How to Train Your Dog to Give Kisses

How to Train Your Dog to Give Kisses
Easy difficulty iconEasy
Time icon3-14 Days
Fun training category iconFun

Introduction

Everyone’s over and while they love your cute dog, they want to see more than the standard ‘sit’ and ‘down’. You need a new party trick to keep them entertained and since he’s so cute and cuddly, training him to give kisses would be a neat new trick. Not to mention, when you come home from work it would be nice if you could give him a cuddle and a kiss.

Admittedly, you don’t want him getting too forward with his kisses, as his mouth makes contact with some rather unpleasant things. Too much doggie saliva will either boost your immune system, or give you an unpleasant illness. The gamble is on you! The odd doggie kiss will be just a fun trick though, and it will also make training him to do other things easier too.

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Defining Tasks

This trick is well worth teaching because it’s nice and straightforward. The main hurdle is conveying to him what you want him to do, but once he understands you’ll never struggle to get a kiss on Valentine's day again. If he’s a puppy, his brain will be receptive and he should learn the new trick in a matter of days. If he’s older and not quite the intellectual he once was, then be prepared to spend a week or two on training. 

Aside from being an awesome party trick and a cute way to show your affection for each other, this training comes with another bonus. The more training and obedience commands you do with him, the quicker he will learn other tricks, from ‘roll over’ to ‘bed’. If you really want to get a giggle, put some doggie lipstick on him and instruct him to kiss your mother-in-law.

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Getting Started

Before you begin training, you’ll need a few basic things. His favorite food or treats will be the most important component. Peanut butter or cream cheese will also play a big role. You will use them all to motivate and reward him. You’ll also need a quiet 5-10 minutes a day to practice for the next week or so.

You’ll also need a pad of small colored sticky notes (more on that later). Patience and an upbeat attitude will also make training a more enjoyable experience. 

Once you’ve got those bits together you’re ready to get going!

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The Peanut Butter Method

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Up close and personal

Place a small amount of peanut butter or cream cheese on your cheek. Don’t worry, he will soon leave your cheek cleaner than ever before! Once you’ve applied it to your cheek, get down on your knees so you’re at his level.

2

Give him a ‘kiss’ command

You don’t have to use that particular word you can use anything you fancy, just keep it relatively short.

3

Let his tongue take care of the rest

Simply lean in and let him take care of the rest. If his nose is working he’ll quickly make his way to your face and lick off the whole lot.

4

Praise and reward

As soon as he’s licked off the peanut butter or cream cheese, give him another treat as a reward and lots of praise. It’s important he thinks the whole thing is one big game. So keep it happy and playful, that way he’ll learn quickly. Practice this several times a day for the first couple of days.

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Decrease the reward

Once he has the hang of it, you can cut down on the frequency of treats and gradually put less peanut better on your cheek, until none is needed. He will soon associate the word with the action, the action will become habit and the food incentive will no longer be needed.

The Natural Reinforcement Method

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'Kisses'

Whenever he licks you naturally, tell him ‘kisses’ or whichever verbal command you would like. By reinforcing the behavior he does naturally with a verbal cue, you’ll be able to trigger a kiss on your terms in the future. Keep this up every time he kisses you or anyone else in the family.

2

Plenty of praise

Once he’s given you a good lick, give him a treat and lots of praise. The better the reward the more eager he will be to repeat the behavior for more treats.

3

Reinforce with a clicker

If you have a clicker, use it each time he licks you. This will further reinforce the behavior and help him associate the action with the verbal cue.

4

The verbal cue

After a few days, try giving the verbal command when he isn’t already licking you. If you’ve been practicing, he will understand what you want, and realize there’s a treat waiting for him if he puckers up. Be sure to quickly reward him and praise him after he completes the trick successfully.

5

Reduce the rewards

Once he’s got the hang of it, you can slowly reduce the frequency of treats. As the behavior becomes habit, you’ll no longer need to rely on a tasty reward to get him to kiss you. The cue alone should be enough.

The Sticky Notes Method

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The sticky note target

Place a sticky note on the end of your forefinger and hold it in front of him. Make sure you’ve got a pocket full of treats too. Keep the sticky note in front of him and encourage him to touch it with his face.

2

Give the 'Kisses' command

As you are encouraging, give a ‘kisses’ command. This will be the verbal cue that will trigger kisses in the future, so say it in a playful but firm voice.

3

Heavy on the praise

As soon as he touches it with his mouth, give him a treat and lots of praise. The sticky note is going to act as a target. Really hammer home the praise so he knows he has performed the right action. Practice this for the first day or two.

4

Move the target

Experiment with putting the sticky note in a variety of places around the house. Again use the verbal command and ensure he knows that when he sees the note and hears the command he heads straight over to touch it with his mouth. Each time he does, reward him accordingly.

5

Up close and personal

Now place the sticky note on your cheek and give the command. You’ll need to get down on his level and be accessible. As soon as he kisses you, reinforce the behavior with a treat. As he gets the hang of it, you can lose the sticky note and just use the verbal cue. Once he kisses you without the sticky note you can slowly reduce the frequency of treats until tasting your cheek is enough of a reward.

By James Barra

Published: 10/15/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Willow

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Yorkshire Terrier

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10 Weeks

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Question

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Willow is very bity. Every time we try to play with her or pet she goes straight to biting and chewing on our hands and feet and everything around her. She also bites your face if you get it close to her or reachable to her.

April 8, 2022

Willow's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Edwarda, I believe I addressed the first half of your question in my previous response. Once pup is biting less, to teach pup to lick you instead as a kiss, I would first teach her to kiss an object on command before teaching her to kiss you. Put a little dab of something dog safe and sticky like peanut butter or soft cheese (avoid xylitol sweetener in peanut butter - its extremely toxic to dogs). Point to the dot of peanut butter while commanding something like "Kiss". Practice until pup anticipates the pointing and command meaning pup gets to lick a treat. If pup tries to bite at the object while licking, pull it away and say "Ah Ah" calmly, then give pup another try after the 2-3 second pause, pulling the object away briefly whenever pup nibbles instead of licks. When pup can lick it without biting consistently, then put a small dot of the cheese or peanut butter somewhere less sensitive like the back of your forearm or back of your hand - flat will lead to less nibbling. You can also start this wearing some thick gloves. Whenever pup nibbles flip your hand over so pup has to stop licking, while calmly saying "AhAh", then flip it back to try again. Once pup can lick calmly, then point the the area without putting peanut butter on it, while commanding "Kiss" and praise and give pup a treat quickly if they lick the spot anyways (most puppies will lick at least once to see if there is anything there - reward then quickly. Practice until pup can give a kiss gently without nibbling without the peanut butter, rewarding with a treat for gentleness. From there you simply practice pup giving kissing in other areas. I in general don't recommend teaching face kissing though. It's never a good idea to encourage your dog's mouth so close to your face. You also don't want pup to learn that its okay to kiss people like little kids in the face .The closest I would do would be to teach pup to kiss your ear - which is commonly taught. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

April 9, 2022

Dog nametag icon

Willow

Dog breed icon

Yorkshire Terrier

Dog age icon

10 Weeks

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Question

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0 found helpful

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0 found helpful

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She tries to bite everytime you go touch her and if you put your face near her she’ll bite instead of lick. She doesn’t know how to play nice basically. She plays by biting and chewing

April 8, 2022

Willow's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Eduarda, Check out the article linked below. Starting today, use the "Bite Inhibition" method. BUT at the same time, begin teaching "Leave It" from the "Leave It" method. As soon as pup is good as the Leave It game, start telling pup to "Leave It" when she attempts to bite or is tempted to bite. Reward pup if she makes a good choice. If she disobeys your leave it command, use the Out command from the second article linked below to make her leave the area as a consequence. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out - which means leave the area, is also a good command for you to use. Check out the section on Using Out to Deal with Pushy Behavior for how to calmly enforce that command once it's taught. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Another important part of this is puppy learning bite inhibition. Puppies have to learn while young how to control the pressure of their mouths - this is typically done through play with other puppies. See if there is a puppy class in your area that comes well recommended and has time for moderated off-leash puppy play. If you can't join a class, look for a free puppy play group, or recruit some friends with puppies to come over if you can and create your own group. You are looking for puppies under 6 months of age - since young puppies play differently than adult dogs. Right now, an outside class may be best in a fenced area, or letting friends' pups play in someone's fence outside. Moderate the puppies' play and whenever one pup seems overwhelmed or they are all getting too excited, interrupt their play, let everyone calm down, then let the most timid pup go first to see if they still want to play - if they do, then you can let the other puppies go too when they are waiting for permission. Finding a good puppy class - no class will be ideal but here's what to shoot for: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/puppy-classes-when-to-start/ When pup gets especially wound up, she probably needs a nap too. At this age puppies will sometimes get really hyper when they are overtired or haven't had any mental stimulation through something like training. When you spot that and think pup could be tired, place pup in their crate or an exercise pen with a food stuffed Kong for a bit to help her calm down and rest. Practicing regular obedience commands or having pup earn what they get by performing commands like Sit and Down before feeding, petting, tossing a toy, opening the door for a walk, ect... can also help stimulate pup mentally to increase calmness and wear them out. Commands that practice focus, self-control, and learning something a bit new or harder than before can all tire out puppies. I would also start desensitizing pup to touch and handling. Use puppy’s daily meal kibble to do this. Gently touch an area of puppy's body while feeding a piece of food. Touch an ear and give a treat. Touch a paw and give a treat. Hold his collar and give a treat. Touch his tail gently and give a treat. Touch his belly, his other paws, his chest, shoulder, muzzle and every other area very gently and give a treat each time. Keep these times calm and fun for pup. If you are using any methods that involve physical roughness with your hands, then I would switch to a different method because pup might be reacting defensively. That doesn't mean not having boundaries, just enforcing them calmly. Finally, check out the PDF e-book downloads found on this website, written by one of the founders of the association of professional dog trainers, and a pioneer in starting puppy kindergarten classes in the USA. Click on the pictures of the puppies to download the PDF books: https://www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads/ Know that mouthiness at this age is completely normal. It's not fun but it is normal for it to take some time for a puppy to learn self-control well enough to stop. Try not to get discouraged if you don't see instant progress, any progress and moving in the right direction in this area is good, so keep working at it. For chewing objects, check out this article: https://wagwalking.com/training/stop-chewing-on-things And this article: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-not-to-chew/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

April 9, 2022


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