When babies start moving and crawling, that poses new challenges for pets, especially fearful dogs.
“Their first response is to get away,” Dr. Yin said. “As long as they can do that, it’s OK. But when the object keeps coming after them and corners them, they might become defensive.”
Most dogs will accept their new roles as pal and protector, Dr. Yin said, but there might be reasons they can’t, don’t or won’t.
Maybe you have an older dog with arthritis. Getting pounced on by a young child could hurt, causing the dog to snap. Dogs also may lash out in response to rough behavior from children. If a dog pants for no reason or won’t lean into a child for a hug, that could be a sign that the dog feels stressed by the child’s presence, Dr. Yin said.
“Some children are very aggressive with animals and they need to learn early how to treat animals,” she said.
New mothers might also consider using a dog walker or even doggie day care to give everyone a break, Dr. Yin said.
Finally, don’t take on a baby and a puppy at the same time.
“That,” Dr. Yin said, “would be like having twins.”
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