It is common for dogs to lick their owners and it is even more so in puppies. As a communication tool, licking is therefore generally normal but it does not always please, especially if it is a little too frequent or the dog is licking a person’s face. It is also undesirable because humans can be infested by the saliva of a dog. Let’s take stock and see if it’s possible to teach a dog not to lick a human.
Licking in dogs: meaning
The action of licking a person is, in dogs, a behaviort which is reproduced more or less frequently in certain circumstances. According to behaviorists or better still ethologists whose role is to scientifically study the behavior of animals, licking a person can express:
- The search for a Warning peculiar: this is how the dog licks its master or other members of the family, but also sometimes people foreign to its foster home. It is the licking similar to that which the puppy uses with his mother in order to beg for the right to suck for example or because he wants her to cuddle him.
- The expression of joy or satisfaction : the dog happy to be congratulated by his master or who understands that a walk is imminent can communicate his joy by generous licks. In these specific cases, the licks are often distributed across the face.
- The search for a soothing effect : a dog who licks a person can find in this act the appeasement to his stress, and it is often by licking himself that he also calms down. It is a sign that can help identify a anguish in a canine elsewhere.
Anyway, when a dog licks a human, it is never to appease a negative situation whereas this is common between canines because in this case, the licking is a kind of appeasement ritual following a brawl. In this case, it represents a kind of defusing an aggression.
Licking is considered normal except when it is excessive, even compulsive, a shade that makes all the difference. If in doubt, it is best to take your dog to a veterinarian behaviorist so that a diagnosis can be made.
The dog who licks a person: diseases transmissible by his saliva
Licking is a form of communication in dogs, but it is still preferable for them to lick a person as little as possible. The saliva of a dog naturally contains a bacterium (Capnocytophaga canimorsus) transmissible to humans during a bite, but not only since it suffices to lick even a minimal wound on the hand or on the face for example, or even without there being any obvious “gateway” to find yourself in a situation that can be dramatic. Indeed, the problem is that theblood infection which results from this can then very quickly require amputation and even kill a person in just a few days.
But even apart from the danger of Capnocytophaga canimorsus for humans, the dog is an animal which has an annoying tendency to easily lick everything around it (including carrion and feces). Its mouth is undoubtedly infected with germs and bacteria of all kinds. Common sense therefore implies that we avoid being licked by a dog, and if this happens, we wash our hands very carefully and any part of the body or face on which the animal has stuck its tongue or simply slobbered. .
Dog training: teach him not to lick a person
Licking can be considered a real nuisance, as well as unwanted barking which ends up being intolerable. Many humans find it very unpleasant to be licked by a dog. And it’s a self-respecting feeling. It is indeed unbearable to end up with your hands, face or feet full of drool, even if there are masters who do not understand that one can take offense.
However, it must be recognized that if this remains acceptable in the case of a puppy (provided it is occasional), the situation may become problematic with an adult dog, all the more if the animal is insistent. . The best is to pass this desire on to his little companion, knowing that it is preferable that he does not make a habit of it. Education issue… But how to do it ?
The important thing is not to make the mistake of scolding or punishing the licking dog because theeducation must always be positive. Saying curtly “No” every time he is about to lick is essential. At the same time, it is necessary to train him to adopt a derivative behavior and to reward him with words, a caress or possibly a treat each time the desired result is obtained.
Let us not forget that it is with these congratulations that we manage to motivate a dog. The owner must therefore direct his animal to the game or a sports activity so that he finally stops licking. This divert his attention while allowing him to let off steam. If the licks allowed him to express stress or the desire to be taken care of, it’s won.