The first thing that comes to mind when we think of our dogs is their devotion and love towards us. Dogs kiss, cuddle and lick their owners as a way of showing affection and love. Enjoying these interactions with our pets is such a joy, but what happens when they start licking uncontrollably? This article will teach you how to identify the causes behind this problem, what are the possible triggers and how to properly deal with it.
Identify The Triggers Of This Behavior
The first thing that you should do is to understand why your dog licks you. Is he doing this as a result of anxiety, stress or boredom? In order to identify the triggers, you need to first notice when this behavior happens and what is going on around your pet at that moment.
For example: does he lick you as soon as you settle down on the couch? Is he licking you right after coming back from a walk or is it just before bedtime? Knowing this can give you a hint of what is causing his anxiety. You will be able to find out why he licks you while walking or if it occurs right after getting back home.
Some dogs might lick their owners because they are anxious about being left alone at home. They want the company and love of their beloved owner and they try to show this by licking.
Other pets lick their owners as a result of boredom or stress. Excessive licking is one of the symptoms of separation anxiety and it can indicate your dog’s lack of exercise and mental stimulation. Dogs tend to lick their owner when he returns home after work because he was not with him all day.
Strive To Identify And Alleviate Problems
It is not easy to stop your dog from licking you, because this gesture has become a habit. But, with patience and time it will be possible to eliminate this behavior.
The first thing that you should do is to mark the moment when this happens so that you can see what is going on. Maybe he licks you while you are watching TV? Perhaps, this occurs right after the dog gets out from his regular walk or when you get home from work. This will give you a hint of what is causing him to lick constantly.
The next thing that you should do it to counter-condition your pet. Whenever you notice him licking you, stop this behavior with a word or hand signal. Then, give your dog a command so he knows what is expected of him. For example: if during the day, you notice that your dog licks you every time after coming back from the walk, try to give him an alternative sentence like “sit”. When he does, praise him and give him a treat. Once this becomes a habit, try to say the “sit” command every time before he starts licking you.
The last thing that you should do is to show your dog that there are more interesting things in life than constantly licking their owner. For instance, when your dog has stopped licking you, start playing with him or give him a tasty treat. This will show your pet that licking is not the only way to gain attention and affection from his owner.
Strive To Establish A Routine And Follow It
As mentioned earlier, excessive licking may be due to different types of anxiety, stress or boredom. To stop your pet from constantly licking you it is important that you identify which problem is causing the behavior.
If you notice that your dog licks you before going to bed every night, try to establish a routine with him so he can relax and sleep well during this time of the day. Start by making sure that he gets enough exercise during the day, play with him for a while, give him some treats and pay attention to your pet. If this does not help, you can ask your veterinarian about some possible medications that will calm your dog down before bedtime.
When it comes to anxiety or stress related problems, counter-conditioning is very important. Consider taking shorter walks with less distractions so your pet will not be too tired at the end of them. You can also play with your pet indoors, this way he will not feel anxious about being alone all day long.
If you are sure that boredom is causing your dog’s excessive licking, try to give him more interesting toys or activities during the day. Otherwise, devote some time for playing and exercising with your pet so he will not feel bored and try to lick you constantly.
It is as easy as that!
Try to focus on the source of the problem and work your way from there. With patience and time, you can definitely succeed in stopping your dog from over-licking you.