Dog & Baby
Safe Start Program
The Dog and Baby: Safe Start program teaches you how to prepare your dog for the arrival of a new baby. Discover the best way to safely introduce your dog and baby, and how to keep the peace (and your sanity!) afterwards. With a new baby in the household, there is a lot for a dog to adjust to. But there is a lot you can do to make this easier - for you and your dog.
Part 1: Preparation Workshop
A fun, honest, small group workshop that will take the pressure off you and your dog when you bring home a new baby. We’ll teach you everything you’ll need to know and make a personalised plan for your family.
Part 2: Group practical training
Take your dog through a targeted training program to prepare for the arrival of your baby. It’s a comprehensive, but short, tailored dog-training program, because I know you’re on a deadline.
The Dog and Baby: Safe Start program is perfect for:
Dog owners who are expecting the birth or adoption of a new baby
Dog owners who are becoming grandparents (or other family members) of a new baby
Dog owners who already have children but want to keep the peace when a new baby arrives
Preventing problems developing in dogs who are already well-behaved
Getting on top of any existing problems before the baby arrives
In small group sessions specifically designed for expectant parents and grandparents, I’ll teach you how to:
understand the reasons dogs misbehave and use simple strategies to solve problems
prepare your dog and home for the arrival of your baby
positively and safely introduce your baby to your dog
prevent the most common causes of dog bites to children
teach your dog to respond to instructions the first time you ask
walk your dog calmly on a loose lead, alongside the pram or stroller
make sure your dog feels loved and included when you’re tired and busy
live peacefully with a newborn and a dog and help them to build a great friendship
If you can’t make it to a workshop, or you’ve already brought your baby home, we can organise personalised training in your home.
Frequently Asked Questions
+ Who is this course for?
This is for anyone who plans to regularly supervise a new baby around a dog(s), including new parents and grandparents. My goal is to give you up-to-date and personally tailored dog-baby wrangling skills.
The Preparation Workshop (Part 1) is for humans only. It covers full information and a plan for each doggie-household that attends. Bookings allow for two primary carers to attend, but there may be the option to add an extra if space is available.
The Group Practical Training (Part 2) is for dogs and their humans. It is available if you have attended Part 1 and want to get your dog’s training up to scratch before the baby arrives. It is an alternative to a standard obedience course designed to give you quick results for the main dog-baby scenarios.
+ Which members of our family should do the course?
It is ideal if primary carers attend together so you can make a plan that suits everyone and be consistent with your dog. Bookings normally allow for two humans per doggie-household - we keep the group small to personalise the content. If there is space, you can add a carer (such as a grandparent who will be regularly caring for the baby and the dog) to the Preparation Workshop for an extra $50 - they will be fully included in discussion and get their own notes.
Grandparents/family/friends with their own dog: If friends/family plan for their own dog(s) to spend much time with the baby, they should enrol as a separate household so we can make a tailored plan for their dog.
Extended families/friends living together: If more than two people at home will regularly take responsibility for the dog and baby together, get in touch about whether we can arrange for you all to attend as a family. Consistency will be a great help. If you can’t all attend, you will have full notes and material to help educate other carers and babysitters.
+ How soon do I need to get my dog ready for the baby?
You can start as soon as you find out that you’re expecting a baby, or even while you’re planning. Ideally, get started by the 30th week of pregnancy, before you get busy with prenatal appointments.
That would give you time to complete the full program, help your dog adjust to baby noises, equipment and new routines, and polish up on any training.
+ What should I do if my baby is due very soon?
If the next course date is too late for you, or can’t fit in the four-week Group Practical Training course before your due date, get in touch. We’ll make a plan based on the time you have, or discuss a private consultation.
Also, if you’re worried about your dog’s behaviour (aggression, fear or separation anxiety), I can train your dog for you at your home. Most dogs learn faster with one-on-one at home training, and in your case, the timing is critical. Get in touch and we’ll make a plan together.
+ Will this course be helpful if I already have children?
The course is most important if your dog has not lived with a newborn before, because babies present different challenges from older children.
The course can be useful if your dog has aged significantly since your last child as older dogs can get less adaptable or accepting (such as puppy/teen to adult, or healthy adult to elderly dog).
Some parents like an up-to-date refresher about how to spot risks and get some strategies in place before the family gets busier. We have material to help you get grandparents and babysitters to do the right thing too.
+ Will I find the course useful if my dog is already well trained?
You should find the Preparation Workshop really useful regardless of your dog’s behaviour, but you might not need the Group Practical Training.
One goal of the Preparation Workshop (Part 1) is to prevent problems developing in normal family dogs. We cover reasons dogs start misbehaving and how to make things easier for you and your dog.
Unfortunately, even though parents supervise we often miss problems brewing: two-thirds of dog bites to children in Victoria happen in their own home, or when visiting friends or relatives, and children under 5 are at a higher risk. This means we can prevent most dog bites if we know how, and the Preparation Workshop will help with that, even if you don’t need the practical training.
The Group Practical Training (Part 2) focuses on the main dog-baby scenarios as an alternative to a standard obedience course. You might not need this if your dog is already calm at home and on walks.
+ Can I do the course if my dog doesn’t always behave very well?
The booking process includes a history profile which I check before we finalise your booking. Fill in the problem behaviour and I will help you work out the best plan.
Here are some guidelines to give you an idea:
The Preparation Workshop is fine for anyone because you don’t bring dogs but you will come out with your own plan for any problem behaviour.
The Group Practical Training won’t be suitable if your dog reacts badly to other dogs, but is good for basic training problems like jumping up, barking or pulling on the lead. Groups are well spaced and run carefully to keep the dogs calm.
If group training won’t work for your dog, we can arrange private sessions to cover baby-related training as well as behaviour around other dogs.
If you're worried about serious issues like aggression, fear, noise sensitivity, or separation anxiety you may need a private Behaviour Consultation. We can work the dog-baby preparation into the consult, or you can add the Preparation Workshop for extra focus on that part.