Loyal. Caring. Playful. These are just three of the characteristics that make a dog man’s best friend. But did you know you can add kid-friendly to that list, too?
As a matter of fact, put the two together and man’s best friend often becomes baby’s best friend. Because as a plethora of super-sweet YouTube videos demonstrate, our canine companions and our own flesh and blood seem to have an adorable, playful bond that can’t be broken.
That bond creates a cuteness overload that’s certainly hard to resist. Introducing your baby to your favorite furball creates some precious – and often hilarious – incidents as the two start to get to know each other. This mutual learning experience can produce a lot of laughs and a whole load of “aw” moments.
Of course, it’s pretty natural for a dog to be inquisitive about the new addition to the family – and vice versa. Number one on the dog-baby interaction list is smooching. It seems our friendly furballs love to shower newborns in licks and kisses. It appears the dogs are showing their loving, nurturing side, often loving the baby almost as if it was their very own pup.
For the surprised baby on the receiving end, meanwhile, a big, slobbering wet kiss from pooch tends to elicit an eye-widening grin. Of course, babies and toddlers are still discovering their senses and the world around them, so a sloppy French kiss from a hound must feel pretty curious – and ticklish – to a little one.
Your baby is probably used to getting a loving peck on the head from mom or dad, but a full-on face wash from a tongue? That’s bound to set him or her off into an infectious giggling fit!
Snuggling up is also pretty high on the agenda for these cutesome twosomes. Indeed, why bother with a comforter when you can have your very own furball to hold onto while you catch 40 winks? Both babies and dogs love getting plenty of shut-eye, so it makes perfect sense that they’d want to do it together.
Actually, when you think about it, canines and little ones have much more in common than you might first realize. Aside from their mutual love of snoozing, both adore eating, both demand love and attention – and both love causing chaos at every opportunity! In addition, perhaps the fact that neither baby or dog can speak has something to do with their apparent high compatibility.
Dogs often have a reputation for being ditzy and dumb, but actually, they’re pretty smart. In fact, one 2009 study showed that canines were more clever than a human two-year-old. Okay, now here comes the science bit…
Researchers from Vancouver’s University of British Columbia actually discovered that woofers have the capability of comprehending around 250 gestures and human words. Speaking to The Telegraph newspaper in 2009, Professor Stanley Coren said, “The average dog is about as bright linguistically as a human two-year-old.”
It seems that toddlers and dogs might in fact be pretty much well-matched when it comes to smartness. So maybe that’s why they seem to connect so well. In addition to that, dogs actually seem to be very much in tune with babies before their human friends are even born.
According to the website of renowned dog expert Cesar Millan, canines can sense when a mom-to-be is expecting. Bodily changes and alterations in the pregnant woman’s scent give the animal clues that something major is about to happen.
Likewise, even the parents-to-be’s excitement can give away clues, according to Millan’s website. Smart pooches pick up on that and realize that an exciting new addition is soon to arrive in the home. And when that time finally arrives… cue the cuteness!
But just why do doggies like to get so up-close and personal with babies? A big part of this has to do with family. Historically, dogs roamed in packs, so they instinctively believe that they belong to a group or a family unit.
In fact, this sense of family seems to be pretty clear-cut for canines. When a baby is introduced to the “family,” a dog instantly recognizes it as part of the group. Consequently, after watching the nurturing ways of the parents, the animal naturally replicates the love. And many will attempt to protect their human baby by any means necessary. In fact, some people believe that a caring canine will go as far as treating the baby as one of its very own pups.
Switching into parent mode, many dogs will lick the face of their human baby or sniff at their mouth or backside. It’s really just checking to see if everything is all okay with bub. Indeed, as these are the actions they’d carry out with their own pups, most people see this behavior as pretty harmless.
However, care should of course always be taken when letting a dog near a baby or toddler. Indeed, for some people, the idea of a dog licking or kissing a little human sends shivers down their spine. There’s always the fear that the animal could accidentally or even purposely bite or maim the baby.
So before baby and furball start causing hearts to melt, it’s important that the pair are introduced correctly. When a newborn is first brought home, the dog will be overwhelmed with new smells, sounds and sights. Some will be exciting, but some may cause the pooch anxiety. The dog’s daily routine will also be affected. Because of all this, new parents are advised to get their canines baby-ready.
There are various ways this can be done. According to Cesar Millan’s website, any serious behavioral issues with the dog need to be rectified immediately. Boundaries, limitations and rules also need to be controlled. For example, if you’re not keen on the woofer entering the baby’s nursery, you need to teach your dog this before the baby arrives home.
Moreover, the pair’s first meeting is crucially important. Before meeting bub, it’s essential to take the dog out for a lengthy walk in order to curtail its energy and excitement. When brought inside, the dog will be able to smell the newborn. Parents should hold the baby calmly and let pet have a little sniff… but not too close. Step-by-step, the pair can be brought closer. This helps to identify the baby as a pack leader who should be respected!
Likewise, it’s important to teach baby a thing or two. We all know little ones are super curious, so it’s important to show the child how to stroke the dog gently and not pull at its tail or poke it. Get these things right and your cutesome twosome will surely be best buddies for life while also providing you with hours of entertainment and cuteness. Just make sure you’ve got your camera at the ready to capture those moments!