My dog licks everything — furniture, clothes and me! How do I get her to stop?
The first step in solving any behavior problem is to make an appointment with your veterinarian; it’s possible your dog is struggling with an unseen health issue. A dog who is constantly licking may just need something better to do, but she could be suffering from gastric reflux, allergies, or other ailments. A thorough veterinary checkup will help you rule out physical reasons for the behavior.
Constant licking can occur for many reasons. As with most annoying dog habits, the key is to focus on what you’d like your dog to do, not what you’d like her to stop doing. Try stuffing a Kong toy with kibble, mashed potato, or bits of chopped up leftovers and freezing it. Give her the Kong when you’re watching TV (or at other times she’s likely to start licking), and praise her for focusing on her new activity.
You can also hide little pieces of kibble or treats around the house for her to “hunt” and find (you might need to teach her that game — make it fun and exciting, and praise her like she’s found gold each time she discovers a treat). If she enjoys bones, chewies (ask your vet before giving rawhide, which can contain harmful chemicals and cause choking), or squeaky toys, try giving her one of those at a time when she’d typically be licking. The key is to think of the behavior you’d like her to do, give her the opportunity to do so, and then genuinely praise her for making a good decision.