If you catch your dog licking your baby, you might have mixed feelings -- maybe you think it's a cute display of affection or maybe you think it's unsanitary or potentially dangerous. Regardless of your feelings, the behavior is best corrected early before it turns into a habit that's hard to break. Also, your pet companion's slobbering can transmit infectious matter into your baby's eyes or mouth. To stop your dog's licking, teach him right from wrong, so all parties can remain healthy, happy and safe.
Tip #1 - Observe your dog when he's around the baby so you can correct his behavior when needed. Never leave your baby alone with your dog. If you can't supervise your dog for some reason, block his access to the nursery -- close the door or use a baby gate to keep your pet companion
Tip #2 - Stop your dog in his tracks the moment you catch him licking the baby. Shake a can of coins to startle your dog so he stops kissing the baby. Do this each time you catch your dog in the act. He'll start associating his licking with the unpleasant sound and will think twice before licking the baby again. Place empty soda cans, filled with about 20 pennies each, in different areas of the house so you always have a can handy when needed.
Tip #3 - Teach your dog the "no" command. Put a leash on your dog and place a dog treat on the table. When your pet companion goes for the treat, firmly say "no" and tug the leash. When he goes for the treat again, repeat the "no" command and tug the leash. When your dog leaves the treat alone, praise him and show him a dog toy to redirect his attention. Praise him again when he shows interest in the toy. Repeat this several times until your dog understands the meaning of "no".
Tip #4 - Teach your dog to "sit" on command. Hold a dog treat about 1 inch above your dog's nose and wait for him to point his sniffer upward. Slowly move the treat back over your dog's head and say "sit." Your dog will sit his tush down so he can follow the treat with his eyes. When he sits, praise him and give him the treat. Repeat this several times and slowly reduce the treats you give him when you tell him to "sit." Over time he'll understand the meaning of "sit."
Tip #5 - Command your dog to "sit" when you allow him near the baby. If he comes too close to the baby and looks as if he'll start licking, say "no," and order him to "sit." When he listens, give him praise or a treat for good behavior. Alternatively, put a chew toy in his mouth so it keep him busy and stops him from licking.
By Kimberly Caines
BabyCenter: Should I keep my pet away from my newborn?
Don't Dump the Dog; Randy Grimm and Melinda Roth
Partnership for Animal Welfare: Teaching the Command "No"
PetPlace.com: How to Teach Your Dog to "Sit"
About the Author
Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.