A Baby in the House

A new baby in the family can be puzzling for a dog. It smells human but doesn't look like other humans, and it certainly doesn't sound like other humans. A baby can become a rival for attention if the Yorkie is ignored while the baby is showered with affection. Be proactive about adding a baby to your household, and everyone can get along just fine.

Pre-Baby Preparations

You can help your dog prepare to welcome the new family member by letting her meet other babies beforehand, if possible. Ask the mom to sit on the floor and cuddle her baby while you let your on-leash Yorkie approach and sniff. You don't want to hold the baby out to the Yorkie because it may appear as if you are presenting a toy.

Everyone will be busy with the new arrival. You might be losing sleep. If you already have other children, they may be acting up in a bid for attention. Yet you still need to find time for the dog. View a nice long walk as a chance for both you and the dog to get away from all the fuss for a while.

You can also make or buy recordings of a baby crying. Play the recording while you go about your business at home. By doing both of these things, your Yorkie will have a chance to gain some experience with the sound and smell of babies before you actually have one in the house permanently.

Pre-Training

If you haven't yet taken your Yorkie for training, now's the time, before you find yourself trying to deal with a new baby and an untrained dog. Take a class and be sure to work extra hard on sit, down, stay, and preventing jumping up. These skills will come in handy for keeping your Yorkie out from underfoot and from jumping up while you're holding the baby.

Photograph by Jean Fogle

Socialization cuts down on unpredictable Yorkie behavior.

You can even go so far as to practice your training while you carry a doll wrapped in a blanket. You'll learn the mechanics of trying to hold a baby and control your dog, and your Yorkie will get used to the sight of you carrying a small bundle.

Homecoming

If the new mom has been away for even a couple of days, your Yorkie will probably be eager to welcome her back. So have someone else carry the baby and leave the mom's hands free to greet the dog.

Once everyone has settled down, let the Yorkie approach the baby the same as you did when doing pre-baby preparations — have someone sit on the floor and hold the baby while someone else holds the Yorkie on-leash. Remember not to hold the baby out to the dog, but rather hold the infant close and let the dog come up to sniff.

Be sure that other family members give the mom some time to spend with the dog so your Yorkie doesn't feel pushed aside by the infant. Most Yorkies are used to being the center of attention and won't take kindly to suddenly being ignored. Keep up your usual activities with the dog, even though everyone has more to do and may be getting less sleep.

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