I have a neighbor who has a large Dalmation. If you get within a foot of him, he sticks his tongue out for a quick lick of whatever piece of skin he can reach. This excessive dog licking drives me crazy! Why do dogs lick people and how can you make dogs stop licking?
First, let’s think about why dogs lick. There are several reasons why your dog licks you:
- He may be telling you that he wants your attention and that he likes you.
- You may have “trained” him that when he licks you, he gets a reward
- He thinks you like it and he’s trying make you happy. Or, the licking just makes him happy. Do you know any people who just like to hug and kiss everyone? Some dogs are the same way.
- He likes the taste of your skin, or a cream or lotion that you wear.
- This might sound gross, but it’s possible that you just need to take a bath, and he’s helping you out. Dogs like salty, sweaty skin. Yuk!
So how do you make your dog stop licking you?
You need to teach him that’s it’s not acceptable for him to lick you excessively. If your dog has developed a licking habit, you need to teach him another habit.
Sometimes, all you need to do is let him get his licking done and over with, then he’ll be satisfied and not do it any more. The best way to do this is to have a “licking session.” This is a time where your dog is allowed to lick you as much as he wants. You teach him the word “lick” while he’s doing it, then you bring the dog licking session to and end by saying, “No lick.” If your dog learns there is a time for licking and a time for not licking, you’re on your way to a lick-free home.
If your dog is licking for attention, then teach him another (better) way of getting your attention. Sitting, shaking, rolling over, etc. are great tricks for your dog to learn when he wants your attention. The key is to ALWAYS give him attention with that “attention-getting” trick.
Other times, you might need to apply something that tastes bad to dogs (lemon or hot sauce) and let him lick that. That will teach him that licking your skin is gross.
Other dogs will respond if you act like it hurts you when your dog licks you. If you say, “Ouch” or “Don’t lick” every time your dog licks you, your dog may respond by not wanting to cause you pain.
As with all dog training, it will take time to teach your dog to stop licking. Be patient and consistent. Your dog want to make you happy, so teach him how to make you happy.