Baby Safety Around Dogs

Experts recommend that you prepare the family dog before the baby arrives. It is a very hectic time and a time of many changes when a baby arrives. In order to minimize stress for the dog and reduce the chance of an accident you can make many changes and preparations ahead of time so that the transition is easier for you and the dog.

Below we give some tips for preparing the dog before the baby arrives and for after the baby arrives as a newborn. We strongly recommend that you purchase the Dogs and Storks DVD, attend a Dogs and Storks seminar or hire a Dogs and Storks presenter to come to your home to get the best information available on this topic. Click here for more information.

There is other information about older babies and children at these links:

Baby Grows Up

Growling at the Kids

Tips for Preparing Your K9 Family Member Before the Baby Arrives

  • Review all your pet dog's "manners" training.
  • Parents should practice giving cues comfortably in any position. Ex: sitting back on a couch, lying in bed, sitting on the floor. If your dog does not respond to familiar cues such as "sit" and "down" when you are resting in various positions, then you will need to teach him so that he understands no matter what. Sometimes it is not the word "sit" that the dog is responding to, sometimes it is a hand or body signal that you are giving that you don't even know about!
  • Be consistent with cues.
  • Socialize your dog around children in a positive and controlled environment.

  • Observe and become aware of how the dog seeks your attention.

  • Know your dog’s sensitivities. Research the breed or mixes. Does he startle with fast motion, noises etc.

Begin a baby schedule that includes:
  1. Varied feeding times.

  2. Crating or "dog zone" times

  3. Vary exercise routines

  4. Ignore attention seeking behavior

  • Allow your dog to become familiar with the baby equipment.

  • Teach your dog the behaviors you want around the equipment vs. what you do not want. Doing this ahead makes a world of difference!

  • Parents can use the baby carrier they plan to use with their baby and put a teddy bear in it to get the feeling of what it will be like moving with this.

  • Work with your dog while you wear this.

  • Walk your dog with an empty stroller or one with some weight to it to get a feel for this and what needs to be worked on NOW.

  • Use a CD of baby noises to introduce and create a positive experience prior to the baby’s arrival.

  • Get the baby lotion and put it on the baby carrier, car seat etc. and the teddy you carry in the sling. Bring the same lotion with you to put the same familiar scent on the baby’s clothing for the dog to be familiar with.

  • Have Dad bring home a blanket with the baby’s scent on it. Although Dad will have the scent all over him. The blanket can go in the car seat, swing etc.

  • Schedule your vet visit well ahead of time to be sure to have all meds available.

  • Familiarize your dog with the person that may care for them.

  • Plan a good and safe spot for your diapers!

  • Buy the Dogs and Storks DVD and follow the advice therein before the baby arrives (see below for more information).

Tips for Safety After the Baby Arrives

  • Never leave the baby alone with the dog even for a second. Dogs can become agitated by the sounds and movements of a baby. Dogs have been know to try to move a baby by carrying the baby in their mouths the way a mother dog might do with her puppies. Other dogs have hurt babies because the baby moves and sounds like prey.
  • If you have to go to answer the phone or the door or just get the baby bottle from the other room, take the baby with you or take the dog with you or close a door or a gate to keep them apart. Even 1 second is too long to leave a dog alone with a baby.
  • Keep your baby off the floor when the dog is around.
  • Avoid face to face contact between dog and baby.
  • Keep the dog well exercised. Hire someone to watch the baby or exercise the dog if you can't manage.
  • Be sure the dog has at least 10-15 minutes of one-on-one training time with someone each day.
  • Be sure that the dog has a crate or other safe place where he can be content to be away from the baby. He should have a special bone and chews toys to enjoy in this space.
  • Use only positive reinforcement-based training methods with the dog. Never punish or scold the dog in the presence of the baby. You want all associations with the baby to be positive in the dog's mind.
  • Be very careful with moving baby items such as swings. Some dogs can very excited by these. Never leave the baby in the swing alone with the dog in the room even if the baby is asleep, even if they are both asleep! Click here to read an article by Jennifer Shryock about baby swing safety.
  • If you have any concerns at all about your dog's behavior or attitude towards the baby, seek professional help right away. Click here to find help.
  • For more information and tips follow dog and baby relationship expert Jennifer Shryock's blog as she chronicles life with a new baby and a houseful of dogs, cats and kids. This is the real deal folks! Watch and read as Jen follows her own advice. Note that there are many videos from YouTube discussed in this blog that show other people's babies and dogs interacting in unsafe ways. These are not Jen's dog and baby, just examples that she is discussing.


Doggone Safe recommends the Dogs & Storks DVD. This is a comprehensive DVD created by Doggone Safe US VP Jennifer Shryock. The DVD provides photos, information and exercises to help prepare the family dog for life with a new baby in the house. This is a must-have resource for expectant and new parents and grandparents who have a dog in the family.

Visit for more information and to purchase the DVD

For more information, videos and wisdom about dogs and babies, check out Jennifer's blog.

 What the Experts are Saying:

"I am so pleased to see the vital work of Jen Shryock. As someone who has spent his professional career focusing on the needs of new mothers, I have heard many mothers speak alarmingly of what will happen when they bring their new baby home to the dog they also love. Ms. Shyrock knows babies, she knows Moms, and she most certainly knows dogs. Her comprehensive knowledge of the field will put even the most anxious family at ease."


William S. Meyer, MSW, BCD
Department of Social Work
Associate Clinical Professor
Departments of Psychiatry and Ob/Gyn
(919) 681-6840
Box 3812
Duke University Medical Center
Durham, NC 27710

"Jen Shryock's "Dogs and Storks" program is a must for all expectant parents. It's a giant step toward the old storybook ending:  "and they lived happily ever after". Practical and user friendly, Jen has great insight when it comes to dogs and babies!"

Terry Ryan

Legacy Canine Behavior & Training, Inc.

Sequim, Washington


"The Dogs and Storks CD produced by Jennifer Shryock of Family Paws provides essential information for new and expectant parents and grandparents. Jen's understanding of the point of view of the dog, the Mom and the child has led to an educational product that is entertaining, practical and full of empathy for the new mother. The Dogs & Storks CD gives clear instructions and explanations using words and photographs as well as providing work sheets and homework to help expectant parents prepare the dog before the baby arrives. Jen's genuine care and concern for new parents, babies and dogs shines through in this terrific CD. I highly recommend this product for anyone who wants to prepare their dog for life with kids."


Joan Orr M.Sc.

Co-creator Doggone Crazy! board game; Producer - Clicker Puppy DVD; Faculty Member - Karen Pryor Clicker Expo


"Dogs and Storks is a wonderful resource for expecting or new parents who are also dog owners. The presentation is straightforward, easy to understand and filled with useful information (as well as adorable photos!). Best of all, it can be viewed from the comfort of your own home. Highly recommended, and sure to help make child-dog relations successful."

Nicole Wilde, CPDT



Doggone Safe is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.  9122 Kenton Rd, Wesley Chapel FL 33545 USA

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