Maybe you do not mind your dog licking your hand when you come home. That is perfectly fine. But, what about when you invite company over and he tries to lick them? Not all people are okay with being licked by a dog. Your pet needs to be able to control his interest in licking. Before you train him to get rid of this behavior, try to understand why he is doing it in the first place.
Licking is not a terrible behavior; it does not mean that you have a bad or disorderly pooch. More than likely, licking was not discouraged as a puppy and it has developed out of habit (although there are many more reasons why dogs lick). Like any behavior, licking can be stopped. It just takes training, time, and patience.
Communication is one reason why dogs lick people. It’s their way of showing love or appreciation. Since many owners look down upon excessive barking, many dogs resort to licking. Licking can also be a habit. If a puppy gets what he wants by licking, then he will more than likely continue this habit into adulthood. Mother dogs frequently lick their pups. They do this to help clean them and show them that they care. This can also develop a grooming habit to lick.
Maybe your dog just likes the way you taste. If you have been sweating, then he may lick you because he enjoys the salty flavor. Licking can also be a sign of submissiveness. Dogs are natural pack animals. Once you obtain the leadership position over your pooch, then his licking approves your position as leader. This is often why dogs lick each other. Dogs also lick because they are lacking something in their diet. If your dog has no rhyme or reason to his lick, then you should take him to the veterinarian. The vet can determine if your dog is experiencing a vitamin or mineral deficiency.
To determine why your dog is licking, then you just have to watch. Pay attention to when he licks. Constant licking may be compulsive, while licking you when you get home is a form of communication. If you need help as to why your pooch is licking, then speak with your veterinarian. Your vet can offer insight and suggest behavioral specialists. Once you determine why your pooch is licking, then it is completely up to you whether or not to deter the habit. If anything, teach your dog not to lick your guests!
If your dog goes crazy when you get home and constantly tries to lick you, then you should not make a big deal out of your arrival. This can be difficult to do, because, of course, you are happy to see your pooch. Do not allow your pooch access to your hands. Wait until he calms down before you try to pet him. If he tries you lick you while you are petting him, give a firm “no lick.” Always reward your pooch for his behavior, and never get angry.
If your dog licks to get your attention, then you need to make sure that you are always providing an appropriate amount of attention. A good way to ease this type of licking is by putting your dog on a schedule. If he expects (and receives) a daily walk when you get home and a little play time after, then he will be less likely to fight for your attention throughout the day.
If you are trying to get your dog to stop the habit, then licking should never be encouraged, no matter the reason. If your pooch tries to lick you, then say “no lick” and replace the lick with something else. The habit needs to be redirected at another behavior. For instance, say “no lick” and hand him his favorite toy to chew on.
These were just a couple of suggestions on how to stop your pooch from licking. There is a variety of ways to discourage the habit, but all take time and patience. Always reward your pooch with a treat or extra play time for a job well done!
Dogs lick for a variety of reasons: communication, grooming, display of love, submission, etc. You may or may not want your dog to stop the habit. Either way, once you identify the cause of the licking, there are training methods to stop the tendency. Always reward your pooch for his accomplishments, and never get angry. For the sake of your guests, let your dog love without licking!