6 Dog Commands Your Pet Should Know Before Baby Arrives
Up until now your dog has been the center of attention in your household. You spoil him as if he’s an only child and give him ample amounts of affection, exercise and playtime. But now you’re expecting a baby, which means big changes are on the horizon for your dog from a cutback on cuddle time to a change in his once rigid routine. How can you make sure things go smoothly? There are many steps involved in preparing your dog for a baby, and brushing up on obedience training during your pregnancy is one good place to focus. New York City-based dog trainer Colleen Safford, also known as the Doggy Doula, shared six dog commands to master before your new baby arrives. Practice with your pooch throughout your pregnancy to make sure he has a firm understanding of what’s expected of him, so you can all make a smooth transition into the next phase of your life.
Sit: Hopefully your dog already knows how to sit. In fact, it may have been one of the first commands he learned. Sit will come in handy in a variety of new baby situations. But you don’t just want your dog to sit when he’s calm and totally focused on you, he also needs to be able to sit when he’s super-excited, Safford says. The more you practice asking your dog to sit when he’s excited, the more likely he will be to do it when there is a distraction.
Stay: If your dog will happily stay put when asked, you will thank yourself later. There may come a time when you want to tend to your baby’s crying without your dog following you for example.
Leave It: You may already use this dog command when your pet finds something he’d like to eat on the street or if he starts to chew on your favorite pair of sneakers. But with Baby on the way, you’ll likely have a whole slew of new and enticing objects coming into your home from baby gyms with lots of dangling objects to plush or squeaky toys that may seem all too familiar to your pup.
Down: You may love the shower of affection you get when your dog excitedly jumps up on you when you come home, but when your dog jumps up on everyone that comes into your home (or even people on the street), it’s a problem you should solve before Baby arrives. Teach your dog the command down and you can use it when he attempts to jump on guests or if he starts to disturb the baby.
Come: Whether your pooch is lingering in the nursery, or you simply want him to run to your side easily when you’re outside with your baby, come is a must-know command. If your dog has some work to do to learn how to come, watch our training video for teaching your dog how to come when called.
To Your Place: Whether you’re trying to soothe your crying baby without your dog anxiously watching or if you need your dog to stop jumping up on the couch to sit next to you while you’re breastfeeding, there will come a time when you wish your dog would go somewhere other than right by your side. Safford says teaching the command “to your place,” can help create that bit of distance that you’ll need once Baby arrives. Remember, you want to make going to his place a positive experience, so when given the command he happily trots off to his bed.
You may be surprised the seemingly simple command “no” isn’t on this list, Safford says that “no” is an overused word and in turn, it has little meaning to dogs. “It’s better to pair down the vocabulary, using a small set of specific commands,” she says.