Any new addition to the family can be cause for both excitement and anxiety. This is true not only for the human members of the household but for the four-legged ones as well. You may notice new behavior from your fur baby when a human baby is introduced to the 'pack.' One such change is whining anytime the baby cries. What is it that causes your pup to ‘cry’ right along with your new baby? Many animal behavior professionals have wondered the same thing and a few have offered their expert opinions on the matter. You may find what they have to say quite interesting.
The Root of the Behavior
Many of the endearing and peculiar behaviors we see from our furry babies are instinctual. However, many of them can be a learned behavior as well. If a new member of the family is added, your pup will naturally be curious. And with dogs having such a keen sense of hearing, even the slightest sounds will pique their interest. When your human baby starts to cry, your furbaby may react by 'crying' as well. One such way dogs cry is by whining. And this can simply be a reaction to the sound they are hearing coming from the new pack member. Since the new member of the family is making this noise your pup could simply want to join in, such as they do in the wild when howling with the pack.
Also, your pup's whining, or even barking, when the baby cries could be a sign of anxiety. The loud crying could be uncomfortable for your dog and he simply wants to get away. Besides just the sound being an issue, your pup may be picking up on the discomfort that is causing the baby to cry. If this is the case then Fido could start whining and retreating to escape the stressful environment. Even us humans can be less than comfortable around crying babies. As you are probably aware some dogs are quite protective and paternal. In this case, if your dog whines when your baby is crying, Fido may be trying to get your attention. The whining could be his way of saying, "Hey, this little pack member needs something." Or it could be that your pup is trying to get your attention so that you can make the crying stop. Either way, your dog's whining can be a 'cry for help' either for himself or for the human baby.
Encouraging the Behavior
If you are concerned about your dog's reaction to the new member of the family there are ways to help alleviate the stress and anxiety. One option that experts suggest is that you make sure your pup has their own space. Especially if your dog is of a more nervous nature already, having a quiet space that is all their own is very important. Making sure that Fido is adjusting well can help you avoid larger issues later on as well. Perhaps your concerns may be more preemptive. If your new bundle of joy has not arrived yet, there is always the worry about the furry members of the household adjusting. One option is to find realistic recordings of baby sounds, such as crying. You can play these sounds to determine how your pup will react. This will also aid in getting them used to the new sounds that will be filling the home when baby arrives. With the added care of a new baby it may be best to enlist the help of a dog trainer to aid in the adjustment for both you and your pup. Sometimes we are more focused on what helps us more than what helps our fur babies and can create a bigger problem. Trainers can help you avoid such mistakes and learn to better understand your dog's mannerisms.
Other Solutions and Considerations
Just like we humans, dogs whine and cry for emotional reasons. It could be that they are excited, anxious, frustrated, or even fearful. One thing to remember when your new baby does start to cry is that you need to stay calm. If you avoid getting anxious or stressed, it will help Fido feel more at ease with the sounds and situations as well. Additionally, it is important not to exclude Fido from interacting with your baby. If it is a nice day out and you grab the stroller, don't forget to grab the leash as well. This bonding time is crucial and lets your pup know that this new member of the pack is not taking their place.
We may find an occasional whine from our furry friends endearing and adorable but just remember that it can be their way of trying to communicate with you. No two dogs are exactly alike and it may take a little patience on your part to learn your pup's language. And I am sure we all can agree that Fido is more than worth a little effort.