Almost half of the households in the United States have a dog. Adding a new baby into the family can change the dynamics and the routines in your home. Sometimes it can be traumatic for your first furry love, but it doesn’t have to be like that. You always can find ways for your dog to be an active member of your child’s development.
Today we will talk about nine activities that your dog will enjoy with your baby.
At only four months of gestation, babies have already developed a sense of hearing and the ability to listen to voices and music while still in the womb. At two months of age, babies develop the ability to capture rhythm. Dogs enjoy a good beat just as much, and the right type of music can serve as a tranquilizer for the entire family. In fact, music reduces stress levels and stimulates your child’s linguistic development.
Choose a cozy room in your house to unwind (perhaps your baby’s bedroom) and turn on some relaxing music. The key is to find some music that will keep your baby calm enough to stay still and allow your dog to experience the moment. With the mood set, this quiet activity will gently set naptime into motion.
Another early developmental milestone is a sense of touch. Almost immediately, babies develop a tactile awareness of the world around them that allows them to discover texture and form, hardness and flexibility, and feel temperature changes. This capacity to discover the world with their hands is one of the best ways for your baby and dog to connect. While you’re all snuggling together, let your baby pet the dog. Teach baby how to gently touch, and how to love and respect animals. These early gentle touches will turn into a relaxing massage that your dog will look forward to as your child grows up.
3. BATH TIME
Bath time serves a dual purpose. On the one hand, baths are functional. We need them to cleanse our bodies. On the other hand, it’s a beautiful reminder of your baby’s life while they were still in your belly, and at three months of age, your baby will start to explore the water beyond just feeling happy and safe. Your baby will realize that if they splash hard enough with their legs, the water will come out of the tub. Your dog can get in on the action by catching the drops of water as they go flying out of the bath tub. Your baby will laugh, and it will strengthen the bond between your dog and your baby.
4.HIDE AND SEEK
Also at three months of age, babies will become more interested in the world around them. You may notice that your baby looks at faces very carefully. They may also recognize familiar objects or people. You can stimulate their vision by showing them different colors and new objects around the house in a “hide and seek” type of way. While this can certainly be done with or without a dog, this simple game is even more fun when your dog can participate by showing the world to your new baby.
Start looking for places in the house that will get your baby’s attention such as mom’s closet, the bathroom, kitchen, and places with bright colors, objects, or pictures around. Once you’ve found a safe place to hide, make a sound or signal for your dog to look for you and baby. Playing hide and seek can help with the development of your baby, and keep your dog busy and happy. This fun game will also give your dog some much needed brain exercise.
Between four and six months of age, your baby will be able to sit upright on their bottom. As your baby’s muscles mature and they start to learn some coordination skills, you may find that they enjoy playing a little game of fetch. Babies and dogs alike are fascinated by balls. Look for an open and wide place in your home, then sit on the floor and throw the ball and let your dog find it and bring it back. Taken a step further, you can use balls with different colors and textures to help your baby exercise their motor skills and encourage them to start crawling after the ball.
Other reasons why playing FETCH can help in the development of your baby:
- Improves balance and coordination.
- It makes them strong, trying to catch or follow the ball helps every muscle in their body.
- They learn about distance and speed.
- He or she will feel more attached to you and your dog.
Between six and nine months of age, your baby should be able to sit unassisted on the floor. While you can certainly put any toy or activity in front of them to occupy their time, one incredibly cheap and stimulating activity for both baby and dog is bubbles.
Put some music on and start to blow bubbles towards your baby and dog, then let the baby reach out to grab it or let your dog try to catch them (often with their mouth). Not only will your little ones be delighted by this simple game of catch, but you are also stimulating your baby’s visual development and perception of space.
7. TOUCH AND GO
Between seven and ten months of age, babies are often learning to crawl. Take advantage of this developmental milestone by crawling alongside your baby while chasing your dog in different directions. Meanwhile, encourage your baby to chase after you too. Not only will your baby and dog love this fun activity, but they’ll likely settle down for a nice break soon after playing because it tends to exert a lot of energy.
Once your baby has started crawling and pulling up, you can stimulate your baby’s motor skills by creating mini obstacle courses. Start by placing pillows on the floor, making tunnels with chairs, and using rolled blankets as hurdles for your baby to navigate. Then, have your dog work their way through the obstacle course while your baby watches. Chances are that your baby won’t want to sit still and will quickly follow your dog’s lead. If they need additional encouragement, you can always use one of their toys as a “carrot” to get them to move through each step.
Obstacles will help your dog to be alert and busy. A busy dog is a happy dog. Meanwhile, this game will improve your baby’s ability to observe, stimulate imagination, and allow them to express some autonomy.
Finally, a more obvious activity to do with your dog and baby is to go for a walk. Nearly all dogs enjoy going for a walk on a beautiful and sunny day, and your baby will enjoy it just as much (especially if you walk through quieter areas of your neighborhood or the park). Walking is an excellent way to exercise, increase your energy level, and strengthen the heart. Meanwhile, your baby will have a chance to breathe some fresh air, relax, sleep, and observe new things.
Dogs have always been men, women, and children’s best friend. Their presence alone promotes a positive and healthier lifestyle, therefore, including them in your child’s development is the best way to keep your best friend happy.