How to Stop Your Dog from Licking People
One of the most annoying habits that can be developed by your dog is for him to lick people. While this may seem cute when he is twelve weeks old, it will quickly become a nuisance as he grows.
Dogs lick for a variety of reasons, and it is important to understand them in order to understand your dog’s behavior. Instinctively, puppies lick their mothers in order to get food, or as a mouthing behavior that corresponds to language; meaning they are in need of something. This stems from their heredity. Wolf mothers would return to the den to find their pups licking their faces. This was a sign for the mother to regurgitate food for them. Older dogs will lick as a sign of submission in the hierarchy of their pack. And yet still some dogs will lick people as a sign of affection, just as a bitch licks her pups.
Dogs who lick people constantly is a hard habit to break, and involves time and patience. Owners will need to modify this behavior through training. There are several different methods that you can try, depending on your specific pet as well as your personal preference.
Training your animal to have diligent respect for the word “no” will be very handy in dog licking situations. Reprimand the animal verbally whenever he responds to people in an inappropriate manner, and praise him when he acts correctly. You may want to try greeting the dog with an immediate command when you enter the room, such as “sit”. This will distract the dog from licking, and he should be rewarded with a treat and verbal praise. With enough time and repetition, the dog will come to expect this response, and forget about licking. A clicker-training device can also be implemented here, if you so desire.
Electric shock collars are another way to try and alleviate this situation. These types of collars can be purchased with hand held remote that can activate a sensor on the collar, emitting electric shocks to the animal when he performs unwanted behaviors. While this type of training emphasizes negative reinforcement, it may be the only option in severe cases.
It is important not to get too frustrated with your pet, as he is responding to years of hereditary response.