Dogs Who Lick Too Much — Excessive Licking In Dogs

Ever wonder why dogs seem to constantly lick things?  Canine licking is a natural behavior for dogs.  But some dogs go a little too far with their licking behavior.  Excessive licking in dogs can become one of many aggravating bad dog habits if your dog overdoes it.  While dogs normally lick each other to say hello, most humans don’t really want a slobbering dog greeting them with a big wet tongue.

Why Do Dogs Lick People?

Since canines can’t talk, it’s up to us as dog owners to figure out why they’re engaging in certain behaviors.  Nothing is ever as simple as it seems, and excessive licking in dogs is no exception.  Your dog may lick you for different reasons at different times, depending on what’s going on around him, and how he feels about it. 

It’s usually pretty easy to tell when your dog is licking you to express affection for you.  You’ll be able to tell from his body language that he’s feeling relaxed.  Everyone’s happy, and nobody is feeling stressed.  An example is when your dog reaches out of the back seat to lick your ear when you’re driving him to the park. 

Another reason for excessive canine licking is that your dog is feeling anxious and stressed-out.  Your dog may cope with upsetting situations in his life with obsessive-compulsive behavior like excessive licking.  He may lick himself until his hair falls out, or he may lick you to the point where he’s driving you crazy.

A very common reason for dog stress is that he’s cooped up inside by himself for hours every day.  Dogs need lots of attention, and lots of time to run and play.  If you’re too busy to spend much time with your dog, you may need to readjust your schedule by getting up earlier in the morning, or by spending more time with him in the evening.  Make the time to play with him, groom him, train him, hang out with him. 

Most people don’t realize how much exercise dogs need in order to burn off excess energy.  A quick ten minutes here and there isn’t enough.  The average dog needs about an hour and a half of exercise a day.  If you don’t have the time, you may need to consider hiring a dog walker to take him out during the day.

How To Stop Dog Licking

You spend lots of time with your dog, and he’s happy and high-spirited and obviously not stressed about anything.  But a slobbering dog is still a problem for you.  What can you do now?

Most of the time, excessive licking in dogs is simply because your dog loves you, and he wants to let you know right now how happy he is to be with you.  When it gets to be too much for you to handle, let him know that he needs to back off by saying “no!” loudly, turning away from him, getting up, and moving away.  Make sure your face is turned completely away from him. 

He’ll probably follow you and start licking you again.  When he does, tell him “no” again, and move away from him.  He’ll probably be persistent, but you’ll just need to be more persistent.  Keep rebuffing his advances, and eventually he’ll get the message.

Now that you’re armed with this information, you know how to stop dog licking, or at least how to slow it down.

Darlene Norris has worked at a vet clinic and an animal shelter, and has had lots of experience with dogs. If you’re dealing with excessive canine licking, visit No More Bad Dogs at to learn about a dog training course that will help to solve your problem.

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