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My Dog Licks Everything

We received an email from a dog owner who was looking for help with her dog who licks everything. Read the Q and A below to see how to deal with this issue:




It’s been a while since I needed your help. My dog Pippin is now 2 years and 4 months and she has settled down magnificently. We all adore her.  From the puppy who never stopped biting I now have the opposite problem, she never stops licking!  This is becoming a serious issue.  Believe me I love doggie kisses like the rest of us do but this goes beyond.  If I have any bare skin on show she licks and licks and licks.  She will try to lick under my arms, I suppose she likes my deodorant, she will lick off any body lotion I may apply so now I don't wear any. But she does other strange things, she licks my husband’s pillow case over and over and over until I remove it from her!

Now I have found she licks the outside of the oven door, even though it is spotlessly clean!  I am getting a bit frustrated with this and was wondering if you can shed any light on this strange over loving behavior?

See Also:
Malamute facts  Dog Training Facts - Excellent step-by-step facts for owners of pups and dogs!

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Hello Glenda,

Know that you are not alone; we have received many emails from owners who let us know that “My dog licks everything”. It is not uncommon for puppies to lick quite a is a way for them to "explore" the world...they will lick, chew and/or mouth things in order to find out what they are.

However, with your dog being a bit over 2 years old and an adult now, she is too old for that to be the explanation.

There is more than one possible reason for a dog who licks everything.

Importantly, one reason why she may be doing this is because her tongue may be itching and by licking, she is trying to find relief.   If this is the reason, the itching will most likely be caused by some sort of allergic reaction.  If possible, try to look at her tongue to look for any bumps (hives, etc.) that were not there before.  If her tongue looks irritated, it will be best to bring her to the veterinarian to have this checked out.

Another reason why she may be doing this is due to a nervous tick or a nervous tick that she had as a puppy has now simply turned into a habit.

It is common for pups and dogs to lick their human's skin due to the taste (a mixture of sweet/salty)....however since she licks other things such as the oven door, we would have to assume that if allergies are ruled out that this is a type of compulsive behavior.   This would actually be good news because it can be fixed with some dedicated training from you.

You will want to make sure that everyone in the house understands the rules of this training.  For this to be successful, consistency is a must.

She must be taught the "no lick" command.  

To prepare for this, it will be best to obtain a new toy for her. It should be very different than any toy that she currently has.  It is often best to locate a dog toy that has different textures on it...fuzzy, smooth, bumpy, etc.

Then, choose a day to begin.  For that moment on, every time she begins to lick (either you or a household object), firmly say "No lick", gently move her a small distance away (about a foot) and offer the new toy.  If she mouths or licks the new toy, act as if she just did the most wonderful thing in the world.  Give her tons of praise, repeat "Good girl!!!"  Be sure that your tone is a very happy one, as dogs will pick up on the tone of your voice as much as the actual words.

During this training time, a close eye must be kept on her so that she is stopped with the "no lick" command every time she licks.  Without delay, the toy should be given to her.  

If this is done consistently, she should be trained within 2-3 weeks and she will be used to going to her "lick" toy instead of licking everything and everyone in the house!  Once she has reached the point of going to her toy automatically, you will not need to overdue it on the praise....However, everything now and then it will be a good idea to say "Good girl" in order to remind her that she is behaving as desired.


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