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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've recently adopted my newest kid, Amgio "Miggy", almost three weeks ago.

He's been great in almost every way.

The one exception is..............

He excessively licks me, my boyfriend, and Donatello. Look at it as you will, either be it affection, submission, or "just his thing", but it has got to stop.

Whenever he's around you, he tries desperately to lick lick lick lick lick your face, your mouth, your nose, your hands, your arms... Anything his little tongue can reach. It was cute at first but it is already wearing my patience thin........

He's a smart little cookie in many different ways, and he fits so perfectly into our family, but it's getting to the point I can't thoroughly enjoy his presence because he's licking my face non-stop. I can't just let him sit in my lap, or just hold him without him turning around and smothering me to death.

And let me preface all of this by saying, I have severely sensitive skin, especially the skin on my face, and I'm allergic to dog saliva. Too much of it on my face and I will break out in big, tender, itchy boils/blisters that take days to heal. Since I've had Miggy, my chin and jawline looks like pizza. :( (Gross. I know.)

I feel absolutely awful about finding any complaint about this sweet little dude, but I need some advice from others that have gone through this, or from anyone who has any suggestions.

He's still a skittish little thing and I would like to help curb this "licking habit" sensitively but yet firmly and as quickly as possible.

My face thanks you for any advice. :p

::Edit:: This "licking" thing is something I saw him doing when we visited him at his foster-family. I thought nothing of it then because he was so timid and distracted he wouldn't stay in one room long enough for me to notice and ask about this behavior, and it's not something they mentioned.

::Edit:: And "licking" is not anything I'm accustomed too, as I had to train Donatello to "kiss me". :p
 

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It sounds like a "stress behavior" or an obsession. It's extremely difficult to teach a dog "not" to do something. It's much easier to teach them to do something else. In his case, it might be easier to teach him to lay down for petting or sit facing away from you for petting. Maybe he could be re-directed onto a food toy while you are petting.

Exercise and training little tricks can help a dog tire a little and dispel some stress. A tired dog is a good dog. Knowing how to earn praise through tricks and other behaviors can be reassuring too.

If he were mine, I would either move away from him or set him down quietly whenever the licking started. I would want him to anticipate that licking means the end of cuddle time. Don't punish him, just end the affection.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for your input! :)

My opinion is that it's more like an obsession at this point, but as far as training him to do something for cuddles, that isn't quite working... I'll make him "sit", reach to pet him- [immediate] licking ensues. I pull my hand away he stops, reach for him again... [repeat].

I pick him up to love on him, he starts trying to reach for my face with his tongue and I immediately set him down, he'll jump up at me with his little tongue going licklicklicklick. I can get up walk and away, he usually follows, I give him a minute or two to calm down, reach for him again and it's immediate. *rollingeyes*

He's such an affectionate, happy little bugger, it makes me feel guilty for even asking for help about this, but I can't even love on Donatello anymore without him trying to smother us both, Donatello could care less, but my skin is begging for help.

::Edit:: I've spent two hours at the dog park, walking with him, playing with him and Donatello both, we'll come home, and as he's crashing he'll lay on my chest and tiredly lick my face. It's so cute and annoying at the same time.
 

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I would just put him down every time he does it. If he licks your hand, remove your hand for at least 10 seconds.

I would also work on a "go to your bed" cue, because then if he's being really annoying you can send him to his bed to calm down for a while.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I've been using his kennel, as his quiet zone, for at least now that's his "bed"; I will usually put him in there a couple times a day for no more than 45 minutes to give him and all of us a break; He's 18months old, so I know he's still got a lot of puppy in him.

I am already setting him down or walking away when he starts, and I can tell it's confusing to the little guy, and whenever I come around him or call him to me the licking is like amplified like he's not seen me in FOREVER! lol!

I dunno, I guess it might just take time... If for the last 18months his foster family did nothing to stop this behavior, I guess I can't expect him to change in 3 weeks.
 

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If he were mine, I would either move away from him or set him down quietly whenever the licking started. I would want him to anticipate that licking means the end of cuddle time. Don't punish him, just end the affection.
I have an obsessive licker. I have used it to my advantage before for training (as a reward, the licking was so reinforcing for her, the tricks I've taught her and let her lick me when she did what I wanted are by far her strongest tricks and she learned them the fastest). However, there is nothing more annoying to me when I am trying to show her affection or cuddle with her and her tongue is glued to me. She has been taught "no licks". If she starts licking and I don't want her too, I immediately tell her "No licks" and all petting/attention stops until she's calm. She has gotten much better, but for us I think this will be an ongoing thing (we aren't exactly trying to stop it all together, but we are trying to teach her that there is a time and place she is allowed, but it must stop immediately when asked).
 

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Discussion Starter #7
(we aren't exactly trying to stop it all together, but we are trying to teach her that there is a time and place she is allowed, but it must stop immediately when asked).
That's all I'm looking for.

I taught Donatello to "kiss me" because I'm weird in the way I feel a dog shows it's love by licking, and since he never licked me and almost seemed scared to, I taught him to kiss my nose, but even when he's at his most excited it's only a few licks and he's done, but it makes me feel loved.

With Miggy, I don't mind him licking me on in his own, I'm glad he's happy and affectionate, it's a dog-thing to lick. :) But yes, if there's a way to teach him "no lick" for when I just can't stand it anymore, that would be a blessing!
 

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There is a method that I've found works, and it is 'harmless' but I don't like it because it seems to stop licking altogether.

Go to the new dog owner section and look up the Sticky: The Bite Stops Here, used for training Bite Inhibition and to stop nipping. Read and follow the instructions, substituting licking instead of nipping. If it works with her, she will stop licking. Sometimes if you just make a little Yelp! every time she licks, you may stop it...

If you can get "No-lick" to work, use that method... If not, you might get a Yelp! to do what you want...
 

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I'd give it some time and try training, as this could be stress induced and 3 weeks is still well within the stressed out period for a rescue, but there's also the possibility of OCD*. If nothing seems to be working, there are medications for this sort of thing, which can work in conjunction with training.

Can you treat your own allergy in the meantime? Does zyrtec or claritin or benadryl help at all? If you have insurance, can you get shots at an allergist? My husband's best friend has gotten his life back from severe allergies with shots, but dogs were about the only thing he wasn't allergic to.


*For anyone who wonders why I fixate, I've known two dogs with OCD. One was able to be saved with medication and training, one was allowed/encouraged (it involved a laser pointer and progressed to a fixation with all lights to the point where the dog wouldn't eat, sleep or drink) and had to be pts.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well, I'm not quite sure to think it's just stress induced after seeing him act that way at his foster family's home with them. She reacted to it almost like he wasn't doing it at all, like someone who has succumbed to it as just a way of life. lol!

As for treating my own allergy, it kind of works, and I say kind of because it definitely doesn't clear up any pre-existing, and once my skin becomes inflamed and I take Benadryl, I also try to stop all contact with allergens, so it's hard to say how well it works. I am curious about the Benadryl Cream.
 

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I have an obsessive licker (and infact I've used it for rewards too! LOL I've taught him to fetch with licking as a reward! LOL) I haven't been able to teach her not to lick though, I just block her with a book or something :)
 
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