If you have a baby on the way, the idea of a dog (especially a large one) and an infant mixing may seem terrifying. This fear may only be intensified if your dog isn't quite under your control. Before you think about giving up your dog for even one minute more, consider the issue as a whole:
Surrendering Your Dog
Giving up your dog means that you'll need to find a place or person to relinquish him to. Unfortunately, this may mean taking him to the pound. This is a horrifying prospect that should be avoided at all costs.
Only 35% of dogs in shelters are adopted by new owners, while 31% of them are euthanized. Potentially sentencing your dog to death because he might behave badly around a baby isn't fair to him.
The other alternative is to leave him with a friend or a no-kill shelter. While this eliminates the possibility of your dog being put down, it won't change the confusion, fear, and sense of abandonment he'll feel. Dogs are pack animals, and your family is his pack: without you, he'll be terrified.
Benefits Of Growing Up With A Dog
Growing up with a dog can actually be tremendously beneficial for a child. Many children dream of having a pet growing up, but yours can have one from the time they're a newborn.
In addition, growing up with dogs may offer health benefits. Your dog's need to walk daily will mean that your child will grow up with a fondness for walking the dog, and will be more likely to receive their needed daily exercise. Children who grow up with dogs are more likely to live healthier lives: children with dogs had 31% fewer respiratory infections and 44% fewer ear infections than children without dogs.
Dogs can also help to increase your child's sense of responsibility and help them to mature as they grow older. Caring for a pet may also make them better parents later in life: in one study, children with pets spent more time caring for them than children with siblings and no pets cared for their siblings.
Guidance & Training Are The Solutions
Your dog deserves a chance with your child, but don't waste the nine months waiting, either. Enrolling your dog in obedience courses now can help to train him to be controlled, responsive, and disciplined. When your child is born, that training will help to keep him calm and collected in the presence of your baby.
If you have a friend with a baby, ask them if they'd be willing to visit so your dog can see and smell a baby before yours is born. Make sure that the environment is calm and that you have a leash on your dog in case he becomes overexcited. Gradually introducing your dog to the baby to ease them into this new experience may also help.
Your dog and your baby can coexist happily, and your child may even be better for it. Your dog is family too, and with a little training and careful introductions, your child will grow up with all the joy a dog can bring. To learn more, contact a company like Canine Behavior Center with any questions or concerns you have.