WITH the recent wonderful addition of Master Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor to our Royal Family, I’m writing to encourage your parents-to-be readers to make sure they prepare their dog for a new arrival, as I am sure the Duchess of Sussex has done with Guy, her pet beagle.

Having a baby is a big event for the whole family, including their dog and the more time they spend training their dog and helping them adjust to the changes that are coming, the easier it will be for all as the dog will experience changes in routine as well as new sights, smells and sounds that may upset them.

There are lots of simple steps your readers can take to help their dog adjust to the arrival of a baby:

• Get them used to the reduced attention before your baby arrives by separating them from you, for short periods of time every day, in the lead up to the birth

• If they are going to be kept out of certain rooms i.e. the baby’s room, start doing this as soon as possible by setting up baby gates ahead of time.

• Try not to overexcite or stress your dog by staying calm and relaxed when you bring your baby home

• Teach them how to approach the baby properly and gently. Allow them to make safe initial investigations and approaches under your supervision

• Give them treats and lots of praise when they behave well

• Make sure that your dog has enough to do and is kept well exercised

• Make sure your dog must have a place that they feel safe and relaxed; somewhere that they can go to if things are getting too much for them.

Dogs Trust has free online resources such as a downloadable sounds of baby crying to help your dog get used to the noise and a comprehensive leaflet offering tips and advice on preparing your dog for your new arrival.

Visit www.learnwithdogstrust.org.uk/be-dog-smart to find out more.

Hollie Sevenoaks, Dogs Trust Head of Education