Scruffy, meet the new baby!

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Scruffy, meet the new baby!

By Corinne Hautala. CREATED Sep 23, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – Having a baby can be a big adjustment to everyone in the family, including the family pet. Pet behavior specialists agree dogs need to be prepared for the new addition just like every other family member.

Kelli Neufeld with the Southern Arizona Humane Society said it is important to establish ground rules.  She said consider the new rules you may have for your pet when the baby arrives, like will your pet be allowed in the nursery?  If not, Neufeld said to train them early that the room is off limits.

She recommends getting your pet familiar to baby sounds, too.

“It may be a little weird,” said Neufeld, “If you were to ask your friend like 'hey can you record your baby screaming or having a tantrum?' But if you're recording that, letting that recording play to the dog it’s going be a little more familiar when the dog first hears it.

Neufeld said some dogs may feel stressed by the noises a baby makes.

She suggests bringing a blanket home that the baby has slept on.  She said it gives the dog a chance to get familiar with the smell of the baby.

When bringing the newborn home, Neufeld, said stay calm and either sit down or stay standing during the quick meet-and-greet, and keep the dog on a leash.

“If the dog is comfortable and relaxed let them come up to the baby,” said Neufeld, “Let them smell. Reward the dog.”