Does your Boston terrier exercise his tongue more than any other muscle? While that's endearing to some people, most would rather not play the role of a dog’s personal lollipop. Teach your pooch to hold his tongue before it gets you both into trouble.
Just say “no” to licking behavior. Your Boston terrier needs to know that you disapprove of his licking. Use a firm tone of voice to issue verbal commands like “no” or “stop” every time your little licker uses his tongue inappropriately.
Deny attention to your Boston terrier every time he licks inappropriately. Yelling or making a big fuss about the unwanted behavior backfires: Even negative attention can reinforce behavior you hope to eliminate. Immediately after issuing a firm verbal command to interrupt the licking behavior, turn your body and your eyes away from your Boston terrier. Avoid giving your little licker any attention at all while he is licking you.
Reward your canine kisser’s good behavior. Give your Boston terrier immediate reinforcement when he stops licking. Whether you give him affection, attention or a tasty treat, your pooch should know that good things happen to him when he is not licking but he doesn’t get much of anything when he is.
Give your Boston terrier something else to do besides lick. While the Boston terrier breed is notorious for licking behavior, training your dog to perform alternative behaviors can help to reduce and in some cases eliminate licking. If issuing verbal commands to stop and withholding attention do not interrupt your pooch’s licking behavior, command him to perform a different behavior like “sit" or one of his favorite tricks. When he complies with your alternate command, praise your pooch and give him a reward for good behavior. Repeat this step each time until he learns that the alternate behavior is acceptable to you while the licking behavior is not.
Recruit outside help to modify your doting dog’s ways. Some people unknowingly reinforce canine licking behavior by responding to it with attention and affection. Let friends and family members know you are trying to stop your Boston terrier’s licking and explain what you expect them to do (or not do) when they are around your dog, in order to support your efforts.
- Consistency is key. You can’t allow or encourage licking in some situations but forbid it in other situations and expect your dog to understand the difference. If you don’t want your dog to lick, be consistent about teaching him you disapprove of that behavior.
Kristina Barroso is a full-time teacher who has been freelance writing since 1991. She published her first book, a break-up survival guide, in 2007 and specializes in a variety of topics including, but not limited to, relationships and issues in education. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Florida International University.