Do you care if your dog licks your hands?
I don’t mind if a dog licks me, but some people are understandably grossed out by it.
The key to stopping a dog from licking you is to ignore the behavior.
Usually a dog is licking to get attention, so if we stop giving the dog attention for licking she will eventually stop the behavior.
Has this worked for you?
The following are my 5 tips to stop a dog from licking, but let me know your own ideas in the comments.
5 Tips to stop a dog from licking you
It’s actually not much different from stopping a puppy from biting.
1. Ignore the dog for licking.
If you don’t want your dog to lick you, then don’t give her any attention for licking.
By giving the dog attention I mean:
- looking at her
- talking to her or laughing at her
- gently pushing her away or holding her collar
- petting her
- saying “gross!” in an excited voice
Instead of doing the above, just calmly move your hands out of reach and calmly move away or block her with your body.
Fast movements like flailing your hands around will just energize her and make it worse.
2. Hand the dog a toy to hold.
Give the dog something to hold in her mouth like a toy or a bone.
This is not to reward the licking but to give her something else to do. If you’re worried about “rewarding” her you can ask her to sit first so you’re rewarding the sit.
3. Teach her to sit or lie down before she gets attention.
I’m not saying you have to tell your dog to sit every single time you want to give her affection. But I do like the “nothing in life is free” method of training for dogs in general, especially for dogs that just won’t stop demanding attention.
4. Use a firm no.
It’s OK to tell your dog no! She won’t be afraid of you. It won’t hurt her!
If it helps, you can even gently but firmly put your hand over her mouth as you tell her no. Then it helps to walk away and ignore her.
If your voice doesn’t work as a correction, you can try squirting her with water or using a pet corrector.
5. Put bitter apple spray on your hands.
Bitter apple spray for dogs is a product designed to prevent dogs from biting or chewing. It is made by a couple of different brands. Most dogs don’t like the taste of the bitter apple, but it won’t harm them.
I’ve used it to stop a puppy from biting her leash.
If you put it on your hands, you’ll want to be careful not to touch your mouth or face, because it’s not pleasant for people either.
It’s worth trying a couple of times to help break your dog’s licking habit. You can order it on Amazon for around $7.
Other tips to stop a dog from licking you
– Does your dog love the taste of your lotion or soap? Try switching to unscented.
– Is she just bored? Is she getting enough exercise as well as enough mental challenges like training, tricks, games, puzzle toys, etc.? Does she have things to chew on and play with?
– Teach her to lie down and stay on a dog bed.
– Is she constantly licking guests? Keep her on a leash when they arrive. A Gentle Leader or Halti might even help and see my post Thursday on keeping dogs calm when guests arrive.
OK, how about the rest of you?
How do you stop a dog from licking? What’s worked? What hasn’t?