If your German Shepherd has been licking everything you might be wondering why and what you can do about it.

This post will show you a number of reasons why your German Shepherd might be doing it and what you can do about it.

So, why does my German Shepherd lick everything? Possible reasons are that it is thirsty, it’s actually trying to smell things, it wants attention or it might be stressed or anxious.

There are a number of things that you can consider when trying to figure out why your German Shepherd licks everything. There are also a number of things that you can do about it depending on the cause.

Why your German Shepherd licks everything

Each of the different reasons why your German Shepherd does it will likely come with a number of clues.

Below, I will mention a number of reasons why your German Shepherd might be doing it and the signs to look for.

It’s thirsty or hungry

The reason why it has been licking everything could be that it is thirsty or hungry. This would be more likely if it does it when it does not have access to water especially if it does it right after being active or when it is hot outside.

It’s trying to smell

German Shepherds have a keen sense of smell and they use their noses a lot to gather information about things as discussed in this post. It might be the case that your German Shepherd isn’t actually licking things. Rather, it might be trying to smell things a lot which would be perfectly normal.

It’s greeting you

The reason why it licks you a lot is likely to be that it is trying to greet you. It could also be that it is trying to groom you since that is how it would groom its brothers and sisters.

It wants attention

It could be the case that it has realized that licking things gets it attention so it does it in order to get attention. This would be more likely if you tend to give it attention when it licks things and if it does it when you have not been giving it much attention.

Compulsive behavior

It could be the case that your German Shepherd is licking things compulsively. This is where your German Shepherd has an irresistible urge to repeat the behavior. This would be more likely to be the case if your German Shepherd has been licking certain things repeatedly over the course of weeks or months.

It would also be more likely if it started licking things excessively when something happened that would cause it to develop behavioral issues.

Possible things that could have happened could include:

  • Someone mistreated it
  • Another dog was aggressive towards it
  • It was separated from another dog

Look here for more information about compulsive behavior in dogs.

It has something in its fur

If it tends to lick its fur a lot then it could be the case that it has something stuck in it, there are fleas or it might have allergies.

It’s anxious

The cause could be that it is anxious. The reason why it might be anxious could be that there is someone around that it does not like, it moved homes recently or it is frightened of something else.

This would be more likely if something triggers it to do it such as the doorbell ringing. It would also be more likely if it does it repeatedly in the same area such as on the floor or the couch and there is no food there.

Things to consider

Before getting your German Shepherd to stop licking everything it would help to have a good understanding of what is causing it.

When it first started doing it

It would help to consider when your German Shepherd first started doing it.

If it always has licked things a lot then it would be more likely to be natural behavior.

Whereas, if it started doing it suddenly then it would make it more likely to be due to being anxious, ill or it might have gotten something in its fur. It would help to consider what else happened at around the same time that it started to lick everything.

When it does it

The timing of when your German Shepherd licks things would also be useful to consider.

For example, if it seems to start licking things when it doesn’t have access to water then it would be much more likely to be due to being thirsty. Whereas, if it only seems to do it when a certain person is around then it might be anxious.

How to get your German Shepherd to stop licking everything

There are a number of things that you can do to get your German Shepherd to stop licking things that I will mention below.

Take it to a vet

The first option that you have would be to take it to the vet where you will be able to get expert advice and you’ll be able to make sure that it is not ill. This would be especially important if your German Shepherd has been acting unusually in other ways as well.

Give it distractions

Another option you have is to give it things to be distracted with such as toys to play with or chews to chew on.

Use positive reinforcement training

You can also use positive reinforcement training to train it to stop licking things. This is where you reward your German Shepherd for doing things that you want it to do.

To use positive reinforcement training to get it to stop licking everything you would tell it to sit or come and you then reward it when it does not lick things when it normally would. I have written about how you can teach your German Shepherd to come here.

You can watch more on how to make use of positive reinforcement training to get it to stop licking in the video below.

Give it lots of exercise

Since your German Shepherd might be licking things due to being bored it would help to make sure that it gets enough exercise. Generally, it is recommended that a German Shepherd get at least an hour of exercise per day. you can give it exercise by walking it, playing fetch with it or by having a dog walker do it for you.

Give it access to water

Since it might be licking things due to being thirsty it would also help to make sure that it has access to water whenever it needs it.

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