Yes, You Can Have Children and Keep Your Dog!

How To Prep You & Your Dog Home When a (human) Baby Is On The Way!
November 29, 2023
Dog Wellness
Aileen Cronin

Many people decide to rehome their dog or put them into the shelter system when adding to their human family. This is usually not necessary (and, remember - your dogs are family members, too!).

Common reasons people think the dogs can no longer be a part of the household include:

1. Not Enough Time

I get it, there’s a lot on your plate and the idea of carving out time just for the dog sounds so overwhelming. The good news is training is happening in every interaction with your dog so make the little moments count - mundane moments can reap big rewards!

2. Not Enough Space

What was once a perfect home for a couple and a dog is now a bit of a squeeze with a baby in the mix. The good news is dogs don’t need their own room or a big backyard. They feel most loved when they are fulfilled and receiving quality information about the new family rituals.

3. Lack of Preparation

Many dog parents just don’t believe that their dogs will have any problems adjusting to a new baby in the home so they are surprised when issues arise. Proactively creating strategies to guide them through this change will be a great help in avoiding setbacks.

While it is almost always unnecessary to rehome a dog based on children entering the picture, below are a few times this may be necessary:

1. Predatory Behavior Towards Children

Dogs that are escalating in their reactivity towards children in the home (or guests of children in the home). This may include growling, muzzle punching, snapping or an unwillingness to walk away from uncomfortable situations even when the parent is actively setting boundaries and providing guidance. If your gut tells you that your child is in danger, seek the opinion of a professional and do not allow the dog and child to interact until you know the child will be safe.

2. Keeping The Dog in the Home Would Be Neglect

If the dog is not receiving basic care or is not being provided food, shelter or water - it is best to consider allowing that dog to go to a new home that can care for them.

But in almost all situations, with a little prep work, your family can grow with its current furry family members sticking around. For many of us, our dogs were our first companions - a paw to hold on our loneliest days, a partner on amazing adventures, and a friend when we needed it most. We have a responsibility to help them understand the changes in the home and create an environment where they can succeed.

The basics of living well and safely with your fur kids and human kids comes down to:

1. Know What You Want

The first thing I ask owners to do is describe what dinner time, social time, family time and life as a family of humans and canines looks like.

2. Create What You Want

Then we develop strategies to achieve our goals in all of those day to day family moments.

3. Be Consistent With What You Want

Dog owners are successful when they follow the plan and consistently provide guidance about the rituals of family life.

To dive into more support about your specific situation, check out:
BPL Prepping for Baby guide
Toddler Tutorial


Dog Mom Prepping For Your First Human Baby

Nurturing A Safe and Happy Home With Multiple Children and Dogs

Aileen is the owner of Baby Pack Leader, focusing on creating safe environments for dogs + tots as they navigate a whole new world together. Aileen offers free online resources and courses to help owners navigate bringing home a baby, the tough toddler years, and the family dog.