Mark Vette – Internationally renowned Animal Behaviourist, Educator, Author and TV personality



Have you ever wondered how to stop a dog from licking? Or do you enjoy it? 

Why do dogs lick you?

Licking from a dog is an affectionate, soliciting behaviour, and it’s not generally a behavioural  problem unless you really don’t like it. 

It originated from wolves – wolf pups will lick the jowls of older wolves returning from a  hunt to stimulate them to regurgitate their food cache for the pup. So you can see that  licking is a behaviour designed to get something from you!  

We have bred dogs to be juvenilised (puppy-like) which means this licking behaviour often  carries over into even adult domestic dogs.  

Because it’s a soliciting behaviour, often if you try to assert yourself over your dog by telling them off for doing it, they’ll just lick even more as they’re trying to appease you.  

How to stop your dog licking you

If you’d like to cut down licking, you can try teaching your dog a “leave it” command then when they stop licking, click and reward them with a high value food reward such as cooked chicken or cheese. Use a firm tone of voice when giving the “leave it” command. 

You could also try putting bitter tasting sprays on your skin (or even insect spray) to make it taste unpleasant to try and put your dog off this behaviour. 

But like I said, it’s not a behavioural issue unless you don’t like it! It’s actually a way for your dog to show their love. 

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