While some people enjoy pets licking them, others view extreme licking as a nuisance.
This so called “unwanted display of lingual attention” or just a few polite laps is often seen as excessive. In such cases, it’s more of a human problem than the animal’s.
After all, it’s in a dog’s nature to lick.
Is it possible that you can you stop a dog from licking?
Dog licking is completely natural but sometimes a dog won’t stop licking. As dogs use their tongues to explore, they tend to lick and taste everything around them, from furniture to your shoes, even themselves and your face!
Rewarding him or her for being a “good” dog may make them believe that their licks have pleased you and you like it too! Many dogs lick in order to get your attention. It is a method of communicating with humans.
This excessive ticking may turn into an obsessive compulsive disorder before you know it with the dog licking spots on the body repetitively.
What’s the reason why dogs lick everything?
A reason for this repetitive, self or owner-targeted licking is because of your dog’s high levels of anxiety and stress. Nevertheless, dogs can be trained to withdraw themselves from doing so.
But before training your dog not to lick, take your dog to a vet and discuss the case. This will help determine the underlying cause of the licking which may sometimes be a health or medical issue.
Finding a veterinary behaviourist or certified dog trainer to aid and assist this process is strongly recommended.
Once you determine that the licking is not connected to a health concern, proceed to the next step- training your dog. The idea is to not completely curb this natural, instinctual behaviour, but to send out a message that one or two licks is good enough.
Rewarding unwanted behavior by responding with attention each time they demand it will only encourage it.
Know when, where, and how often to respond or ignore, to control and modify their behaviour. The best way to do so, simply ignore and walk away.
If your workplace is in close proximity to home, then consider visiting your dog through the day or leave the dog with a friendly, trustworthy neighbour who is available. Boredom is one of the root causes of licking as a pass time.
Generally, dogs are much more malleable after their daily exercise regime.
Spend time with your dog.
Training sessions by itself are exhausting but won’t stop dog licking problems. Dogs usually get stressed with the lack of exercise or release of energy.
Pamper your pooch with chew toys stuffed with food.
Which make better pass times and will considerably reduce a bored dog and keep him from licking. As it may be very messy, keep these toys on the porch or a floor that can be wiped up relatively easily
Let your change in body language by making your message loud and clear.
Take away displays of affection towards him. Shift aside or just move away from the dog when he starts licking.
Whenever your dog is excessively licking, sternly tell him a simple “NO”.
Say whatever you feel like, even a “No lick”. But be sure to keep it consistent. If he continues licking you, just train him again.
Refrain from shouting
or other negative punishments. Taking affection is more than enough.
Consider taking your dog to a holistic vet
who can perform acupuncture and massage help your dog relax. In the hopes of releasing their stress, try water therapy or swimming for dogs.
Dog licking behaviour is mainly attention-seeking.
If you’ve been neglecting your dog, changes are that they will try to get your attention by licking, whether it’s positive or negative.
If you reward your dog by responding to unwanted to behaviour, you are unintentionally rewarding the behavior. Try putting a little bit of bitter apple or lemon spray or on your skin to make the licking less desirable.
Slam the door behind you and leave the dog alone for about 20 seconds.
Repeat the process and see if he tries to lick you again.
Teach your pet other positive behaviour, that you would like to see in your dog which would get him your attention.
Maybe you could teach your dog to shake, sit up, lie down or roll over to get your attention. In this way, you can attend to your dog without him slobbering all over you.
Persistent training is required to outmatch your dog’s licking habit. Try creative and new experiments.
Your dog’s licks are his way of telling you that loves you and that he wants your affection and approval.
Pushing him away after his display of affection might make him believe that he didn’t deliver his message well enough the first time and try harder.
These training techniques will take some time to break an instinctual habit like licking.
Their world revolves around you and they want to convey this message whenever they can through their wet “kisses”.
Image Courtesy: flickr.com/paudiefearon