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How to Minimize
Licking in Your Dog


Do you need to minimize licking in your dog? Unlike mouthing or biting, incessant licking by a dog is the calling card of the submissive dog. An instinctive canine behavior, meek young puppies will lick at their dominant motherís mouths in order to elicit a regurgitated meal.

This behavior continues on into adulthood in overly submissive dogs, who will lick away at whomever they deem dominant over them. Though harmless, this behavior can become a messy, annoying habit. It's best to nip this behavior in the bud before it becomes engrained.

To do so, first attempt to bolster the dog's confidence by starting and maintaining basic obedience training. Doing so will help the dog understand what is expected of him at any given moment, a great way to relieve his stress.

Also, by teaching the dog the meaning of the word "No," you will be able to stop the licking with that one word. Training will also enable you to give the dog an alternative behavior ("Sit" or "Down") once the licking has been stopped with a "No."

In addition to training, you can use a bitter-tasting, dog-safe product to help deter the behavior. If your dog is in the habit of coming over and licking at your hand, try spraying a "Bitter Apple" liquid onto your hand.

Then, leave your treated hand hanging down and let the dog lick; when he tastes the bitter substance, he will get the message.

If your dog is a real lick monster, you can use a stronger substance such as petroleum jelly infused with some cayenne pepper.

Compulsive lickers often respond well when provided with safe chew toys on a regular basis. Doing so will redirect their oral fixations and calm them down.

By combining training, bad-tasting substances, and safe chew toys, you should be able to minimize your dog's annoying licking habit. Just be aware that the licker is a submissive, easily-frightened pet who should be treated gently.

Yelling or hitting will just make the problem worse, so easy does it.

by Steve Duno

For more information on how to minimize licking, contact your veterinarian.

Article reprinted with permission of:

http://www.1800petmeds.com/America's Largest Pet Pharmacy

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"A man once told me that his dog was half pit bull and half Poodle. He claimed that it wasn't much good as a guard dog, but it was a vicious gossip." - Stanley Coren