If your German Shepherd has a habit of licking you a lot you’re probably wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will try to help you to figure out why it is doing it and how to stop it.
So, why does your German Shepherd lick you so much? There are a number of reasons why your German Shepherd might lick you a lot. Two main reasons are grooming and affection. Other possible reasons include dehydration, stress or anxiety, boredom, sickness, exploration and attention seeking.
And, how to get your German Shepherd to stop licking? The best way to get it to stop licking will depend on why it is licking. Common methods include, not giving it attention when it licks, rewarding it for not licking, giving it toys to lick instead, giving it lots of exercise and taking it to the vet.
There are actually a number of reasons why your German Shepherd might lick a lot. The best way to get it to stop will depend on why it is doing it.
Why your German Shepherd could be licking so much
There are a number of reasons why your German Shepherd might lick I will try to mention a number of them below.
One of the main reasons why they will lick is that they will often groom themselves by licking. They will also groom each other such as when the mother licks her pups. This is why they will often lick you as well.
Another common reason why German Shepherds will lick a lot is to show affection. Licking you is its way of letting you know that you are part of its tribe and that it trusts you.
This type of licking is normal and to be expected especially when you try to pet it.
Related post: How to tell if your German Shepherd loves you
German Shepherds will also commonly lick when they are excited. Dogs will often exaggerate their excitement and licking you is a way to let you know just how happy it is. This type of licking will normally happen when you try to give it attention, when you take it for a walk or when you get home.
Hunger or dehydration
Hunger and dehydration could be the cause of the licking. If this is the case, then it is likely that it will be licking its lips a lot. If you think that it is the case then make sure to give it more water and food. If it goes for the water quickly then it probably was the reason and you should make sure to give it access to water more often. There are a lot of other warning signs that your German Shepherd might be dehydrated and you can read about them here.
Stress or anxiety
The cause of the licking could be due to stress or anxiety. This type of licking will often come after a recent stressful event such as if it lost a friend or family member, its owner changed, it was treated badly or if you moved home.
Related post: Why is my German Shepherd so anxious?
German Shepherds were bred to work alongside humans and be very active dogs. If your German Shepherd is not getting much exercise then it could be that it’s licking a lot due to boredom. If this is the case then be sure to give it lots of regular exercise if it isn’t getting it already.
Sickness could also be causing the licking. When you’re sick you can get a bad taste in the mouth, this can happen to German Shepherds as well so the licking might be its way of getting the taste out of its mouth. If you think that this might be the reason then take it to the vet and make sure that it has access to water.
When German Shepherds are young one of the first ways that they will explore the world is by licking. This habit will stay with it as it gets older which is why they will naturally lick quite often.
It could be that your German Shepherd has learned that licking you 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.
It’s still young
If your German Shepherd is still young then it will naturally be more energetic, playful and explorative. With that being the case, it’s also natural for it to lick a lot more as well.
How to get your German Shepherd to stop licking
There are a number of things that you can do to get your German Shepherd to stop licking that I will mention below.
Don’t reward it
If you think that your German Shepherd might be licking you 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 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.
Reward it for not licking
Another way to encourage it not to lick you 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 toys
You could also give it lots of toys to play with and be distracted by. By doing this it will focus on licking them instead of licking you. Despite that, if you want it to get it to stop licking you completely, then it will still be necessary for you to train it like in the video above.
Give it lots of exercise
German Shepherds are a breed that needs 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.
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.
Fix any pain
If you think that it might be ill, injured or in some kind of pain then the best thing for you to do would be to take it to the vet.
Licking is a natural way for German Shepherds to communicate. With that being the case, it will be difficult for you to get it to stop licking completely but it is possible to get it to reduce but you should be prepared for it to take more than one training session.
Things to consider
When you’re getting your German Shepherd to reduce its licking there are some things that you should keep in mind that I will mention below.
Don’t let them lick your face
Despite the fact that German Shepherds will often try to lick your face to show their affection you should avoid letting them do so. The reason for this is that they might have licked something that has germs on and you’ll be risking having these germs spread to you if you let it lick your face.
It helps to start young
Even though German Shepherds will naturally lick more when they’re young you should still take measures to prevent it. The reason being that as puppies their habits won’t be as ingrained yet and they will be more willing to let you change their behavior. It’s also important since it will teach it that you are the one in charge and it will encourage it to listen to you.
If you can’t figure out why your German Shepherd is licking a lot or you can’t get it to stop then consider getting help from a dog behaviorist.
Why does my German Shepherd lick me in the morning? If your German Shepherd has a habit of licking you in the morning then it could be its way of letting you know that it’s time to get up and that it’s hungry, thirsty and that it wants to go outside to pee. To reduce this you could try letting it out to pee right before bed, giving it lots of exercise and getting it used to getting up later.
Why is my German Shepherd licking itself excessively suddenly? If your German Shepherd’s licking has come on suddenly then it could be due to anxiety, being sick or being injured. Your best option would be to start by taking it to a vet to look at it.
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