Dogs can be incredible additions to any family. They can offer unconditional love, support and – in the case of conditions such as autism – service dogs can significantly help the managing of day to day activities for those people who need it most.
Nevertheless, there is always the chance that the new introduction of a child or baby within the home will give the family dog cause to be jealous. If they are extensively used to receiving all the love and attention, it can be a shock to the system to suddenly find a new human receiving a share of the affection.
What Are the Signs of Jealousy in a Dog?
The key signs to watch out for include:
• Aggression, growling or barking
• Suddenly urinating or emptying their bowels within the home, and particularly near items which belong to the child or smell of the child
• Acting unhappy or anxious
• A change in eating habits, such as overeating
How to Best Deal with a Jealous Dog
In order to restore harmony to your home and encourage a positive bond between your dog and child, ensure you try the following methods.
Treat Your Dog
A lot of your time will be spent occupied with your new child, naturally, but your dog still needs care and attention, too. Treat your dog to something special from time to time to make them understand that they still have your attention. While it’s important not to pander to their every need (which will make them believe that their clinginess is being rewarded), it’s a good idea to show them love, whether it’s a new toy, extra cuddle time or pampering and grooming services from heartandpaw.com.
Interact with Both Dog and Child Together
If you need to attend to your child, pay an even amount of attention to your dog at the same time. This could mean reaching out to pat your dog and talk to your dog at the same time you are playing with and talking to your child. Alternating between the two means your dog is still included and can see that you are paying an equal amount of diligence.
Keep Your Dog’s Routine as Normal as Possible
If your dog is used to a certain way of doing things, such as a specific walk and feeding time, then stick to the schedule you’ve always had. You don’t want your dog to be stuck waiting for its walk while it watches you feed and play with your child. While of course there may be times when routines need to be switched around, try and keep your dog’s routine as stable as it was before your new child arrived.
Eliminate Any Extra Stress Factors
This means avoiding providing your dog with any extra reasons to become disgruntled. This could be your child taking your dog’s toy for one of its own, or your child scaring your dog or else acting in a way which makes the dog feel uncomfortable and encroaches on their personal space.
Remember: the safety of your child, dog and you is paramount in any situation. If your dog’s jealousy is leading to overly aggressive behaviour, you may want to seek professional help with dog behaviour specialists.