How to Train Your Dog to Lick His Lips

Easy
1-3 Days
Fun

Introduction

Training your dog to lick their lips on command is a very easy trick to teach. This trick can be hilarious when timed just right.

If you ask your dog “Do you love socks?” and they smack their lips in response, it is sure to get a giggle. Consider putting this fun trick on a secret hand signal to really make the most of a punch-line!

This trick is so easy to train that it makes for a great beginner training session. You will get a chance to work on your timing with marking and rewarding the right behavior. You will be sure to see results fast. 

Defining Tasks

All dogs can learn to lick their lips! Puppies and older dogs alike can learn how to give this behavior on command within just a few training sessions. If your dog is already used to clicker training, or other positive reinforcement based training methods, they are very likely to pick this trick up in a single session!

You can put this trick on a verbal cue, a secret hand signal, or both. Decide what works best for your purposes and go with your gut. You can always change your cue down the road if you want. Once the behavior is learned, you just use the new cue right before the old one, and pretty soon your canine will respond to the new cue.

Remember to practice this trick regularly to make sure that it stays in your canine’s repertoire. You want to be sure they will be ready to do it when the timing is perfect so that you don’t miss out on a big laugh. 

Getting Started

Depending on which method that is most effective with your pup, you will need to get a few items together before training this trick:

  • Treats: For all of the methods you will want to be sure to have some small, tasty treats for rewards. Pea-sized pieces are perfect!
  • Clicker: If you use a clicker, then you already know to click when you see the behavior you want, then immediately reward. If you do not have a clicker, decide on a sound that you can use exclusively to “mark” the behavior you want to reward.

Additional things you will want to have ready before training:

  • Temptation Method: You will want an extremely tasty and smelly treat to use that is tempting enough to make your dog salivate just thinking about it! Try small bits of pepperoni, bologna, or cooked chicken liver.
  • Peanut Butter Method: Have some creamy peanut butter on hand for this training method. Make sure you never use sugar-free or “light” peanut butter for training. The sweetener, xylitol, is fatally toxic to dogs! 

The Temptation Method

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Effective
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Step
1
Bait the lick
Starting with your dog in the 'sit' position within reach, grab some of the extra tasty (and smelly!) temptation food that you have chosen. Hold it and let your dog sniff it, but don’t let them have it until they start to naturally salivate and lick their chops. Ignore all other behavior until you get a lick on the lips, even if it is a tiny one. Mark with the clicker or a sound and immediately let them have the reward. Repeat 5 times.
Step
2
Fade the bait
One secret to dog training is to always try to get rid of lures and baits within as few repetitions as you can get away with. After you have done the first step 5 times, try just holding your hand as if it had food in it, get a lick on the lips, then click and reward from the other hand. Repeat 5 times.
Step
3
Transition to treats
Usually the bait food that you use for this trick is pretty rich, so you will want to start using either your regular training treats or kibble for rewards pretty early on. Repeat 5-10 times.
Step
4
Add the cue
You are ready to add your cue. This can be a sound, a word, or a nonverbal signal. Simply give the cue right before your dog offers the lick the best you can. Mark and reward all licks. Repeat 10-15 times.
Step
5
Refine
Start taking more pronounced licks for reward, and ignoring half-hearted licks. This is your chance to “shape” the behavior to get the form just where you want it.
Step
6
Practice and proof
Start practicing the trick at random intervals throughout the day. Stop rewarding the behavior unless you have asked for it. No correction necessary, just ignore licks that are not asked for.
Recommend training method?

The Peanut Butter Method

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Effective
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Step
1
Butter him up!
Place a little peanut butter on your dog’s nose. He will immediately lick it. Click or mark with a sound and reward. Repeat 5-10 times.
Step
2
Fade the bait
Wait 10-15 seconds to see if he will volunteer a lick without peanut butter. If not, do the peanut butter again. Your goal is to get him licking without peanut butter as quickly as you can.
Step
3
Add the cue
Add a verbal or nonverbal cue for the lick. Just start by giving the cue before or right as they give you a lick. Within 10-15 repetitions, your dog will “get it.”
Step
4
Refine
Start being selective about the licks that will get your dog a reward. This will make the lick more pronounced.
Step
5
Practice and proof
Practice the trick in your next several training sessions, and randomly through the day. Stop rewarding any licks that are volunteered without being asked for.
Recommend training method?

The Mirror Method

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Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Imitation
Mirroring is a method that works great with some dogs, but just won't work with others. Try having your dog sit in front of you with your clicker and treats ready. Start licking your lips. Some dogs are good at imitating and you may get a volunteered lick from this technique. Click/reward and repeat 5-10 times.
Step
2
Add the cue
An advantage of this method is that there is no lure or bait to fade, saving you some time. You can go directly to adding the cue that you want to trigger the licking behavior. It is fine to do it as you are still licking your lips, but your goal is to transition to the cue that you want as quickly as your dog will let you get away with it.
Step
3
Refine
Once your dog is on cue for this trick, you can start to be more picky about which licks you will take. Start raising the bar for the licks that are showy enough to accept. In time you will get more pronounced licks.
Step
4
Practice
Be sure to continue practicing this in your daily training sessions for a few weeks. In addition, try randomly asking for the lick when you have a reward on the ready.
Step
5
Proof
Stop giving rewards for when your dog volunteers a lick. Only reward when you have asked for the behavior so that your dog only lick when the time is right!
Recommend training method?
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Written by Sharon Elber

Published: 01/01/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Bourbon
Labso apso for Yorkey mix
9 Months
0 found helpful
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Bourbon
Labso apso for Yorkey mix
9 Months

When I sweep he will attack and won’t let go of broom

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
241 Dog owners recommended

Hello! You can start by teaching him leave it. Leave it is great for anything you want your dog to leave alone, or not go after. Here are the steps for "leave it" Teaching a dog 'leave it' Teaching “leave it” is not difficult. Begin the lessons inside your home or in an area with very few distractions. Here are the steps for teaching “leave it”: Make sure you have two different types of treats. One type can be fairly boring to the dog, but the other type should be a high-value treat that he finds pretty delicious. You will also want to make sure that the treats are broken up into pea-sized pieces so it won’t take him too long to eat them. Put one type of treat in each hand. If you like to train with a clicker as your marker, you can also hold a clicker in the same hand that holds the high-value treat. Then, place both of your hands behind your back. Make a fist with the hand that is holding the treat of lower value and present your fist to your dog, letting him sniff. Say “leave it” and wait until he finishes sniffing your fist. As soon as your dog is done sniffing, you can either click with the clicker or say “yes.” Then offer him the higher-value treat in your other hand. Repeat until your dog immediately stops sniffing your hand when you say “leave it.” When you say “leave it” and he stops sniffing right away, leash your dog and then toss a low-value treat outside of his reach. Wait until he stops sniffing and pulling toward the treat. As soon as he does, either say “yes” or click and then give him a high-value treat from your hand. Practice this exercise a number of times. Over time, by practicing “leave it,” your dog should stop pulling as soon as you give the cue. When rewarding him with a treat, make sure that it is something good, not plain old kibble. By doing so, you are teaching him that asking him to leave some food doesn’t mean he won’t get anything, but that in fact he might get something even more delicious. When your dog is reliably responding to the cue, you can teach him that “leave it” can apply to other things as well, not just food on the floor. Repeat the exercise with five different items that are fairly boring to your dog. After using five different “boring” items, start using slightly more exciting items. You know your dog, so you alone know what items he would consider more interesting, but don’t jump to high-value items right away. To increase his chances of success at learning the cue, you want to work up to high-value items gradually. If Kleenex or a piece of plastic, for instance, would attract your dog on a walk, don’t start with those. Choose the items based on your ultimate goal: Anytime you say “leave it,” you want to be confident that your dog will indeed leave whatever you are asking him to leave. . The reward he receives when he leaves an item can change as well. If your dog has a favorite toy, squeak it and play for a moment when he comes running to you after leaving the other item of interest. Most dogs love interacting with us, so a moment of praise or play with a toy can be just as effective as a treat. Keep it fun Even though you’re practicing “leave it” as a way to keep your dog safe, you want him to see it as a fun game you play. When your dog is proficient at the game in your home, start practicing in a variety of locations with more distractions.

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