Canines are smitten with babies and can form strong connections because of the amount of time spent together. Both a baby and a dog, especially a young pup, have a common desire for a playmate and someone who will give them attention.
Dogs tend to be more protective of babies and small children as well, but that doesn't mean that dogs really understand what babies are or what we call them. Dogs can tell a difference, but they probably don't know just what a baby is.
A newborn brings a whole range of new smells and sounds into your home, and perhaps the most worrying is crying. Remember, your dog picks up on energy, and the energy that your baby is giving off while crying is anything but calm and assertive. Your dog may become distressed, too, whimpering, whining, and barking.
Dogs have great relationships with children and are often protective of them, so it comes as no surprise that they are just as protective of babies, if not more. This is definitely a behavioral trait that needs to be looked at a bit more closely.
Dogs are extremely loyal members of the family and just like humans they can experience a variety of different emotions - including jealousy. This can especially be the case when someone new becomes a member of the family, such as a newborn baby and seems to get all the attention and affection.
Generally, dogs will want to sniff the baby and may nudge the baby with their nose or even lick the baby. For the most part, unless the baby was born with a particularly weak immune system or other health concern, these actions are perfectly fine and are a normal investigation process for your dog.
A dog's mouth carries a lot of germs, which can easily be passed to people. This is especially problematic for babies and immune suppressed adults. Both are at an increased risk of contracting infections and parasites from dogs. So, even though it may look cute, a dog licking a baby's face should not be allowed.
The unusual sounds and unpredictable movements of babies and small children can trigger arousal in any dog and can lead to bites. Even the smallest nip to a baby can be traumatic. Never leave a baby on the floor with a dog, even if you are there next to them. A nervous dog can move very quickly.
Remember, NEVER LEAVE YOUR BABY AND DOG TOGETHER UNSUPERVISED, even if you trust your dog. As your child grows up you will have to continue to supervise interactions with your dog since many attacks occur against children that do not realise that they are irritating or threatening animals.
Well, a recent study published in “Animal Cognition” last month, found that dogs actually respond well to baby talk. Researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom tested two different types of speech on dogs.
Dogs are gentle with babies because they can instinctively tell that the baby is like a puppy and needs to be treated differently than an adult human or dog. Dogs can tell the difference between an adult and a child. So when they are around babies, they are naturally gentle and protective.
Contact with dog or cat saliva through a bite or lick risks exposure to oral cavity commensal organisms such as Capnocytophaga canimorsus and P multocida. Allowing pets to show such affection for a newborn baby is best avoided.
Dogs who show aggression toward a new baby in the home often do so because they have not been well socialized to children and find them foreign and frightening. Some dogs don't fear babies, but they become aggressive when guarding their food, toys or chew bones.
While your baby is tiny, you will generally be able to keep them and your pets apart for most of the time. Keep pets out of the room they sleep in, and never let a pet share a bed with your baby. Always introduce your pets gently to a new baby. Dogs may feel jealous of a new baby when you first bring them home.
Many babies become interested in patting dogs when they're as young as 6 months old. That's fine, as long as your dog is comfortable with the attention and you keep a close eye on your baby at all times. Never leave your child alone with a dog, even if it's your well-trained, easygoing family pet.
When you and the baby come home, let your dog greet you first before meeting the new little one. Then allow your dog to see, sniff, and greet her. Speak calmly and softly but cheerfully to your dog and let another family member give him some treats. This will help him associate the new addition with only good things.
They instinctively want to protect the youngest family member. For years, dogs have been pack animals, which is one of their wired responses to hierarchy. A dog releases dopamine in the presence of a child, so you know that even their biology makes it enjoyable to play with babies.
Dogs lick because they are nervous, to show dominance, or just because something, or someone, tastes good. None of these are reasons to encourage or condone your dog licking your baby. In addition, there are health hazards associated with your dog's baby-licking behavior.
A dog may bite simply because he is startled and feels defensive. Babies and young children are also smaller than a lot of breeds. Dogs are pack animals and may see themselves as superior to the baby. Nipping the baby may be your pooch's way of telling the baby who is boss.
If your dog growls at your child he is sending a clear warning that he is very uncomfortable with the actions or proximity of the child. Be grateful that your dog chose to warn with a growl rather than going straight to a bite.
The Root of the Behavior
Animal behaviorists often refer to this as “caching” and it is a common behavior among predators. In the wild, a dog's ancestor may have ended up with more food than it could eat at that time so it would bury it to prevent other scavengers from stealing it.
According to ASPCA, dogs mount/hump or thrust objects and sometimes humans to display their dominance and in some cases this maybe a response to stress. DogVills suggests that in the event that your dog humps your baby which should be harmless, it would be advisable to separate the dog initially for the baby's support.
Part of the mother's care for her babies involves helping them urinate and defecate, since newborn puppies aren't able to eliminate waste on their own for a few weeks. Mother dogs lick their puppies' genitals to stimulate the reflex to urinate and defecate.