Bringing a newborn home is an exciting and transformative experience. If you have a cherished canine companion, it’s crucial to facilitate a smooth introduction between your dog and your newborn baby. This blog post provides practical steps to guide you through the process, ensuring a positive and safe relationship between your dog and your newborn. By following these steps, you can foster a harmonious relationship between your dog and your baby, creating a safe and loving environment for everyone involved.

Prepare in Advance

Preparation is key to a successful introduction between your dog and your newborn. Start by reinforcing basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “leave it,” ensuring your dog responds calmly and obediently. This will come in handy when you need your dog to be calm and obedient during interactions with the baby.

Gradually desensitize your dog to baby sounds by playing recordings of crying or cooing at low volumes, rewarding calm behaviour to build positive associations. Establish physical boundaries with baby gates or closed doors to create separate spaces, giving your dog a secure area and providing a gradual introduction to the new family member.

Read Cesar’s tips on introducing your dog to the baby and if you have the time, watch some of his videos. He is a world-renowned dog trainer with years of experience with different breeds. Learn more about dog training here.

Initial Introduction

When you first bring your baby home, it’s essential to make the initial introduction a positive experience for both your dog and baby. Follow these steps:

– Create a Calm Environment: Choose a quiet and calm space for the initial introduction. Ensure that both your dog and baby are relaxed and comfortable.

– Have a Helper: Enlist the assistance of a trusted family member or friend who can focus on your dog’s needs during the introduction. This person can provide treats, attention, and reassurance to your dog.

– Use Positive Reinforcement: Reward your dog with treats, praise, and gentle petting for calm and appropriate behaviour around the baby. This will help your dog associate the presence of the baby with positive experiences.

– Supervise and Observe: Keep a close eye on your dog’s behaviour during the initial introduction. Watch for signs of anxiety or discomfort, and be ready to redirect your dog’s attention if needed.

Parents introducing a newborn to their dog for the first time.

Gradual Exposure and Acclimation

Once the initial introduction is successful, gradually increase your dog’s exposure to the baby, allowing them to acclimate at their own pace. Here’s how:

– Controlled Interactions: Allow your dog to approach the baby under controlled circumstances. Use a lead or physical barrier initially to ensure safety and prevent any unwanted or overexcited behaviour.

– Positive Associations: Reward your dog for calm and gentle behaviour around the baby, using treats, praise, and attention. This will reinforce positive associations and encourage appropriate behaviour.

– Supervised Bonding Time: As your dog becomes more comfortable, allow supervised bonding time where they can sniff and observe the baby from a close distance. Be present to intervene if needed.

Safety Precautions

Safety is paramount when introducing your newborn to your dog. Never leave your baby and dog unattended, especially during early interactions, even the most well-behaved dogs should always be supervised around infants.

Establish physical boundaries such as baby gates or closed doors, to ensure separation when needed and pay attention to your dog’s body language. Teach your dog to interact gently and positively with the baby, rewarding gentle sniffing or licking while discouraging jumping or excessive excitement.  Look for signs of stress or discomfort, such as tense body posture, lip licking, yawning, or growling. If you notice any concerning behaviour, calmly redirect your dog’s attention and seek professional guidance if necessary.

Dog gently approaching a baby under supervision.

Maintaining a Positive Environment

Creating a positive environment fosters a harmonious relationship between your dog and baby. Continue to reward calm and appropriate behaviour which will reinforce positive associations and encourage a positive bond. Ensure that your dog receives regular exercise and mental stimulation to prevent excess energy and boredom. A tired and content dog is more likely to exhibit calm behaviour around the baby.

Maintain your dog’s routines to provide stability and encourage supervised interactions as your baby grows. If you have concerns about your dog’s behaviour or the interaction with your baby, consult with a professional dog trainer or behaviourist. They can provide personalised advice and guidance based on your specific situation.


Introducing your newborn to your dog can be a joyful journey filled with wagging tails and warm interactions. With careful preparation, patience, and positive reinforcement, you can foster a loving relationship between your dog and your baby, creating a safe and harmonious environment for your growing family.

Ready to Capture Those Priceless Moments?

I specialise in creating heartwarming, safe, and beautiful portraits that celebrate the unique bond between your baby and your pet. Whether it’s a serene nap side by side or a curious first sniff, we’ll capture those precious first moments in stunning detail. Book your session here.