Ante natal classes for pet pooches


PET pooches are getting antenatal classes devised by an animal behaviour expert.

Expectant mums and their partners are being taught techniques such as playing CDs of baby noises in a bid to stop dogs getting jealous.

Couples are also encouraged to prepare their pet for the big day by taking them for walkies alongside an empty pram.

Pippa Hutchison, a clinical animal bahaviourist, says getting a dog accustomed to the sights, sounds and smells of a human infant can reduce the risk of a tragedy.


Mrs Hutchison, from Kilcreggan, Argyll and Bute, gives talks to expectant parents with pets on behalf of the National Childbirth Trust (NCT).

“It’s well known that dog bites most occur to family members,” she said.

“But most aggression is when a dog is confused and anxious. Whilst we know we’re pregnant, to dogs it can be a surprise.

“If it gets cornered by a child and they can’t go anywhere they may snap or bite.”

She added: “It’s a sensible precaution to play babies crying.

“Four months ahead of your due date you should be introducing the dog to the new things.”

“You can go online and order sound CDs for a few quid or make your own on your phone or computer.

“Introduce the dog to changing mats and milk powder.

“Walking with the dog alongside a stroller is a good idea too, everything is to make it easier for the dog to understand the transition.”

Paul Daly, a dog behaviourist, said the idea was “excellent” but warned you can never trust your dog 100% around children.

He said: “In theory the desensitization to the noises a baby would make is an excellent idea.

“Its a good place to start.”

Mrs Hutchison qualified from the School of Psychology at the University of Southampton with a Master of Science (MSc) degree in Companion Animal Behaviour Counselling.

She is also a behaviour consultant at both the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and the University of Glasgow.

In February this year, a six-day-old baby, Eliza-Mae Mullane, was mauled to death by the family pet dog in Pontyberem, Camarthenshire.

Her mother, Sharon John had brought her daughter home just three days before the husky attacked.