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This is a magazine article by Steve Brooks, CPDT/KA Fido Friendly Magazine Summer 2014, page 64. Lickety Split, He Yaps / She Yaps. http://www.zinio.com/reader.jsp?issue=416307249&o=ext DOGS & PEOPLE KISS BECAUSE IT FEELS GOOD! Question: My dog is very sweet and affectionate. Lately, he has started to lick me and everyone he meets. He even licks my clothes! What is the best way to change this behavior? Steve Brooks, CPDT/KA: When a dog licks your face, the love hormone, oxytocin, and the desire hormone, dopamine, are both elevated. However, doggie kisses are not always out of affection. Puppies lick in order to get milk from their mothers and blankets or clothing are similar to nursing. Licking becomes a way to get affirmation or for grooming. Dogs lick your face because they love the tasty flavors of that juicy burger dripping down your chin or scented lotions…sometimes they crave salt. Licking can turn into an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). In fact, many dogs lick themselves raw out of stress, anxiety or even boredom. Excessive licking can indicate underlining medical conditions, so I recommend talking to your Vet about your dog’s diet, and, if possible, bring a video of the dog displaying the behavior. In my experience, most dogs with this behavior are attention seeking, insecure, or conflicted. Dogs repeat behaviors if that behavior works for them. It could be that you are somehow (unintentionally) rewarding your dog for this behavior. I suggest positive training methods to teach and build confidence. Try: “go to your bed” and “down /stay”. Next, ask for a few sloppy kisses and let the self-rewarding experience of the kiss be the reward. Give no feedback for the kisses. Wait until the dog pauses for just a second, then mark the fact they stopped with “good boy!” Calmly say, “Thank you, I love you too! Go to your bed and stay.” If a dog has been properly trained, then going to their bed and relaxing will become a better reward than licking your face; they can lick their favorite chew toy instead!
Sponsor:Steve Brooks K9U