If you have encountered a dog in your life, chances are that you have been licked by one, whether that be to your cheek or your hand. Licking is a behavior that is passed down to dogs from their mothers. Dog mothers are known to lick their baby puppies soon after their birth. The most common reason for the licking behavior is that it is a way for dogs to show their love to their owners and their guests. So, it is normal for the licking to happen from time to time.
But, it is excessive licking that is the problem as it cam become annoying for people. Excessive licking could indicate that a dog is anxious or that something is wrong with him/her. Dogs could also be engaging in obsessive licking because the human skin tastes good to them. Taking all that into account, I have put together ten tips in order to help you train a dog to stop licking.
1. Ignore Your Dog
Your dog could be engaging in licking behavior in order to get your attention. If that is the case, you will want to simply ignore your dog as he/she is licking. That is because paying attention to your dog will in effect reward him/her for the licking behavior and he/she will want to continue doing it. One effective way of ignoring your dog is to turn around from him/her and walk away.
2. Treat Your Dog With Dog-Appeasing Pheromones
If your dog is licking you excessively as a result of separation anxiety, one way of dealing with that is to treat your dog with what is called dog-appeasing pheromones. These are basically artificial chemicals that are meant to replicate the pheromones that your dog’s mother used as part of the nursing process with him/her. As a result, dog-appeasing pheromones are considered to be effective in calming down dogs.
3. Use Unscented Soap Or Lotion
You may be using a soap or lotion that is attracting your dog’s attention to your hands because it smells good or tastes yummy to him/her. So, you will want to only use a soap or lotion that is unscented. That is because if you are using an unscented soap or lotion, your dog can’t smell it. Without the ability to smell your soap or lotion, your dog won’t know there is something good on your hands.
4. Use Citrus-scented Soap Or Lotion
If you prefer not to use unscented soap or lotion, you may want to look at using one that contains a citrus scent. Dogs are generally known to loathe the smell and taste of citrus. So, if you use something with a citrus scent, that will most likely deter your dog from licking your hands.
5. Keep Your Dog Occupied With A Toy
Your dog may be feeling bored which may make him/her tempted to lick you just to have something to do. So, you may want to give your dog a toy so that he/she will have something else to do instead of licking you. I would suggest that you go with a Kong that you can stuff with a treat for your dog to enjoy. A Kong is designed to take a long time for a dog to finish chewing off.
6. Check With Your Vet About Medication
Another option for you to consider when dealing with your dog’s excessive licking stemming from his/her separation anxiety, is for you to check in with a veterinarian about medication option. The veterinarian will probably recommend either Clomipramine or Fluoxetine. Both of these medicines are aimed at treating compulsive disorder in dogs.
7. Keep Your Dog Busy With Activities
Another way for you to keep your dog busy is to involve him/her in a fun activity. So, consider playing a game of frisbee with your dog. Given that part of playing frisbee involves your dog catching and holding a frisbee. That will keep your dog’s mouth occupied which will prevent your dog from using his/her tongue to lick you. Playing frisbee will also give your dog the exercise that he/she needs in order to take a rest.
8. Take Your Dog Out For A Walk
One trick that you can use to curb your dog’s excessive licking habit is to take him/her out for a walk as soon as he/she licks you. Repeating this can eventually lead to your dog developing a habit of licking you whenever he/she wants to go out for a walk.
9. Have Your Dog Lick You On Command
Another trick that you can use to stop your dog’s obsessive licking is to get him/her to lick you on command. Start out by choosing a word that you want your dog to associate with licking. You can either use the word “lick” or “kiss,” but not both. Once you have chosen a word for the licking command, hold out your open hand and say the chosen word to command your dog to lick it.
To help you get started, place a small amount of peanut butter on your open hand in order to encourage your dog to lick it. Once your dog has started licking your hand, give him/her a command to end the licking. The best word to use here would be “stop.” If your dog stops licking your hand for at least a few seconds, go ahead and praise and reward him/her with a treat. After practicing this process, your dog will eventually learn to lick you only when you want him/her to.
10. Consistency Is Key For Success
In order to succeed with ending your dog’s excessive licking, you want to make sure that you are consistent with your dog. So, if you ignore your dog for licking you today, but tomorrow, you praise your dog for doing the exact same thing, it will just confuse him/her which isn’t very helpful at all.
These are the tips for how you can train your dog to stop licking obsessively. What are your thoughts? Have you ever been licked by a dog before? Feel free to leave a comment below.