'My dog won't stop licking people': Help from canine behaviour expert

Laura and Sid

Laura and Sid

First published in News
Last updated

My dog, Sid, has a habit of licking people’s hands while they’re stroking him.

Sometimes if I fall asleep on the sofa, I am awoken by Sid licking my face. How do I stop it?

Laura, 25, from Petts Wood


Dogs that excessively lick can be a common problem for owners, writes animal behaviour expert and lecturer Sophie Marriott of canine behaviour consultancy Endless Pawsibilities.

It is often regarded as a sign of affection and is thought to release endorphins.

Endorphins create a pleasant and comforting feeling, which may be why this behaviour has become persistent.

As Sid is licking while being petted this causes the behaviour to be reinforced.

Some owners make the mistake of stroking their dog, in an attempt to stop the licking.

However this will only tell your dog that if he repeats this action, he will be rewarded.

Once the stroking stops, your dog may begin to lick until you to pet him again, creating a cycle.

In order to stop it, Sid can no longer be allowed to lick anyone.

Once the behaviour occurs that person needs to stand up and move away from him.

Clearly showing him that he will receive no attention for this behaviour. If you are petting
Sid and he begins to lick, stop stroking immediately and move away.

It is important that Sid only receives a stroke when he isn’t licking.

If everyone follows the same action Sid will soon learn that if he licks he will receive no attention.

We want to hear your dog-related questions or problems, e-mail jim.palmer@london.newsquest.co.uk and we’ll see if Sophie can help.

If you would like to enquire about booking a private consultation with Sophie, e-mail sophie_256@msn.com

Comments (2)

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10:24am Thu 20 Mar 14

Gypo.Joe says...

My dogs have a nasty habit of licking a certain part of their anatomy.

Any ideas on that ?
My dogs have a nasty habit of licking a certain part of their anatomy. Any ideas on that ? Gypo.Joe
  • Score: -15

11:19am Thu 20 Mar 14

MFC Lion says...

Yeah, once he starts licking it. Stop stroking it.
Yeah, once he starts licking it. Stop stroking it. MFC Lion
  • Score: 3

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