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Family 411: Introducing dogs to new babies

Tips on introducing dogs to babies (WSYX)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKRC) - Dogs are known to be loyal and loving to their owners but a new addition to the family may be confusing, especially when they may no longer be the center of attention.

"We got Gino when he was about 10 weeks old." Gino, a chocolate lab, is big in size and personality. He's Jenny Prendeville and her husband's first addition.

Their world revolved around Gino. "He was our love of our life."

In 2014, their family started to grow when Jenny became pregnant with James. "Gino was just so big he would pull me when I was walking him."

A trainer guided the couple a they closed in on having their first child.

The idea was to prepare Gino for a significant change in the family dynamic. "We were definitely worried that we wouldn't have enough time or attention."

Trainer Lori Morrell says it's a big concern for many couples about to start a family. "A lot of times, this is their baby they've had the dog in the house forever and they've worried about bringing in this little thing that cries and makes noises."

Morrell recommends the transition period begin a month or tow before delivery. "You can go out and get like a baby doll that makes noises that cries that you carry around."

You can also get your dog used to the baby's scent. "We did bring some baby blankets home. We brought the little hats they gave us in the hospital."

Morrell says families should be consistent with their dog training, which can be tough once the focus shifts. "Don't give your dog a command if you're not going to make them do it."

The focus, for the Prendevilles, take a new turn with twins. "We kind of joked that Gino was moving down the totem pole."

Morrell says dogs need to feel like they're a part of the family to avoid becoming jealous. "Hey dog, let's go to the nursery. Let's change the diaper."

Jenny says Gino is a gentle giant. "I worry more about the two-year-old bouncing them out of their chairs than I do about Gino bothering any of the kids."

Morrell says never leave a dog and baby alone unsupervised.

Also, don't hide the baby from the dog or it may jump up out of curiosity.

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