How to Stop Dog Licking

by Brittany and Suggestion from our Veterinarian on how to stop dog licking

Reader question for our vet on how to stop dog licking


I have a 4 year old, wired haired Jack Russell Terrier named peanut! I adopted her about a year ago and she spent most of her life in a crate before I received her.

I know she loves me dearly and I feel the same way about her! But... She licks me constantly, every chance she gets she licks and licks! Why is that and what can I do to minimize it or stop it all together?


Brittany & Peanut

Vet Suggestion on how to stop dog licking

Hi Brittany & Peanut,

I suspect your Jack Russel is licking you as a sign of affection and as a way to indicate that she is deferring to you as “pack leader.” It is important to remember that she is not being bad, she is relating to you from a totally appropriate point of view, it’s just the way she is expressing herself isn’t ideal.

Start your training sessions after you have spent time with her doing something that doesn’t involve licking (e.g., a walk, tossing a ball, etc.). Then sit on your couch, or wherever it is that she is most likely to lick. When she starts, say “NO” in a firm, low-pitched voice and walk away from her. Ignore her for a minute. When you sit down again, offer her a chew toy, treat, or something else to distract her.

If she focuses on that and doesn’t lick, calmly tell her “good dog.” If she starts to lick you, repeat the “NO,” walk away, and ignore pattern.

Try to end each training session on a good note, even if she only restrained herself for 10 seconds, tell her “good dog” and hand her a treat.


Jennifer Coates, DVM

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Apr 30, 2013
Licker NEW
by: Anonymous

Our jack russell is also a compulsive licker, we use continual reinforcement, she hasn't given it up yet. She does it as a sign of affection, to get our attention, licks any wounds we have or cleans herself like a cat at times :)

Feb 04, 2012
Dog Kisses
by: Michelle Veron

I have a male jack russell I too adopted after being abused. since bringing him home, he stays on my lap, sleeps at my feet, and constantly licks my hand and arms when sitting on my lap, or my feet when we go to bed. I had a severe ankle injury and the licking of the feet got more intense as this was his way of taking care of mama. They are very affectionate dogs and very in tune with the ones they love. if you are depressed or sad, or hurting they will study your eyes and proceed with the kisses. I don't mind it at all, but if you do I might suggest you keep a rawhide chew toy in your pocket and when he starts licking distract him with it instead. but good luck because he is just saying he loves you and is thanking you for giving him a better life!

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