Whether it is the introduction of a new protection dog into a home with an infant, or the introduction of a newborn child into a home that already owns a protection dog, the initial introduction is important in establishing a good relationship between your protection dog and your child. A well-trained dog should already be comfortable around children and infants. However, safety should still be a concern. There are a number of steps you can take to help ensure that the introduction goes smoothly.
Introducing a new child into a home that already owns a protection dog can sometimes be troublesome when it causes an abrupt change in your canine’s routine. Negative changes in routine such as suddenly reducing the amount of time and attention spent on your dog will quickly be associated with the new child. In order to prevent this, it is best to change your dog’s routine well in advance of the child’s arrival. It is also advisable to introduce new furniture into the home sooner rather than later. Before the baby is brought home, you can use an article of clothing or a blanket used by the child to familiarize your protection dog with the scent of the newborn. While your dog is in its crate, place the article of clothing next to the crate, and your dog will pick up on the smell. This will help the dog associate the scent with the comfort and familiarity of the crate. It is important that you do not let the dog mouth the article of clothing in any way.
When the time comes for the actual introduction, do not introduce your protection dog to your child immediately upon entering the home. Wait until your dog is in a calm and relaxed state. Your dog will want to sniff the child to investigate the new arrival. You should allow this briefly, and then return the dog to it’s normal routine. As your child ages, he or she may be inclined to pull the hair or ears of your dog. It is up to you to teach your child the correct and incorrect ways to interact with your canine, and to monitor your child closely until he or she is able to make this distinction.
Common protection dog breeds such as the German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois or Dutch Shepherd are well known for having good temperament and being good around children. Taking the proper precautions when introducing your protection dog to an infant will help reinforce the correct behavior and help build a strong relationship between your canine and your child.