Is your german shepherd licking? If so then it’s likely you’re looking for a way to stop them doing it. Fortunately, stopping them isn’t as hard as you may think, and if you follow this article you’ll stop them licking in no time!
Not only are you going to stop them licking, but you’ll also find out why they do it in the first place, what to avoid doing, and whether it’s safe for them to lick!
So keep reading to find out everything you need to know!
Why Is Your German Shepherd Licking?
Before you can stop your german shepherd licking, it’s important to understand why they’re doing it in the first place. After all, if you can figure that out then it can often help you come up with the best solution.
With that being said, here are all the different reasons your pup might be licking! And after that, we’ll move on to how to stop it!
You Taste Nice
One common reason that your german shepherd will lick you is that you taste nice. This is the simplest reason but it’s also fairly common. In fact, you may notice that your pup licks your hands a lot more after you’ve been preparing food.
But they may also be licking when you’ve exercised or your sweating. Because they probably like the taste of salt in your sweat.
You Reward Them
Another reason your german shepherd is licking is that you reward them when they do. For example, when my dog used to lick me I’d normally grab her and play with her for a little bit. When you do this you’re teaching them that licking gets them positive attention.
And even if you’re not rewarding them you’re still giving them attention. Some dogs don’t mind if they get negative or positive attention, to them even being told to stop or pushed away is still a form of attention they like.
Sometimes a german shepherd licking isn’t for a bad reason at all, they may just be grooming themselves. Cleaning and grooming is perfectly normal in dogs as it is for cats (although they don’t do it nearly as much).
So if you notice your german shepherd licking themselves, then you don’t need to worry right away. Just as long as they’re not doing it too much.
To Understand Their Surroundings
Unlike humans who rely solely on their sight and hearing to understand their surroundings, dogs use all of the senses a lot more often. For example, if they’re smelling another dog’s urine, or where they’ve marked their territory, they may even lick it to get a better understanding.
For example, if your dog licks the urine of a dog that has been neutered, then they may not see them as such a big threat.
If your german shepherd is wounded, then may lick to help heal the wound. Your dog’s saliva has anti-bacterial properties, they help them keep wounds clean and uninfected.
However, while it has the potential to stop the wound from getting worse, it’s far from perfect. You should still avoid letting your german shepherd lick their wounds too much. It can often make them work, and it’s not going to be nearly as effective as an antiseptic.
(This is often the case when you notice them licking or chewing their paws.)
They’re Showing Affection
Your dog may be licking you specifically because they’re showing that they love you. This is one of the most common reasons that a german shepherd will lick you, and although it can get tiresome pretty quickly, you should always appreciate it.
While it’s not as common, some german shepherds may keep barking due to compulsive behavior. Just like humans, dogs can suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder. If you think that your dog is suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder then you should take them to the vets or professional.
As well as licking, you may also notice they are constantly biting or scratching as well as other ticks too.
How Do You Stop Your German Shepherd Licking?
Stopping a german shepherd licking doesn’t have to be hard. In, fact listed below is plenty of different methods you can try to get them to stop licking. But before you use a method, you should try to figure out why your german shepherd is licking in the first place.
Here are all the different ways you can stop a german shepherd licking.
Make Your Skin Less Tasty
If your german shepherd is constantly licking your skin, then one of the things you can do is make it less tasty for them. If you’ve been doing exercise make sure you shower right away to remove any salt from your skin. And if you’re cooking make sure you clean your hands properly afterward.
Lastly, you should also consider changing the shower gel you’re using. Dogs typically hate citrus, so switching to a citrus flavor shower gel could deter your pup from licking.
Next time you’re with your german shepherd and they start licking you, try ignoring them completely. This doesn’t mean sitting there and letting them lick you, but rather moving out of their reach, instead of giving them attention.
Use Bitter Spray
If your german shepherd isn’t licking you, but things around them, then using a bitter spray is a great method of getting them to stop.
You can spray it on any surfaces your german shepherd licks, or anything that you don’t want them to lick (including their paws for example).
I like to use Grannicks Bitter Apple Spray but there are many options on the market.
Make Sure You’re Exercising Them Enough
If your german shepherd is licking things then it could just be because they’re bored. When you don’t exercise them enough, they’re going to be looking for something to do, which can include licking things in your house, themselves, or you.
So make sure you’re taking them out for long walks every day. 1 hour is great but 2 hours is ideal. And if possible you should let them off the lead. While this is easier said than done there are other things you can do to keep their brain active.
For example, giving them puzzle toys like a KONG can be a great way to stop licking. Or you can also train them as well!
One of the best ways you can get your german shepherd to stop licking is by training them not too. Getting them to understand the command ‘no’ is one of the fundamentals all dogs need.
If you’re not sure how to train your german shepherd, then you should check out Brain Training For Dogs! It’s a training program based on positive reinforcement over punishment, which gives much better results.
Check out my review of Brain Training For Dogs to find out more.
Walk Away From Them
Next time your german shepherd licks you, simply walking away from them can be an effective method for getting them to stop. Not only will it stop the licking, but it will also show them they don’t get the attention they want from licking you, instead, they’ll only get ignored.
Praise Them When They’re Being Good
This is another great way to get your german shepherd to stop licking. And it’s something you can do most of the time. When your german shepherd is being particularly good, such as sitting patiently, then make a fuss of them and praise them.
If they start licking, stop and wait for them to be good again. Doing this will show them that the right behavior gets the rewards they want.
Put Something In Their Mouth
Another effective method is putting something in your pup’s mouth when they try to lick. This is easiest when there’s a toy at hand. This way you teach them that they can’t lick you, but they should stimulate their mouths with toys and other things instead.
Once again a KONG is a great way to do this, because there’s food inside that gives them an incentive.
Try Using Pheremones
If your german shepherd is suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder, some people believe that using pheromones can be an effective way of calming them down and making them happier.
It is important to note there isn’t a lot of scientific evidence to back this up, however, there’s no harm in trying and seeing if you get results from doing so. Normally you can pick up plugin adaptors relatively cheap off Amazon.
Another way to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder is to give your german shepherd medication. If you’re going to do this make sure that you consult your vet first. They’ll be able to tell you if it’s best for them, or if there’s something better you should try.
Generally, there are other methods you may be able to try before medication, however, if your vet thinks it’s best, then it’s a worthwhile step.
Keep Them Occupied
And lastly, one of the best things you can do is make sure you’re keeping your pup occupied throughout the day! As previously mentioned, one of the main reasons your german shepherd might lick is because of boredom.
If you want to stop them licking then you need to make sure they’re not getting bored. This means giving them lots of toys to play with and spending time with them.
What Should You Avoid Doing?
There are also a few things you should definitely avoid doing as well. If you do any of these things you may stop the problem, but worse problems might crop up.
Never Hit Them
One thing you should never do when training your dog is hit them or hurt them in any way. While doing this will often stop the behavior, it will cause a deep mistrust and fear in your german shepherd.
This can often show itself in other behaviors such as defensive behaviors which include growling, barking, and sometimes biting.
There are much better ways to train your pup, and hurting them should never enter the equation.
Avoid Shouting At Them
When you shout at your german shepherd, they might not realize why you’re doing it. And in some cases, they may begin barking to try and join in. Shouting is rarely effective and all it does is encourage other bad behaviors in your german shepherd.
And remember, even if it does stop them, you’re still giving them attention. They may continue to lick because they want attention from you. It doesn’t matter whether it’s good or bad.
Don’t Use Shock Collars
Some people often recommend using shock collars as well. However, their results are questionable and they’re not the most humane methods of teaching either.
In some instances, when you use a shock collar, your german shepherd won’t realize what they’re being shocked for. And they may end up associating the shock with another irrelevant behavior.
For these two reasons, shock collars are often best avoided.
Is It Safe To Let Your German Shepherd Lick You?
If you let your german shepherd lick you then the chances are you’re going to be fine. However, it’s always best to avoid it when you can to reduce the risk of you and your family getting sick. While it is rare, your german shepherd can still pass bacteria onto you and your family which can cause illness to occur.
If your german shepherd does lick you, make sure you wash your hands afterward, and try not to let them lick your face or mouth.
Now you know all the reasons your german shepherd is licking as well as ways you can get them to stop. Remember in most cases, you should use positive training over punishment for best results.
And if you think that your german shepherds licking is obsessive or there’s a reason they’re doing it, make sure you take them to the vets!
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