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Dog Acting Out after Baby Arrival: A Complete Guide

by | Newborn

Dogs are the most loyal members of the family. Just like human beings, they can experience all kinds of emotions, such as aggression, happiness, excitement, and jealousy. It especially happens when someone new seems to get all the attention.

Dogs are extremely social animals that require interaction constantly. Shifting from being the center of attention to being completely left out is quite difficult for most dogs. The addition of a little bunch of happiness can entirely change the dynamics of the house, including routine, acting habits, and even likes and dislikes.

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Do you have a dog acting out after your baby is born? If so, you are not alone. Many dogs become depressed and act out after the baby’s birth. This can be very frustrating for both the dog and the parents. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the reasons why this may happen and offer some solutions to help get your dog back to his old self.

Why is the Dog Depressed?

When you feel that your dog is acting weird or seems sad and depressed after bringing home your little one, it may be due to the fact that the dynamics and behavior of family members have changed towards the dog. If you do the things you used to enjoy and seem sluggish, it means they are going through postpartum depression.

Like humans, dogs understand the behavior and attitude of a person towards them. When they are used to overwhelming affection, and when they lose that limelight due to a new baby, it can dramatically hurt them and lead to feelings of hurt and confusion.

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Another reason that can make feel depressed is the introduction of an erratic dog’s schedule. Dogs have perfect and fixed sleeping habits. With new baby arrivals, they thrive on routine and struggle with late-night feeding and baby crying sessions.

Anyhow, the baby’s arrival into the dog’s living space seems to be an unwelcome guest. It especially happens when the baby handles the toys of dogs and crawls into the sleeping space and dog bed. Unless the dog exposes the signs of aggression, this antisocial behavior can be rectified with proper lifestyle adjustments and training methods. All these things assist in developing a lifelong relationship between a baby and your furry companion.

Symptoms of Depression in Dogs

Depression in dogs is real. The term is supported by the changed behavior of the dog due to the arrival of a new one. You need to understand the behavioral symptoms to identify depression and treat them accordingly. It includes:

  1. Ignoring Usual Habits

This is known as “displacement behavior. For example, the dog always follows you into the kitchen while you are cooking, and occasionally you drop something for him as a treat. But now, when you go to the kitchen, he only looks at you and may try to stand up but decides to give and keep yawning, licking paws, or turning away. If this is happening, it is an indication of anxiety, depression, and insecurity.

According to veterinarians, when a dog wants to do something, it suppresses the urge to do it. Instead of following their instincts, he may divert attention toward other errands such as licking or yawning. It is called behavioral regulation.

  1. He looks like he is about to shake hands

It is super cute to look at a dog who is pretending to shake hands. Conversely, if your dog sits with paws raised in the air, it means something else. Apparently, he wants to cuddle and shake hands, but according to vets, this is a sign of anxiety and something alarming. It indicates that something is wrong with the dog.

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  1. Gets Rattled When Baby Cry

Dogs are sensitive to strange noises and show immediate reactions. According to the American Society for the Prevention of the Cruelty of Animals, pet dogs are agitated and frightened when they hear a baby cry.

Low rumbles, shaking, and the dog following the baby sounds with their eyes indicate that the baby’s cry is bothering them.

These are common conditions you encounter when the new baby comes home, so you should start preparing your dog for this situation. To get the dog used to it before encountering a real situation, you can buy a recording of realistic baby noises and play it frequently.

  1. Hesitating and Avoiding

Do you often witness that your dog leaves the baby’s room at an odd time according to dog’s schedule, or they turn their back when they are supposed to belly up? It can be a type of avoidance behavior. Sometimes, the dogs act like introverts when they are depressed or anxious and want an escape from the situation. If your dog is showing this attitude, do not force him to stay in the situation because it can develop rebellious and unpredictable behavior. Letting them go and having their space for the children is the reason for their anxiety.

  1. Steady Gaze

Does your dog often look like it is watching a lawn tennis match while observing you and your child? If he constantly looks back and forth between you two, it means he is feeling anxious, depressed, or may be left out. It is a sign that your dog is being left out, requiring your attention like before. You can cuddle the dog to calm him down.

  1. Abnormal Peeing

When a dog is disturbed, the first thing that you might witness is it changes in bowel habits. Instead of peeing their place, their start peeing anywhere. According to vets, it is a classic symptom of canine anxiety. It can also happen with a new pregnant dog or due to the appearance of a new member that snatches their limelight.

  1. Abnormal Body Postures

Observing the postures of dogs is a common method of identifying anxiety and depression. Commonly, the anxiety can be read in canine body postures and the sound they make. According to domestic animal specialists, anxious dogs whine, stand with rigid posture and sometimes move their tails continuously. It happens due to nervousness or when they try to hide intentions or get attention. The abnormal and irregular postures and movements are a sign that the dog is not coping well.

How to Start Preparing your Dog for New Baby’s Arrival

Bringing a baby home is indeed exciting. It can also be disturbing and stressful when having a dog waiting at home. If you have not taken the necessary measures to prepare the dog for the new one’s arrival, it is going to be difficult for you. Even if it did not occur to you before, do not worry! Still, there are several things you can do to introduce your baby to a dog. Moreover, you can help them get used to the new environment.

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Here are simple methods that can be helpful for you:

  1. Bring Home Baby Blanket

If the baby is born, do not take him home if your dog is not prepared. Before bringing a new baby home to the hospital, bring home a blanket or a piece of clothing in which the baby had been wrapped. Allow your baby to smell, sniff and explore the blanket at its own pace. Hence, when you bring your new one home, your dog will be used to the different smells and baby’s scent.

  1. Set up Baby Equipment and Toys

For preparing the dog, you do not need to wait it for the baby to arrive. Instead, make a different setup. In the month when your baby is expected to arrive, gradually scatter the toys and baby equipment around the home. You can get:

  • Playpens
  • Toys
  • Baby gyms
  • Mobile that moves and produces unusual noises
  • High chairs
  • Prams

This act offers your dog plenty of time to be used to them. However, you need to ensure that the dog is always allowed to approach and sniff the items as they want to. Allow them to investigate according to their own pace and build an optimal connection with them.

  1. Play Baby Noises at Home

The sounds and shirking of a newborn can be a shock to dogs. It is best to introduce the dogs to them by playing artificial audio at home before the new baby’s arrival. You can begin by introducing this distinct sound related to babies at a very low volume when your dog is doing something fun, such as playing or having a meal. If they stay relaxed, you can increase the volume over time. If the dog gets anxious or worried, stop the recording, and next time go for the lower volume.

  1. Change your Dog’s Routine

Make a timetable and think about how the arrival of a new one can affect the routine of the pet dog. Figure out if you can keep giving the same amount of attention, or it will be divided significantly. Can you feed the dog regularly as you used to, or will you have to change the time? Ask yourself different questions and gather answers. The changes can be seen in:

  • Shorter walks
  • Different routes
  • Less attention
  • Often visitors
  • Restricted access around the home

  1. Attention at Different Times

Before the arrival of the baby, do these practices with your dog so that it can become a new normal for him automatically. Introducing baby gates in different parts of the home not only restricts the baby but also restricts dogs’ movement. So, place them beforehand so the dog can understand restricted movement before time.

  1. Hire a Dog Walker

The first week of the baby’s arrival is always hectic, no matter how much you are already prepared. You are expected not to pay attention to your dog, which can adversely affect him and may overexcite it as you come with the baby. However, make arrangements for your dog to get attention, walk and exercise. It will help you give some reprieve. Arranging a dog walker before your baby’s arrival is essential so they can get used to walking with strangers as well.

  1. Keep the Sleeping Place Sacred

Dogs usually have a particular sleeping place. If your dog has one, make sure the place stays out of the newborn’s reach and make it exclusive for them. Tell the other members not to disturb and make changes in their sleeping place.

  1. Train them with Baby Doll

A baby doll is the best prop to get your dog used to a baby. Introduce a baby doll to your environment, let your dog examine them, and be strict with the dog if they try to be aggressive and over-excited. 

Remedies to Cure Depression

Dogs are friendly animals as compare to other animals. They understand every major or trivial change in the behavior of the owner. The baby’s arrival can significantly reduce their attention time, which pushes them into depression. Here are convenient, simple, and easy methods to alleviate your dog’s depression.

  1. Playing Games

Attention is such an act that can alleviate any kind of stress, whether it is a dog or a human. Playing games is a simple solution that can dramatically boost dogs’ moods. You can take your dog on a walk and let them burn excess energy. Allow them to play with other dogs and sniff different kinds of smells to cheer them up.

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If your dog is feeling down due to the new arrival, take them on a walk, as it is their favorite hobby. Try to take your dog on a walk at least once a day. However, keep the walk slow, so the dog does not get used to long walks and gets anxious if you skip one or two days.

  1. Cuddling

As humans feel relaxed with head and body massage, cuddling and massaging our furry companions can also help alleviate their stress. Physical attention, like kissing and stroking, makes them feel relaxed and calmer.

This process also increases dopamine production. It is a happy hormone that helps improve an animal’s emotional state. However, it should be done when the dog is aggressive, as it can make them super aggressive. Instead, you can do it when the dog is eating and sitting calmly. Apart from walking, you can also play games like tug rope and throw a ball.

  1. Music

It may be surprising for many dogs owners and breeders, but it is true that dogs are greatly affected by both positive and negative behavior. Utilizing the music can be relaxing as well as comforting for both dogs. According to research from the University of Glasgow, music genres usually result in optimal behavior. However, still, all dogs have their own taste in music that you need to figure out.

If you identify the usual behavioral change in your dog due to newborn arrival, try playing soft rock in the background for them. It will help them sleep calmly and even relax when they are not getting the usual attention.

With regular music practice, the depressed and ignored dog can start eating regularly and become less aggressive because their mood might adjust according to the current environment. You just need to ensure that one song is not playing on repeat because it can counterattack and trigger low-level frustration in the dog again.

Helping a Toddler to Adjust to a Dog

As the year’s pass, the dogs get used to the new arrival because it is not new anymore. With the passage of time, your toddler’s natural curiosity will help them get acquainted with their pet dog. However, it does not ensure that their behavior is appropriate for the relationship.

It is essential to teach the toddler how to interact with a dog because it is as tricky as introducing your furry companion to a new friend.

  • Here are a few things that you can stress to an inquisitive youngster:
  • Only play with the dog if parents are present.
  • Petting the dog should be done gently and only at the time when the dogs want and approach for attention.
  • Do not disturb the dig if it is eating and sleeping. 

You must be prepared for both your dog and child to develop a healthy relationship. You can stop ignoring the dig and avoid any bouts of territorial aggression and make your dog’s depression a part of history.

Other Solutions and Considerations

Understanding dig is sometimes difficult. Above all, follow the dog’s trainer’s advice and pay significant attention to your dog, especially in the first few weeks when he is practically experiencing divided attention. Here is what you can do to avoid the dog feel left out in the baby’s room:

  • When to go on a stroll with your baby, take the dog with you too.
  • While playing with your baby, include the dog in physical activities too.
  • While feeding the baby, make sure that the bowl of your dog is also filled with delicious food.
  • When you play with your baby, throw the ball or Frisbee to the dog too.
  • Utilize the dog treats, praising, and petting to assist your dog get associated with the baby with optimal things.
  • Lastly, make sure you have one-on-one time with your dog so that he can realize that he is getting full attention.

However, if you still have some concerns about your dog’s behavior, you need to limit the access and consult professional dog trainers about it.


When you and your dog live in a house for a long time, the dog becomes habitual of not sharing your attention. Whether you have a new partner, pet, or a baby arrives in the house, your dog will feel jealous and feel low about it.

In order to ensure the happy and safe coexistence of both dog and newborn, it is important to take necessary measures before the new arrival. Carefully take all precautionary measures to avoid unpleasant scenarios. You are also suggested to take professional guidance.

Your dog might feel a bit lonley as an overwhelming number. You as a new mother, with your new routine and your random times, its important in the first few days to give your dog attention as well. Spend time with him in your daily routine and taking care of him in that difficult time.

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How long does it take a dog to adjust to a new baby?

When a baby arrives, the male or female dogs schedule drastically alter which takes a long period to get used to this new normal. However, five months are considered more than enough for your newborn and pet to work through most issues and develop good acquaintances. Through this time, you can give your dog equal attention to both parties, so the dog does not feel left out and positively take the new addition to the family.

Why does my dog go crazy when he sees a baby?

Dogs who show aggression towards the baby are not socialized. It can happen because dogs are constrained between four walls. They do not see many people other than you. Moreover, if they are not socialized with children and find them intruders and frightening, dogs can show signs of danger and alertness and might even attack. Some dogs are not afraid of children, and their presence does not bother them, but they become aggressive while guarding the food, toys, and bones they chew.

Can dogs get depressed with a new baby?

According to the ASPCA, major changes in the dog’s life can lead to a series of depression. These changes can include moving to a new home, a new partner, or the addition of a new baby who is getting all the attention that the dog was used to getting.

Due to the arrival of new ones, the dogs generally feel left out, ignored, and misfit, which makes them sad. You need to maintain the balance of attention between child and dog so he can take the new addition optimally instead of something that snatched its limelight.

How can I cheer up my dog?

Sometimes it becomes difficult to keep the dog happy and make both parties coexist under the same roof and same room. However, you can train the dog to share the attention. You can give them treats when the baby cries. It will associate the baby’s cry with positive signs for the dog. Do not super restrict your dog. Instead, let him sniff and go through the baby’s things so he can get used to them.

Do dogs know that babies are babies?

Dogs have senses to hear, see and smell babies but really do not know what babies are. Hence, it is surprising to see dogs treat babies differently than other adults. You can witness that the dog might not be interested in most adults but shows special attention to babies. It can happen due to their small size and distinct habit.

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