Introduce your dogs and toddlers properly and they will make great friends. Dog interactions with babies can have positive benefits beyond furry love. Research shows that babies who grow up with pets are far less likely to develop dog allergies as they get older.1 However, ignorant puppies—and active babies—can also hurt or even terrorize each other. When you’re expecting a new baby, prepare your puppy ahead of time to make sure the interaction stays safe.
Why Puppies Love and Fear Babies? Most puppies are interested in babies because they have so many interesting smells: milk, baby food, poop… what’s not to love? Confident adult dogs are often very tolerant of children because they recognize that they have not yet grown up. However, ignorant puppies have no experience with babies or toddlers, which can be frightening if they chase your pet, tug on its tail, and make strange shrill sounds. Babies who crawl can imitate prey behavior in their sounds and actions. Cautious dogs may switch to aggressive play mode or take a defensive position and try to ward off the “scary” creature by growling and showing teeth. None of the options are good.
Children are also at the puppy level, where all of his most prized possessions are at risk. Your new baby knows nothing better than playing with dog toys, climbing into a puppy crib, or exploring a food bowl. It’s natural for dogs to be protective of their belongings and react with aggression when your child doesn’t understand a well-defined puppy growl or other body language warnings.