If your German Shepherd has been licking your feet 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 lick your feet and what you can do to get it to stop.
So, why does my German Shepherd lick my feet? Possible reasons are that it’s looking for attention, it’s grooming you, it’s being affectionate, it’s exploring or that it’s compulsive behavior.
There are a number of things that you can consider when trying to figure out why your German Shepherd does it. Depending on the cause, there are also a number of things that you can do about it.
Why your German Shepherd licks your feet
Each of the different reasons why your German Shepherd licks your feet will likely come with a number of clues in the way that it does it.
Below, I will mention a number of reasons why your German Shepherd might lick your feet and the signs to look for.
It wants attention
It could be that your German Shepherd has learned that licking your feet will get a reaction out of you and it is its way of getting attention from you.
To prevent this kind of behavior it will be necessary for you to ignore this type of licking and not to give it attention when it does it. You can then give it attention when it is being well behaved and you can reward it before it starts licking your feet and then stop when it does lick your feet.
It is grooming you
German Shepherds will lick each other German Shepherds in order to groom them. The reason why your German Shepherd licks your feet could be that it is trying to help groom you.
It’s being affectionate
Another common reason why German Shepherds will lick a lot is to show affection. Licking you is its way of letting your feet know that you are part of its tribe and that it trusts you.
Related post: How to tell if your German Shepherd loves you
It is exploring
When German Shepherds are young one of the first ways that they will explore the world is by licking and sniffing things. If your German Shepherd is a puppy then it is likely to be the case that it is exploring when it is liking your feet. The habit of licking things will stay with it as it gets older which is why they will naturally lick quite often.
It could be the case that your German Shepherd is licking your feet or other 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 your feet or something else repeatedly over the course of weeks or months.
It would also be more likely if it started licking your feet 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.
Things to consider
Before trying to get your German Shepherd to lick your feet less it would help to have a good understanding of what is causing it. Below, I will mention a number of things that you can consider.
How often it does it
It would help to consider how often it licks your feet. If it has been licking your feet constantly then it would be more likely to be compulsive behavior and something you’ll want to get help on from a vet or dog behaviorist.
If it does it less often then it would help to consider what is different when it does do it and when it started doing it.
When it started doing it
It would help to consider when your German Shepherd first started licking the floor.
If it started doing it suddenly then it would make it more likely to be due to being anxious or learning that it gets rewards. It would help to consider what else happened at around the same time that it started to lick your feet.
When it does it
The timing of when your German Shepherd licks your feet would also be useful to consider.
For example, if it seems to start licking your feet when it hasn’t gotten any exercise then it might be doing it because it wants you to give it exercise. 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 your feet
There are a number of things that you can do in order to get your German Shepherd to stop licking your feet that I will mention below.
You can look at the book Training Your German Shepherd on Amazon to get more tips about how you can train your GSD.
Don’t reward it
If you think that your German Shepherd might be licking your feet to get attention from you then the best option for you would be to ignore it.
If you just ignore it for long enough so that it stops licking your feet then that is all you need to do after that you can give it attention again.
The idea is that it will learn that licking you won’t get the things that it wants. It would also help to give it attention before it starts licking and then to stop when it does so that it is easier for it to learn that licking your feet causes it to lose your attention.
Reward it for not licking your feet
Another way to encourage it not to lick your feet is to reward it for not doing so. By doing that you will be able to reinforce the good behavior that you want.
You can watch the video below to see how to do it.
Give it distractions
You could also give it lots of toys to play with or chews to chew on and be distracted by. By doing this it will focus on them instead of licking you. Despite that, if you want it to get it to stop licking your feet completely, then it will still be necessary for you to train it like in the video above.
Give it exercise
German Shepherds are a breed that require a lot of exercise to be properly stimulated. If they don’t get enough exercise then it can cause them to become bored and to look for ways to entertain themselves. One of these ways might involve licking. So, if you want to get the licking to stop then it will be necessary for you to give it lots of exercise.
Generally, it is recommended to give a German Shepherd an hour of exercise per day since they are a very active breed.
One good way to give your German Shepherd a lot of exercise would be to teach it to play fetch. By doing so you will be able to wear it out quickly since it involves a lot of sprinting without much rest in between. Teaching your German Shepherd to play fetch can be difficult but I go through it step by step here.
Take it to a vet
If you can’t figure out why your German Shepherd keeps licking your feet or you can’t get it to stop then it would help to take it to a vet where you will be able to get expert help.
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Our favorite: The Dunbar Academy Training Program. If you want a happy and obedient dog, this is one of the best online dog training programs available right now.
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Our favorite: The German Shepherd Handbook - Shows you all you need to know to keep your GSD happy, healthy and well-behaved.