Dogs and babies seem very similar to adults, but do adults and babies seem similar to dogs? It is hard to know how dogs feel about babies and just what they know about them. Do dogs understand that babies are more fragile than adults? It is very clear that dogs know the difference between adult dogs and puppies, so it doesn’t seem too farfetched to believe that they might understand the difference between human adults and babies.
If dogs can tell the difference between adults and babies, do they change their behavior when they interact with people of various ages?
Signs Dogs are Interested in Babies
Dogs have an exceptional sense of hearing and smell, which makes us positive that dogs can hear and smell babies quite well. They don’t have a great sense of sight, however, so do they see babies and understand what they are?
Unfortunately, dogs can find babies to be a bit overwhelming, because they can be noisy and smelly. You may notice that your dog is curious about babies, but you need to be sure to monitor any interactions as dogs may also be frustrated by the foreign humans.
You may have noticed that your dog often stops to stare into a stroller when you are out for your evening walk. Your pooch might start sniffing in the direction of the baby, or you may notice that their ears perk up when they hear a baby coo or cry. While dogs might not understand just what a baby is, they do find them to be interesting.
You should always be careful when bringing your dog around babies. If your pooch is unfamiliar with babies, the risk is even higher, so be diligent. You should keep a close eye on your pup to make sure that nothing bad happens. This will allow you to watch for signs of agitation or aggression near babies.
- Wag tail
- Raise ears
- Ears up
- Staying close to the baby
- Excited behavior
History of Dogs and Babies
Dogs have lived in family households for hundreds of years, and that means that dogs have likely been bred to be around people and children, including babies. While not all dogs are good with children or gentle, most of them are and will have no problems being around babies.
In fact, dogs have lived around babies for so long that most people have probably never thought twice about having their dog around babies. If you have ever had both a dog and a baby in your house, you have probably noticed how your dog treats the baby. In many cases, you can probably tell very easily that your dog knows the difference between an adult and a baby.
Dog owners often remark on the way their dogs treat babies. Dogs tend to be gentler around babies than they are around adults. Also, dogs may be much more protective of babies than they are of adults. It is hard to know just why dogs act like this around babies, but they are often found guarding their owners’ babies. Dogs are also much more patient with children and babies than they are with adults. We haven’t figured out how dogs know the difference between adults and babies, but it is clear that they do.
Science Behind Dogs Being Good With Babies
Some people believe that the extent of dogs knowing the difference between adults and humans lies in their sizes. This could be true, but it seems a little too simple. Other people believe that the scent that babies are known for has a lot to do with how dogs know the difference between adults and babies. This scent could be the clue to dogs that there is something different about babies, but we can’t really say that for sure.
No matter what the reason is, many dog owners are convinced that their pooch can tell the difference between an adult and a baby due to the way the dog treats each.
Training Dogs to Live with Babies
If you own a dog and often have babies in your home or you have a new baby, it is important that you take the time to introduce your dog to said baby. This will help minimize the risk of injury to the baby, because you are taking the proper measures to ensure that your dog is comfortable around the baby.
If you are pregnant, you should make sure that your dog at least knows basic commands. If they don’t, enroll them in a basic obedience class. For dogs that tend to have attention problems, you may need to take your training even further—especially if your dog has ever shown any signs of aggression.
To introduce your pooch to a baby, you need to give the dog time to become familiar with the smells and sounds associated with babies without allowing them to become over-stimulated. You can allow your dog numerous brief interactions with your baby without letting them touch the baby. You will allow your dog to see the baby, but if you notice that your dog is getting too excited, you need to remove them from the room. When your dog is finally calm around the baby, you should reward them with a treat. Any pulling at the leash, whining, or other bad behaviors will call for the removal of the dog from the baby.
You should always tell your dog to sit when you bring your baby into a room that the dog is in. Over time, the dog learns that it isn’t the center of attention, but this requires treats when the dog displays behavior that you want it to continue. While you are holding the baby, you can let your dog approach, but don’t let it jump, climb, or sit on you or the baby.
Safety Tips for Dogs Being Around Babies:
Never leave dogs alone with babies.
Slowly introduce your dog to babies and small children.
Always monitor interactions between babies and dogs.