Bringing home a baby for the first time can be perplexing to a dog. But with a little patience and careful planning, you can ensure your pet is comfortable with the new addition to your family.

Here, one couple shared their experience introducing their baby to their Labrador Retriever in a YouTube video.

First, they explain, the mother entered the home to greet the dog. They’ve been at the hospital the last few nights, so it was important they gave the dog a greeting and let him release his excited energy before introducing the baby. (Some people recommend bringing home an item the baby has worn so that the dog can smell him or her ahead of time.)

Once the dog calmed down, they asked him to sit and stay so that dad could enter holding the baby.

They go very slow with the introduction, carefully letting the dog sniff the baby, but pulling back when he gets too excited.

Lots of praise is important, they note, so that the dog feels like he’s getting attention and that he associates the baby with good things.

And it’ll be worth the trouble—raising kids with dogs is proven to be beneficial for their social skills and cognitive development.

Contact the AKC GoodDog! Helpline if you have questions or need tips on introducing your baby to your dog.

And remember to never let them together unsupervised, no matter how well-behaved your dog is. Even an enthusiastic tag wag can injure a baby. Making sure their interactions are always positive and safe will encourage a lifelong friendship.

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