Can Dogs Tell Babies are Babies?

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Introduction

Dogs are known for being pretty intuitive, and they seem to understand that there is a difference between adult humans and children, but do they understand what babies are?

It can be said that dogs often act differently around babies, and they seem to treat them with extra care to make sure that they don’t get hurt. Dogs tend to be more protective of babies and small children as well, but that doesn’t mean that dogs really understand what babies are or what we call them. Dogs can tell a difference, but they probably don’t know just what a baby is.

Signs Dogs are Interested in Babies

You may have noticed that your dog tends to act a bit differently around babies. In fact, you may notice that your dog takes a special interest in babies, but do you know why? Experts don’t seem to know either. Dogs can hear, smell, and see babies, but they don’t really know what a baby is, so it is shocking when dogs treat babies differently than adults.

While your dog may not care much about adults, you might notice that your dog seems especially interested in babies. There is no evidence on why this is, but experts believe that it could be because they smell a difference between adults and babies. 

Regardless of the reason, dogs often wag their tail at the sight of a baby or a stroller. You might have also noticed that your dog’s ears perk up when a baby cries or coos. Additionally, if you keep the baby away from your dog, it may start to whine or bark at you.

Whatever causes dogs to take interest in babies, it is your job as a dog owner to keep all babies and young children safe around your dog. This means that you need to train your dog how to behave near young people and monitor all interactions closely.

Body Language

Since dogs don't speak English, they communicate with body language. You can tell your dog is interested in babies if you see the following cues:
  • Alert
  • Barking
  • Whining
  • Wag tail
  • Raise ears
  • Whimpering
  • Ears up

Other Signs

Other signs that dogs are interested in babies include:
  • Excited behavior
  • Staying close to the baby
  • Excessive sniffing

History of Dogs and Babies

For thousands of years, humans have had dogs in their homes. During these times, humans also have brought babies into their homes. Most dogs are very gentle and good with children—even babies. Not all dogs can be trusted near children, however, and that’s why you should always take precautions when bringing your dog near babies.

Most dog owners have been able to successfully bring babies into their homes without causing any problems for their dogs, but babies can be loud and stinky, which can overload your dog’s senses. You should be very careful to monitor your dog any time it is near a baby.

Pet owners have also said that their dogs tend to have more patience with babies and that dogs are usually gentler with babies than they are with adults. Some owners have even reported that their dog has become highly protective of their babies. You may even notice that some dogs tend to treat human babies like their own puppies.

While humans haven’t quite figured out how dogs know that babies are more fragile than adults, it is good for most dog owners that dogs seem to know these things naturally.

Science Behind Dogs Being Good with Babies

While many people believe that dogs can tell the difference between adults and babies, we still don’t really know how they do it. It could be due to the size difference between babies and adults, or it could be that babies have a different smell than adults. We can’t really be sure of the reason, but it is pretty clear that dogs know that there is a difference.

Since dogs don’t speak English, it is really impossible for them to know that babies are babies, but they do seem to know that babies are more delicate than adults, which is pretty incredible in and of itself.

Training Your Dog to Be Around Babies

When it comes to allowing your dog near babies, it is important that you exercise extreme caution, even if your pooch has been around babies in the past. You never know how a dog will react to a small child, and it is important that you monitor your dog carefully during any interaction it has with babies. As the dog owner, it is your job to make sure that your dog doesn’t injure a baby.

You should teach your dog to be around babies by making a slow introduction. You should never leave your dog unattended with an unfamiliar person, but that becomes even more important when that person is a baby. 

You should first make sure that your dog has at least successfully completed a basic obedience course and can follow basic commands. Once those are mastered, you can allow your dog to get familiar with the smells and sounds of a baby, but you don’t want to let them get close enough to touch the baby until they prove themselves.

If you notice that your dog is really excited when in the room with the baby, you should remove them from the room until they calm down. When they are calm around the baby, reward them with a treat to teach them how you want them to behave around babies. If there is any pulling, barking or whining, or other bad behavior, you need to remove your dog from the room.

When you bring your baby into a room where there is a dog, be sure that you don’t let the dog climb, jump, or sit on you. You should command the dog to sit and reward it when it complies to show it that it can’t be the center of attention.

Safety Tips for Having Dogs Near Babies:

  • Train your dog how to act around babies.
  • Never leave your dog alone with a baby.
  • Monitor interactions and remove the dog if necessary.