Continuing with environmental changes... When preparing your dog for new smells, it can be useful to get a relatively life-sized baby doll that you can “put” the smells on and carry around like a baby, up high out of reach. This baby doll can also be used to get your dog used to how you will transport your baby.
- Baby diapers
- To us, baby diapers stink. To a dog, well, I can only assume they fall into the same category as cat poo, dog poo, and dead mice… i.e., “Ooh, hurray! Delicious!”... Silly pups. Anyway, it is worth making sure that your dog is not too interested in diapers before you’re carrying around a baby in a dirty diaper. Although it sounds disgusting, try to recreate a “wet diaper” before the baby is born. Put a tiny dab of your pee on a diaper or get a diaper from a friend with a baby and rub the wet side against a clean diaper to put a little smell on it. (A truly wet diaper is a little too gross to keep around.) Put this diaper on a doll and let your dog take a sniff. If they don’t care- great! If they do, let them have a short sniff, then say, “That’s enough,” and move away. Reinforce them with a cookie for being polite. If they keep bothering you and jumping up to sniff, you need to do more work.
- Get a Diaper Genie (or something similar) to contain the diapers. If your dog gets ahold of a poopy diaper once, they’re likely to try again. If you block this behavior from ever occurring you won’t have to worry about it.
- You can’t really prepare for the smell of breast milk, but if you plan on using formula, make a little up ahead of time and drip that on the baby doll’s clothes, too. If you are formula feeding, your baby will almost always smell like that. Practice polite behavior around the smell, just like with the diaper exercise above.
- Lastly, whatever lotions or powders you will be using, you can either add them to the baby doll, or just smear a little on some towels, the changing table, or in the crib so those places start to smell like “baby.” It’s one less change for your dog to adjust to once the baby arrives!
Tomorrow: New Sights and Obstacles