This type of problem is quite common with an australien shepherd, and while it can be seen as a touching sign of affection, it can indeed be annoying on a daily basis.
Most of the time, a simple readjustment of his behavior through dog training exercises can be enough to make it disappear.
Understand why the dog licks!
Licking is an integral part of a dog’s life. It should therefore not be taken lightly, and contains a wide range of meanings:
Life and Affection
From the moment the Australian Shepherd puppy is born, the mother communicates “life” to him by licking him. She stimulates his breathing, grooms him, etc. On her side, the puppy uses his mother’s licking to feed himself (food regurgitated by the mother).
Within a pack, the dominated lick the dominant(s) to show their respect. The licking may be a signal of appeasement to calm skirmishes.
An “Affair of Taste”
A dog may lick a person because he appreciates the taste of the person’s skin, or simply out of habit. Maybe a blue merle Australian shepherd tastes better than a tricolor? Go figure!
A search for comfort and pleasure
Just like certain human behaviors, licking a person can be a way for the dog to reach a state of satisfaction, by the release of endorphin (pleasure molecule) by the brain following this act.
How can I prevent my Australian shepherd from licking?
If your Australian Shepherd Dog licks you (or any other breed of dog) to show you his affection, an effective way to reduce this behavior is to ignore the licking. As the animal no longer receives your attention, it will gradually stop this act.
Get up and leave the room. Be careful, it is important that you do not look at your dog as you walk away. Also ask all members of your family / household to do the same. The goal is to offer him no communication when he is behaving in an undesirable way.
What if an Australian Shepherd Dog is licking for a health problem?
If your dog licks himself (paws, tail, flanks or any other part of the body) chronically, this may be due to a psychological problem (boredom, anxiety) or a health problem (skin allergies, pain). If this condition persists, do not hesitate to consult your dog trainer or veterinarian.
You now know all about why the Australian shepherd licks and can’t do without it! Don’t let it become a behavioral disorder.