Lickaholics-Pets that Lick
If you have ever owned a puppy, it’s hard to resist kisses and the sweet smell of puppy breath. Pups are cute, however as they age the puppy’s sweet breath diminishes. As cute as pups licking is, some people find it offensive if your dog does it to extremes. Some puppies turn into lickaholics if their owner’s response reinforces the licking.
Did you know that a dog’s breath has less germs than the average handshake or human’s breath? Dog germs may be less prevalent, but it is a good idea to brush pets teeth and get them the annual dental cleaning, especially if they are going to be kissing you.
In the wild, dogs live in packs and there is generally a leader in the pack who has established dominance. It isn’t unusual, then, for the rest of the dogs in the pack to lick the dominant dog as a sign of submission. Since you are the leader of your “pack,” your dog may feel compelled to lick you as a sign of his submission.
The hardest thing to do is ignore your dog, if you haven’t seen them all day. Any scent on your hands, over the course of a day can taste irresistible to a dog. If you know you are going to get a lick on arrival then you want to delay the greeting till your pet is calm. Remember some dogs can develop compulsive behaviors because they find them comforting, in the same way that humans do. This behavior is a form of stress relief, It is an urge and they just can’t help it.
If you have an obsessive licker, here are a few tips to help stay dry. Pull your hand away and teach the kiss command. This is a technique that limits licking while providing an acceptable outlet for the urge. At the same time you’ll teach your dog to be a better companion. Have your dog sit. Present your hand and say kiss. Letting them lick you only three times. Then pull your hand away, baiting or praising your pet for the kiss. When you have visitors have them do the same, always remember the three lick rule. Eventually your dog will get it and you won’t have to submit to a lick down.
Don’t ever punish or scold them, it is natural for them to do this. Reprimanding your pet can make matters worse. They are seeking your approval and just want attention even if it is negative. So punishing them will reinforce the licking, I am sorry to say. By giving your dog attention either positive or negative while she’s licking, you reinforce that behavior.
Some pets may need a refresher course in obedience class to brush up on basics. Working on sit, stay and down may help them learn control when they really want to lick. Lead collars could also benefit your pets training and close the mouth obsession.
Lavish your pet with other types of physical affection. Brushing, walking , massages seem to help distract them from licking. You want them to learn they get more attention when not licking you. You can also use interactive toys with treats inside, puzzle toys, anything that gives them something to focus on other than the obsessive lick.
I have my own obsessive compulsive dog in my home. I’ve tried everything with her, some dogs are beyond control and you just have to get used to a lick-down. If you don’t mind puppy slobber, then it may not effect you. However, not all your visitors will enjoy a bath by your pet. So giving them proper training can help curb compulsive behavior of a lickaholic.