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How Do I Get My Dog To Stop Licking Everything?


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While most of us don’t mind a gentle lick from our furry friend now and then, a dog that constantly licks can be exhausting. Some dogs only lick themselves or humans, but others may lick random objects, furniture, or even the floor. No one wants a big spot of dog saliva on the couch. Plus, obsessive licking can also cause health issues for your dog, such as irritated skin or hair loss. So, it shouldn’t be ignored.

Dog licking floor

Need help training out those less-than-lovable behaviors? SpiritDog can help. Their programs can help you achieve long-lasting results using positive, scientifically-proven methods. See their website to learn how they can help your dog become the better-behaved canine of your dreams.

Why Is Your Dog Licking?

If your dog is licking only you and nothing else, it’s most likely due to a lack of training. Licking may be a way to get your attention or show affection, but it can be problematic if they do it excessively. Also, licking humans is reinforcing to dogs because they think you taste good. Dogs like the saltiness of our sweat and if you just ate, they may taste food on your fingers and face.

Yet, if your dog licks anything and everything, including themselves and random objects, there may be an underlying cause. Our 12-year-old Sheltie has what we affectionately refer to as O.L.D. dog syndrome (obsessive licking disorder). But in all seriousness, her licking is a side effect of her health issues. We know her medicine dosages aren’t right when she starts licking everything, including herself. She also gets a rash on her tummy from the constant licking. For us, it’s a cue we need to tweak her meds.

Dog licking man

However, not all dog licking is a sign of illness or neediness. Some dogs do it because they’re bored or stressed.

How to Stop Excessive Licking

If your dog only licks your hand or their paws occasionally, then it’s probably not a concern. Yet, if their licking is bothering you, getting slobber all over the house, or irritating their own skin, training is necessary. Stopping excessive licking is all about making expectations clear and being consistent. Below are a few steps to take.

However, if your dog is licking anything they can, take them to the vet first. That way, you can rule out any health-related issues before proceeding with training.

First – Don’t Encourage Licking

As much as we love dog kisses, you may want to stop encouraging those licks for a while to get your dog in the habit of licking less. So, don’t have your dog kiss your nose when you get home or lick peanut butter off your fingers. If your dog starts licking something too much, redirect their attention to something that is okay to lick, such as a chew toy or a treat.

If your dog likes to lick you specifically, make your skin less accessible to them. Wear long sleeves and pants when you can, at least until your dog understands not to lick. Wash your hands and face after touching food to get rid of any enticing flavors.

Little dog licking person

Second – Create a Training Plan

You have several options. If you like your dog licking you, you can teach your dog a “kiss” cue. Then, you can reward your dog only when they lick you on cue. That way, they’ll learn that licking is only okay on command.

If you never want your dog to lick you, you can work on an auto leave it. With that method, you will tell your dog to “leave it” whenever they try to lick something they shouldn’t. Otherwise, you could work on regular leave it, which means your dog is allowed to lick but needs to stop when you ask. It’s up to you to decide which one is best for you and your pup.

Third – Keep Rules Consistent

Once you choose how to handle your dog’s licking, you need to make sure everyone in your household is on the same page. This includes guests. If people come over and let your dog lick them despite your attempt to train your furry friend otherwise, you will have a harder time with training. So, be sure to let people know what the expectations are for your dog’s licking.

With enough patience and consistency, you should start to notice your dog licking less.

Consider Online Training

Training doesn’t have to be a chore. Let SpiritDog help you make training time a fun, productive bonding experience between you and your best friend! Whether you want to work out bad habits or strengthen good canine manners, SpiritDog can help guide you!

SpiritDog’s courses are developed by real trainers who know that the best teacher for your dog is the person they love most in the world – you! Even if you’ve never trained before, you can get better behavior out of your pup with SpiritDog’s guidance. With so many happy pet parents who have used their courses, SpiritDog guarantees 100% satisfaction!

SpiritDog offers over 17 science-based courses, as well as 12 free bonus courses to get you and your pup bonding and building better behaviors. Their Tackling Reactivity Bundle can help you keep your pup safely by your side and help anxious or reactive pups keep calm. For new pet parents, the Ultimate Puppy Program can help you start your pup off on the right paw from the beginning. Those who want to teach their pets great behaviors at any age, check out their Ultimate Masterclass Bundle. Whatever you need, SpiritDog can help keep your dog safe, happy, and well-behaved!

iHeartDogs is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.

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