Once upon a time, you were your dog's favorite person in the whole world. Every time you walked through the door you got a hero's welcome, even if you'd only been gone for an hour. You could never sit down for more than two seconds without your dog climbing into your lap or dropping a ball at your feet. But then you brought your baby home, and all of that changed in a major way. So what are some signs the baby is your dog's favorite now?
At first, your doggo might have been a little bit hesitant about the new family member. (And who could blame him? Babies are shrill, funny-smelling little creatures who take up pretty much all of the time you used to spend giving your dog belly rubs and throwing a frisbee around.) But then, like a viral video IRL, your dog slowly started becoming completely and totally infatuated with your little one. Is it cute? Oh yeah. Crazy cute. Sure, you kind of miss the days when your canine companion's world revolved around you and you alone. Still, you'd much rather have your dog be a fan of your baby than the opposite... and honestly, this budding friendship is probably one of the sweetest things you've ever witnessed firsthand. It makes perfect sense, at the end of the day, because dogs and babies are more or less the same: They're both loud and messy and unpredictable and completely and totally adorable. Here's how you can tell if your dog is head-over-heels for your baby already.
1. Your Dog Is Super Protective Of The Baby
As dog trainer and behaviorist Alexandra Bassett told the American Kennel Club, “All dogs have a mating drive and den instincts; it’s part of what’s called their ‘pack drive.'” And part of that pack drive includes acting in a protective manner towards the baby: After all, your dog considers himself to be part of the family, so once he figures out that the new infant is part of his "pack" too, he'll protect her with his life.
2. Your Dog Sniffs & Licks Your Baby
When you see your dog sniffing at your baby's diaper or licking crumbs off her face, she's not just being nosy, as an article on PetHelpful explained. She's likely checking to make sure the baby is healthy: "These are things a mother dog does with her own pups, and they should be considered just as harmless with human babies."
It's worth noting that "almost no diseases can pass from a dog to a human," so don't get too grossed out about that slobber!
3. Your Dog Wants To Join In At Naptime
Of course, co-sleeping with a dog might not fall under the current "safe sleep" guidelines recommended by most pediatricians and other experts. But if you put your baby down for a nap on the bed and your pooch automatically jumps up to take a snooze alongsider her, that's a sign of affection.
"Whether your dog sleeps with you at night or just naps while you sit on the couch during the day, this is a sign that you’re connected on a social level," explained Cesar's Way, the website for celebrity dog trainer Cesar Millan.
"Dogs prefer to be with members of their own social group, and that includes all pack members, whether canine, human, feline, or otherwise."
4. Your Dog Brings The Baby His Toys
Maybe your dog used to be pretty possessive of his squeaky rubber animals and chew toys, but now he's always offering his favorite playthings up at the foot of your baby's bouncy seat or high chair. This is huge, according to The Dodo, because it means that not only does your dog want to play with the baby, but he's also trying to make her happy... he truly believes she'll find his dirty old ball just as delightful as he does. (And honestly, the baby would probably love to give that thing a good chew!)
5. Your Dog Yawns When The Baby Yawns
You know how you can't help but yawn whenever you see someone else do it? That's because of something called "biological empathy," and one 2008 study found that dogs are susceptible to the same phenomenon (also according to The Dodo). However, dogs are more likely to demonstrate "contagious yawning" when it's a member of their human family that's doing the yawning than a stranger... so if your dog yawns when the baby seems sleepy, it's yet another sign that they're bonded for life.