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Uncle Matty Q+A
Question: My wife and I are expecting our first child and as you might guess, this is a busy time for us. One detail I have overlooked is our dogs. We have a 2-year-old terrier and a 3-year-old lab.

I have trained the dogs myself, but they have never been around small children. They are well-behaved dogs, but on occasion the terrier growls at strangers. How are they going to get along with the new baby? Is there a way to be certain that the dogs will not become aggressive around our new baby?

Answer: I am afraid there is no way to know for sure how your dogs will behave around the new baby until the baby arrives. Since this is a new situation, there will be an element of risk and you will have to deal with it as such.

For the first few months you should not have much of a problem since the baby will be mostly in a crib. Although, I would be careful never to leave the dogs alone in the same room as the baby. As the child becomes a toddler and has its first face-to-face encounter with the dogs is a time for possible trouble. Any dog, no matter the size, can hurt the child if the dog becomes aggressive.

I would be extremely careful when your child is around the dogs --. something can always happen and you have to be sensitive to the situation. As I mentioned, do not leave the child alone with the animals and minimize the amount of contact they have until your baby is big enough to look out for itself.


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