Step 1: Use a small dab of peanut butter or cream cheese on your cheek to encourage your dog to lick your face. Have a handful of your dog’s favorite treats nearby.
Step 2: With your dog in a sitting position in front of you, lean in to your dog, offering your cheek. As soon as your dog gets interested in licking your cheek you should say “yes” and offer one of his favorite treats as a reward.
Step 3: Repeat steps 1 & 2 until your dog shows a high proficiency of leaning in to lick your cheek. Even as all the peanut butter or cream cheese disappears your dog should continue to give your cheek a “kiss” in order to earn his favorite treats in your hand.
Step 4: Once your dog is preforming to at least a 90% proficiency you can add the verbal cue “give me a kiss.” It’s important that when teaching a dog any new command you do not add the verbal cue until after the dog has been reliably demonstrating the behavior you want. Adding a verbal cue to early in the learning process can create confusion, or accidentally teach your dog to ignore your cue. By waiting until your dog is preforming the behavior at least 90% of the time you are ensuring that your dog matches his behavior with the word you’d like to use. In this case, it’s “give a kiss.”
Step 5: Have your dog use his awesome new trick to show his favorite human friends some Valentine’s day love! Happy training!
This article first appeared in the February issue of Brickell Magazine