Teaching Your Dog the Difference Between Dog and Baby Toys
This is tough! Up until this point, your dog probably had free range of the toys that were scattered around the house. Many clients experience this dilemma, don’t panic, it’s not too late to help your dog understand the new rules. Dogs are extremely observant, and when you are playing with your infant, their toys make the dogs excited.
- Have a Specific Dog Toy Box: The goal of having a dog toy box is that anytime your dog confuses a baby toy for a dog toy, you can guide them to their box. This will be successful if, you engage the dog by making their toys as interactive as the babies. A ball isn’t fun unless it’s thrown. Dog toys like Kongs, are interesting and fun when you stuff them with treats (Pro Tip: Close the ends with peanut butter and freeze for a longer dog interaction). You can also, throw random treats inside the dog box when the dog isn’t around, so the dog randomly checks. It’s good to have a few chew toys like bully sticks and nylabones to keep the dog occupied throughout the day. All of these rewards are best when they are found in the dog box.
- Off-Limit Rooms: There need to be areas of the house that are off-limits to the dog. This is a great leadership exercise and teaches your dog the hierarchy of the house. As a side benefit, these areas can include the nursery and playroom where the majority of the baby’s toys are. When dogs try to enter off-limit areas, show them invisible boundaries by using body blocking postures. This can be done in a very gentle but firm positioning of yourself. Do not close doors on the dog (unless they are unsupervised), and allow the dog to see you and the baby.
- Physical Stimulation: It’s true and there’s no denying it, a tired dog is a good dog. Providing outlets such as walks, play time with other dogs, and (my favorite) a game of retrieve, are all ways to take the edge off your dog. They are less likely to find mischief when they are tired. Give them something to look forward to with a physical outlet, for a few days a week.
- Successful Setups: A setup is a controlled environment that is created for the purpose of having pacifiers laying around as baby toys. This will only work if you are overlooking the situation, and ready to give the appropriate consequence when the dog interacts with the baby’s toys. When speaking of consequence, that is dependent on you and your dog’s methods of training. If the dog doesn’t show an aversion to the consequence, then the behavior will not be inhibited. For example, my dog loves water, so squirting him with water would be ineffective.When it comes to a dog ingesting a pacifier or toy, it can be life-threatening to the dog. There’s no more room for accidents or the dog could die. I’ve had clients with dogs who have had multiple surgeries that come in for training. It can be a difficult situation for correction, as compared to other methods. Never allow the dog to fail during a setup. There needs to be absolute consistency, or don’t do it at all. The best correction for dogs is a direct correction. For instance, don’t say “no” because you want the object itself to be the correction. You want the action to be the correction. That way, even when you’re not present, the dog will avoid the objects if they are accidentally left out.
Dogs can have a difficult time adjusting when introducing a new baby into the home. They may adapt right away without issue, but for some dogs, they may become confused on where they fit in. Some dogs, in the confusion, may lash out and start to use the baby’s toys as their own. The training tips listed are a great way to get your dog adjusted. If you want to learn more about introducing your dog to your new baby or check out other dog training tips, contact us at www.dogtodiapers.com.