Bringing home a new baby? Make sure your pet is ready

by Abigail Witthauer, guest columnist

Congratulations, you’re expecting a baby! You’ve selected your delivery doctor. You’ve attended birthing classes. You’ve baby-proofed your home. You’ve set up the crib, washed all the clothes and bedding, and decorated the nursery. But what about your furry best friend? Have you ensured he is ready for baby? Did you know that vets and certified dog trainers strongly recommend that you and your dog begin preparing for your new family member in your first trimester?

It’s true!

There are a lot of things you can do with your dog to prepare for your new bundle of joy and it can significantly improve both your new child’s safety and your dog’s comfort and happiness. Many expecting parents are even registering for these dog/baby preparedness courses on their baby shower gift registries!

Photo courtesy of Family Paws®

The world’s leading specialists in dog and baby safety is Family Paws Parent Education ( Their motto is “creating dog aware generations,” and they do this through Licensed Family Paws Parent Educators. These licensed educators are dog behavior experts specializing in dog and baby interactions and preparedness – and they have the credentials to prove it!

April Shoe is a Licensed Family Paws Parent Educator right here in Birmingham, and you can find her at Roverchase in Pelham. In a Family Paws appointment with her, she will come to your house, help you set up your home for dog/child preparedness, and help you develop a detailed plan for creating a successful relationship between your dog and child. She goes over everything from the very moment you walk in the door with the baby carrier all the way through toddlerhood. So, whether you are an expecting parent, grandparent, godparent, aunt, or uncle – you should seriously consider giving the gift of safety by scheduling an appointment with a Licensed Family Paws Educator, which you can do online at

Abigail Witthauer owns Roverchase in Pelham, Alabama, a luxury dog training, daycare, and boarding facility. She is one of the most certified canine behavior professionals in the Southeast and has been training animals professionally for 17 years. Abigail lives in Pelham with her spouse, Service Dog Macallan, pet dogs, hairless cat, ferret, and pet pig. Follow her on social media at @Mac.and.Abi.


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