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Canine Behavior/My dachshund.


My 4-year-old female dachshund Marta has a habit since I can remember. It hasn't bothered me in the past, but lately I have noticed increased activity of said habit. The habit is, is that she likes to lick me. Usually she just finds a patch of skin naked from clothes (usually arms) and she just licks away. The reason it's bothering me now, is because she will not stop when I tell her to. She used to stop when I told her and go off to play with a ball or just sleep, but now when I tell her to stop she'll stop for a few minutes and then she's back licking.
Is this something to be worried about or normal?
Thank you in advance,

Thank you for your question. There are a couple of things that could be going o with Marta.

First - if she's consistently picking the very same spot on you and will not leave it alone, you should have a check-up with your doctor. Dogs have been known to sniff out growths and such on their people and it was only the persistent investigation by the dog that brought it to the person's attention. So, if she's really only going after one spot or two spots, but no other - even if other areas are accessible to her - then you should have a doctor make sure you're healthy.

Assuming that you're healthy.... it sounds like attention seeking. Whenever we tell a dog "No", we must also tell them what the "Yes" option is. It's not enough to tell her "enough" or "stop now" and expect her to stop altogether. In my home, one person gets a lot of licking attention from one of my dogs. His fingers tend to be tasty from whatever he's eaten. My dog will lick and lick and lick. The person will say "Enough." and pull his hand away, only to put it right back in the exact same spot. To the dog, this becomes a game and as soon as the hand is back in place, the licking resumes.

So, if you're telling your dog "Enough" or "stop", you need to move the body part out of reach. This may require you to change positions. But, you also have to give her something to do instead of licking you. It's not sufficient to just tell her "go play" you need to engage with her for a few minutes. Get out a toy and play tug or fetch with her. Or give her some cuddle time with pets and belly rubs if she likes those things. If you really can't be disturbed at that moment, then give her what I call a sit-quiet-and-color activity - something that she will happily engage with for a long period of time. This may be a Kong toy stuffed with food, a marrow bone either empty if she likes to chew on the bones, or stuffed with food like the Kong, an antler, a Bully Stick, a Nylabone or any other item that can engage her for at least 20 minutes so that she has somewhere to focus that attention.

You can also feed all her meals in food dispensing toys such as the Kong, or a Kong Wobbler or a Tricky Treat Ball or other similar toys (I don't know if you get in your country, but if you do, under "pet supplies" put in "food dispensing toys for dogs" and you'll find pages of them. You can also search specifically for the toy names I've mentioned in this response).

If you're using a Kong stuffed with food (or a stuffed marrow bone), then make sure that it's part of her daily ration of food and not extra food. We don't want Marta to become obese in our efforts to distract her from licking you.

She may also be anxious and licking is soothing for her. So make sure that she's feeling safe and secure. Make sure you're spending time with your attention on her, playing with her, walking her, loving her and not just in the same room, but focused on other things. She needs undivided attention from you every day. This can be 2 or 3 minutes several times per day that's truly undivided rather than 1-2 hours at a time. Spreading it out and giving her activities to do in between can help her feel involved all day long, rather than waiting all day for her special time.

I hope this proves helpful. Please feel free to followup if I can be of further assistance.

Los Angeles Behaviorist

Canine Behavior

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Jody Epstein, MS, CPDT-KA


IF YOU BELIEVE YOUR DOG IS ILL OR INJURED, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL VETERINARIAN IMMEDIATELY. THIS IS NOT THE FORUM TO ADDRESS URGENT MEDICAL ISSUES. I AM NOT A LICENSED VET AND HAVE NO DIAGNOSTIC SKILLS. ***I have been answering questions on All Experts for over 8 years now. I enjoy being able to offer assistance in this forum. I do need to be clear, though. If you’re looking for free advice about a specific behavior question, you MUST submit your question to me via All Experts. If you bypass All Experts and write to me directly through my website, I will ask you to submit via All Experts. On the flip side, if you’re local to Los Angeles and you wish to speak to me privately about an in person consultation, please go through my website. I appreciate your assistance in keeping my volunteer work on the volunteer site.*** I can answer questions about the following canine behavior issues: obedience, timid/fearful & fear-based aggression, nuisance behaviors, families that are expanding with either new human or new animal members and many other issues. If you have potty training questions please first read my trio of blogs at If you still have questions after reading the blogs you can post your specific questions here. PLEASE be as specific as possible when asking a question. Give me a detailed example of the situation - dog's behavior, body language, circumstances surrounding the issue, what the consequences are (another dog's response, your response), etc. I can only provide insight if I can get a picture of the whole scenario. If I ask for further details, please provide them. In person I would normally observe for at least 90 minutes to assess the situation and the dynamics before offering tools and suggestions to modify it. In writing it is ever so much more difficult. Thank you for your participation in the process.


I have been a professional obedience trainer for 9 years, and specializing in behavior modification for 8 years. I have owned dogs my entire life. I own my own dog training and behavior modification business called Nutz About Mutz.

I am a Certified Profession Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA), #2133301 ; I am a member in good standing with the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), #77763 ; I am an AKC certified Canine Good Citizen evaluator (CGC), #71253

Publications ; ; Multiple articles in the local pet magazine Pet Press (found across Southern California)

I have a masters degree (MS) in Animals and Public Policy, with a minor in Animal Behavior, from Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. I also have 3 years of graduate education in Animal Behavior and Learning from UM-Missoula and UL-Lafayette. I continue to educate myself to canine-specific behavior through extensive reading, online interactive workshops, vidoes and attending canine behavior conferences, workshops and seminars. Beginning in March, 2017, I will be the Behavior & Training Manager at Second Chance Center for Animals in Flagstaff, AZ.

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