Adopt these strategies to keep all your family members happy and safe.
"If possible, start preparing your dog for your baby's arrival as soon as you learn you're pregnant," says Martin Deeley, president of the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP). Adopt these strategies to keep all your family members happy and safe:
Brush up on dog etiquette "Little things you've allowed your dog to get away with--like jumping on you--are no longer OK," says Cesar Millan, host of The Dog Whisperer on the National Geographic Channel. Remedy behavior flubs with a basic training course at your pet store or vet's office, or find a program or trainer through IACP (dogpro.org).
Change the rules If you don't want your dog in the nursery or on the couch once the baby arrives, ban those behaviors now.
Show your stuff Familiarize your dog with new baby gear--bouncy seats, strollers, swings, etc.--a few months before your due date, so he gets used to each item.
Introduce your baby's scent After you deliver, have your partner bring home a receiving blanket your baby was wrapped in and let the dog sniff it. "Don't allow the dog to leap on it or chew it--this teaches him to keep a polite distance from the scent's source," Millan explains.
Watch for warning signs Disrespecting boundaries, like jumping on the bed; predatory posturing (fur standing up along the spine); or acting possessive of you signal that a professional trainer may be needed.
Never leave any dog alone with your baby Period.