Bringing Home Baby Course: Should You Bring The Blanket Home?


My self-paced course, Bringing Home Baby: Preparing Dog and Family For A New Baby is now available!

For the next several weeks, I’ll be touching on some common topics that parents are often worried about that are covered in detail in the course. If you’re worried about preparing your dog for bringing home a human baby, this course is for you!

Want a sneak peek of what’s in the course? Well that’s what I’ve got for you today right here!

This week I’m starting with probably the most commonly given piece of advice from birthing professionals to expectant parents – bring home the baby’s blanket from the hospital and give it to your dog and then your dog will magically accept your baby. So, is this sound advice?

This is potentially dangerous advice from birthing professionals which sets already worried parents up with the idea that ALL they need to do to prepare their dog for baby is to bring the blanket home then “check  – mission accomplished,” dog will suddenly love their baby.  In a perfect world, it would just be this simple.  But it isn’t.

To illustrate the absurdity of this idea, when you have an unknown person coming over, like a plumber, do you ask the plumber to send over a shirt ahead of their visit for your dog to get used to their smell?  *chuckle*. If your dog has fear of strangers, you’re likely already prepared for managing those interactions, whether it’s putting your dog away during that interaction or working on a systematic training plan to help your dog be comfortable with slow, deliberate introductions.  If your dog is comfortable with strangers, then this is completely unnecessary. But in either case, the baby blanket smell isn’t going to magically make your dog know or like your new baby.

So, please, if you’re a birthing professional, please stop telling expectant parents to just bring the baby blanket home. Encourage them to do meaningful preparation with the dog and in their household. A newborn brings changes that impact the entire household and your dog doesn’t understand why all these changes are happening.

10 Changes That Happen For A Dog When Baby Arrives:

  1. Disrupted sleeping. When baby wakes up, the whole household wakes up.
  2. Reduced walks or exercise. New parents are tired and often don’t feel up to keeping up with the dog’s walking or exercise needs.
  3. Inconsistent feeding times. Baby’s needs take priority and that may mean mealtimes are not regular.
  4. Unpredictable time spent with their people. Baby takes a lot of attention and focus, so there’s less time for dog/parent time.
  5. Increased noises. Dog senses are much stronger than ours, so baby cries are louder for them. Add in all the equipment that vibrates, sings, beeps or makes other noises and it’s a veritable cacophony for a dog.
  6. Increased separation. Often dogs need to be separated from the baby so the dog ends up spending more time alone.
  7. Change in sleeping arrangements. Dogs that normally sleep with their owners or in their room may get ousted if the baby is in a bassinet or co-sleeping with parents.
  8. Reduced play time. Any downtime or quiet time is often consumed by parents napping, to make up for lost sleep.
  9. Increased visitors. More activity in the home as excited visitors want to meet the new baby.
  10. Increased anxiety in the home. New parents are often nervous, underslept and anxious about doing the right things.

Truly helping prepare your dog for baby involves preparing for all these changes, and more. These issues will not be resolved by just bringing the baby blanket home. Parents need more accurate, better guidance on how to navigate these big changes and advising them to just bring the baby blanket home is a huge disservice and really is setting the dog and family up to fail.

Grab my self-paced course, Bringing Home Baby: Preparing Dog and Family For A New Baby or if you prefer one-on-one, you can set up a private pre-baby prep session, so we can discuss all the important details about introducing dog and baby, but with your specific dog’s issues or concerns in mind.

Happy training!

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