrees, thank her profusely. Clap your hands together right away and say, “No!” if your dog tries to leap up and place her front paws on the crib “Off!” he exclaimed with authority. After that, lead her away from the crib while holding her by the collar. When you’re not watching her, keep the baby’s door closed or use a baby gate to block the doorway if you fear she might try to sneak into the crib.
Babies can seem extremely strange and even terrifying to dogs who haven’t spent much time with them. They move in peculiar ways, make loud, screaming noises, smell odd, and definitely do not resemble grownup humans. It’s a good idea to expose your dog to as many baby-like sights, noises, scents, and movements as you can so that when you bring the baby home, some parts will be familiar to your dog.
To introduce your dog to new baby items, such as toys, car seats, highchairs, and swings, remove them from their packing one or two at a time. When you are present to watch over your dog, you can also put smaller items on the ground. Allow her to inspect them, but if she takes them up, yell at her to go play with one of her own toys or chew sticks instead. (Be aware that your dog can find it challenging to distinguish between her belongings and the baby’s! For this reason, it’s crucial to assist her with her early schooling.
To get your dog to associate the baby’s lotions, shampoos, creams, and powders with you, start using a tiny quantity of them on yourself. If you can, borrow baby-scented clothing and blankets to help the dog get used to the scent.
If your dog is easily startled or frightened by unfamiliar sounds, hearing the baby scream could make her uncomfortable or fearful. Purchase a recording of realistic infant noises and play it repeatedly to assist the child get used to the sound beforehand. Give your dog plenty of love, biscuits, and anything else she likes while you play the recording. Turn off the recording after 5 to 10 minutes, and then ignore your dog for another 30 minutes or so. Do this multiple times per day. She’ll learn to anticipate baby sounds since they mean she’ll get attention and treats rather than being terrified or distressed when she hears them. You might need to start with the level very low if you try this method and discover that your dog appears to be really terrified of the recorded baby noises. You can gradually turn up the volume once she becomes accustomed to it at a low volume. Every time she hears the baby noises, don’t forget to give her plenty of tasty snacks, including pieces of cheese, hot dog, or chicken.
Some behaviorists advise buying a lifelike doll that you can use to practice typical baby care actions like feeding, carrying, and rocking. Naturally, your dog will quickly realize that the doll isn’t a real baby, but her initial responses to it could help you decide which obedience training techniques you should prioritize before the baby is born. You can practice taking care of the baby and interacting with your dog simultaneously with the doll’s assistance.
When you lift a doll and hold it in your arms, certain dogs will jump up. It’s critical to make a plan for what you’ll do in this situation. Asking your dog to remain in a sit or down position whenever you hold, lift, or handle the doll is a smart approach.
You may train your dog to deliver gentle kisses using the doll. You can instruct her to lick only the doll’s feet if you are worried about cleanliness. Give your dog plenty of goodies and praise for making any form of gentle touch with the doll.
Given that she is aware that the doll is a toy and not a real infant, if your dog attempts to bite the doll, say “No. Then instantly shift her focus to a suitable item, and if she chooses to play with that, lavish her with praise. Teach her to treat anything you’re holding in your arms like a baby with the utmost care.