Dogs thrive on predictability. They can be sensitive to changes in their lives. With the arrival of your son or daughter, your dog may find her familiar routines turned upside down. Before, he was the recipient of nearly all of your attention and was considered as the apple of your eye. Now, everyone’s attention is on that smelly, noisy squirmy thing.

It is easy to overlook how this huge event will affect your pet. Some dogs may get upset, while others may develop troubling behavior changes.

Here’s how to prepare your furry friend for the arrival of your new baby.

Prepare in advance

Start preparing a few months in advance so that the adjustment can be gradual. The sooner you begin preparing for your incoming bundle of joy, the less stressful and dramatic the transition will be.

Set up the nursery long before the baby is born. Engage in baby care activities and carry a doll around as you do things around the house. Teach your dog how to behave while holding the doll. After the birth of your child, the only change will be the baby’s homecoming.

Introduce the dog to the new sound

Baby sounds can be frightening for dogs. In the month before the baby comes, we suggest that you invite over a friend with their baby. Get your dog used to the sights and sounds of babies. Try to desensitize your dog by playing the sound of a crying baby from time to time.

Smell

At least one month before the arrival of the baby, use some of the lotions, soaps and powders that you’ll be using on your baby. Before bringing your son or daughter home, send home a piece of clothing or a blanket that has your baby’s scent on it. Let the dog sniff them so they can get used to the new smell.

Vary times of certain activities

Do you usually walk Fido at 6 a.m.? If so, you might want to start taking him out at different times. Fido still gets his daily walk, but he will no longer be expecting you to take him out for a walk at a certain time of the day. If you’ve been taking care of your baby all night, we bet you wouldn’t want to get out of bed at 6 a.m.