The first steps in getting ready for a baby are to always brush up on basic commands, in all areas around and inside the house. The only thing I really want to work on with Oreo is the “go to bed” command. I was never dedicated enough to see that through.
We are currently working with a baby doll. Do dogs know it’s not a real baby? Of course! However, many dogs aren’t sure what to think of their parents carrying something around in their arms all day. Some dogs will think it’s a toy, while others will be curious and some will be scared.
Oreo was very excited to see what was in my arms when I carried around the baby. She jumped and followed me everywhere, trying to sniff and nibble on the baby.
The goal is to have your dog be bored around the “baby.” We want the dogs to be calm and act like it’s no big deal to have the baby in the room. This is very difficult with reactive dogs because many times they are afraid of anything new.
To keep Oreo calm I used treats to first get her to stay on her bottom. Every time she sat down while I was holding the baby I gave her a treat. Eventually, she expected treats every time she saw the baby. Baby = good things.
The treats became a bit of a problem, or rather the begging did. I had to wait longer periods to reward calm behavior otherwise she started begging. Eventually, she became calm and bored. Bringing the doll out didn’t cause her to run up to me for a treat or to explore. I took the baby outside on walks, on the patio, in the kitchen, and when sitting down. My husband practiced the same. The more Oreo saw the baby, the more calm she became.
Are we done training ? Oh no, this is just the beginning. We need to work on baby sounds, smells, gadgets and more. One small step at a time.