Prep­ping your pup

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The count­down to Baby’s ar­rival has be­gun. The ex­perts show you how to get your dog ready.

ACT IT OUT A good way to get your pet used to the new rou­tine is to be­gin role-play­ing weeks be­fore Baby is due, says Dr Brian Loon, a prin­ci­pal ve­teri­nary sur­geon.

Act out sim­ple sce­nar­ios around the house with com­mon items that will be used with the new­born to train your dog to be­have in the de­sired man­ner.

Or try walk­ing the dog with the baby stroller, and us­ing a baby doll as a sub­sti­tute.

Re­ward good be­hav­iour with a treat, toy or praise, and try not to scold your pet when it doesn’t lis­ten; that will only lead to anx­i­ety and more un­de­sir­able be­hav­ior.

USE THE SAME COM­MAND It is also a good idea to make sure your dog knows and fol­lows com­mands, Dr Loon adds. Im­por­tant ones in­clude sit-stay and down-stay.

Be sure it comes when called, al­lows gen­tle touches at all parts of its body, keeps all paws on the ground when greet­ing peo­ple and walks on a loose leash with­out pulling it.

Every­one in the fam­ily should also use the same com­mand for each be­hav­iour, so your pooch does not get con­fused.

SET A ROU­TINE This way, your dog knows when to ex­pect meals, walks or play times, says Dr Natalie Ep­ton, a spe­cial­ist pae­di­a­tri­cian and neona­tol­o­gist.

And al­ways stick to it – like ba­bies, an­i­mals thrive on rou­tine.

Give it a sep­a­rate space with its own bed, favourite toys, and food and wa­ter that it can es­cape to if the noise or gen­eral chaos be­comes over­whelm­ing.

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