How to stop dogs from licking:
Now that we know the root causes that drive licking behaviour, let’s discuss ways we can discourage it. Please note that these strategies are not foolproof. A dog’s instinct is a powerful thing, and we likely can’t distinguish such tendencies entirely. Think of the following suggestions as ways to fan the flames.
A surefire doggo distraction is Stylish Hound’s very own lick mat. This food-grade, silicon accessory sticks to your floor, your cupboards, or your tiles! How does it differ from a regular dog bowl? It’s the grooves! By spreading the dog food (or the peanut butter, or the mashed pumpkin, etc.) throughout every nook and cranny, your dog will have at least a solid half-hour of stimulation ahead of them. And whilst we know that you shouldn’t play with your food, we’re prepared to turn snack time into a game here. It will keep your dog entertained—and their tongue occupied!
• You could ignore it
Harking back to advice from school days, if someone is giving you unwanted attention, ‘just ignore them’. The moment the licking starts, walk away and remove all attention. Don’t even make eye contact with those adorable puppy dog eyes. If you’re not giving them the attention they’re craving, logic dictates that your dog will not repeat the behaviour as much. Commit to ironclad resolve here.
•You could find alternate mouth stimulation
Dogs are known to be distractable. If they’re craving mouth stimulation, why not divert their attention to a more appropriate source? Bones or durable, non-toxic chew toys are a great way to occupy your dog’s mouth. Perhaps these will eventually replace your dog’s default tendency of ‘face diving’...and by ‘face diving’, we mean diving for your face.
• You could have a shower
Think we’re kidding? Think again. As discussed earlier, dogs love your skin secretions. The sweatier you are, the more pheromones you’ll be releasing. Think of sweat as the dog equivalent to perfume or cologne. Remove the smell via showering and they’ll be less likely to show interest in you.
• You could have an aroma-altering shower
You’re probably catching onto the fact that dogs make sense of the world through...well, scents. They are attracted to bodily secretions. They greet other dogs by sniffing their butts. That’s because smell is by far the strongest sense to dogs. Their noses contain up to 300 million olfactory receptors (compared to just six million in human noses).
Dogs have universal likes and dislikes when it comes to scents. If you’re wanting to weaken their attraction to you, the solution could be as simple as switching to a perfume or body wash they dislike.
• You could reward non-licking behaviours
If your dog has been reducing their licking behaviours, don’t let this go unnoticed. Reward the non-licking behaviours with treats! As with all dog training, ensure to dispatch your treat immediately following the favourable behaviour. This will cement the positive association between the behaviour and the reward.