If your Dog stepped on your baby, you are not alone. Most dog parents face this challenge when they bring a newborn home.
In this article, we will look into why dogs step on the baby, the possible dangers, and how to stop the Dog from stepping on the baby.
Why Do Dogs Step on Babies?
Here are the primary reasons why dogs step on babies:
The Dog Is Used To Jumping On People Or Furniture
Dogs jump out of excitement, fear, or in search of attention. While it seems harmless, it becomes problematic when it decides to jump and step on the baby.
Moreover, if your Dog is used to jumping on your bed or couch, they will not stop the behaviour because your newborn is napping there.
The Dog Might Be Jealous
Dogs are loyal friends. However, they become jealous, especially when someone or something else takes up your time.
You might expect your Dog to love your baby effortlessly because they are an addition to the family. However, the Dog sees the baby as a competitor for affection and attention, which makes them uncomfortable. As a result, the Dog might jump and step on the baby to push them away from you.
The Dog is jealous of your baby if they are growling, snapping, or snarling. If they act this way towards the baby, do not physically punish the baby. Instead, learn the cues and allocate more time to them.
If the behaviour worsens, seek help from a Vet or dog trainer who deals with dog aggression.
Moreover, make house rearrangements and introduce baby items months before the baby comes home. This allows the Dog to familiarize themselves with the changes.
The Dog Might Be Nervous Around The Baby
Your Dog might become nervous around the baby if they have never interacted with a baby as a puppy. As a result, they might make mistakes like stepping on the baby as they familiarise themselves or trying to play with them.
Your Dog might be nervous around the baby because:
- They have never seen a baby
- Has never smelled a baby
- They are scared of the baby crying
- The baby is holding the Dog’s valuable item, like a toy
Dangers of the Dog Stepping On the Baby
It is fun and games for an excited dog to jump and step on you until the 100-pound dog steps on your 3-month-old. Here are the reasons why a dog should not step on a baby:
- The paws can scratch and bruise the baby. Scratching injuries could cause the risk of rabies if the Dog is not vaccinated.
- The Dog’s weight can knock down the baby, causing severe physical and internal injuries. Signs of internal injuries on the baby include loss of consciousness, bleeding from the ears or nose, slow breathing, seizures, different-sized pupils, and a severe external wound, among others.
- The Dog could interrupt the baby’s sleep if they step on them during naps or at night.
- The baby could be scared and get a dog phobia from a young age.
How to Stop Your Dog from Stepping On the Baby
Solving a behaviour like a dog stepping on the baby requires you to manage the situation and train your Dog.
How to Manage The Situation
Management requires you to devise strategies and plans to stop the Dog from jumping and stepping on the baby. Here are some management techniques:
- Lock up your Dog in their crate
- Put them in another room away from the baby
- Control your Dog with a leash and reinforce good behaviour with rewards. For instance, say “good girl or good boy” if the Dog sits around the baby without stepping or jumping on them.
- Tether the Dog. A tether is a dog leash tied to a heavy object like furniture. This allows the Dog to stay in your space without bothering the baby.
- Keep a careful watch when the Dog is around the baby. Supervision is easier said than done, so you might have to put the Dog in another room or crate them.
- Discourage bad behaviour by using time out. For instance, if the dog steps on the baby, say “time out” and walk out of the room together with the baby for at most 30 seconds. Lock the door or use a baby gate so the Dog does not follow you. Please return to the room after 30 seconds and give your Dog a toy to redirect their attention.
Training your Dog involves teaching them to learn proper behaviour. In this case, you want to teach your Dog not to jump and step on the baby.
You can only achieve this if your Dog unlearns jumping on other people. The training aims to teach them they will not get attention or affection by jumping on people.
Training requires consistency. This means that everyone in your household must follow the training techniques.
Here are some training techniques to stop your Dog from jumping:
Give the Sit Command
Ask your Dog to sit whenever they try to jump and step on you. This technique applies to dogs that already know the “sit” command. Everyone else interacting with the Dog must adhere to this for consistency. Reward them if they greet you while seated or on all fours.
Ignore your Dog when they Jump on You
When your Dog jumps on you, please turn to the side, push them, avoid eye contact, do not pet them, or step away. Ignoring will require many trials for the Dog to understand, but you must be consistent for results.
After many trials, the Dog will get your lesson and approach you on all fours. Ensure to reward for good behaviour.
Squat to Greet Him
While on his fours, squat and pet him from his level. The technique helps them to learn that they do not have to jump for petting or a greeting. Repeat until they do not meet you with a jump.
Your Dog will step on the baby because they are jealous, anxious, playing, or used to jumping on people. To prevent the Dog from stepping and hurting the baby take precautions like locking him up or training them not to jump and step on people.