How to Train Your Dog to Give Kisses

Young woman kissing her puppy.
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Do you want your dog to give you a kiss? Giving kisses on command is a favorite dog trick for many people, especially children. It also happens to be one of the easiest tricks to train a dog to do.

What You Need

Some yummy treats are all that you need to train a dog to give kisses. Peanut butter or cream cheese works well because it's easy to smear a small bit on your cheek or hand. You may also want to keep a towel on hand, especially if you are working with a dog known to be a big drooler, like a St. Bernard or Mastiff! You also need a willing human participant who is open to the idea of dog slobber on their face.

Teach a Dog to Kiss

Follow these steps to teach your dog this sweet (and slobbery) trick:

  1. Take a little peanut butter or cream cheese and place a dab on your cheek (or wherever you would like your dog to kiss).
  2. Give the cue phrase "kiss." You can also say something like "give kisses" or "gimme sugar."
  3. Lean towards your dog, and let your dog do the rest. The dog should be eager to lick the treat from your cheek.
  4. Practice this dog trick for a few minutes several times a day. It won't be long before your dog comes over to give you a big kiss every time you give the command!

Capturing the Behavior

Another method of training a dog to give kisses is to capture the behavior. Here's how:

  1. Anytime your dog licks you, tell it to "give kisses."
  2. You can also use a clicker to mark the behavior, just click the clicker anytime your dog kisses you.
  3. After your dog has given you a kiss, tell the pup "good" and give it a treat. Your dog will soon be trained to offer a kiss on command, and all you had to do was to capture the dog's natural behaviors.

Problems and Proofing Behavior

Some dogs get a little overly exuberant, and once you teach them to give kisses it can be tough to get them to stop. In this case, you can put an end to the kisses on command, too. When your dog is kissing you, tell the pup "enough." Wait for your dog to stop licking you, and then tell the dog "good" and give your pup a treat. Do this each time your dog is giving you kisses, and you'll soon be able to tell your dog to stop licking you whenever the kissing gets out of control.

Some dogs are resistant to giving people kisses on the face. If this is the case for your dog, you can try using a treat that it really loves or you can train the dog to give kisses somewhere else, such as on your hand. Use the same steps as used above, but put the treat on the back of your hand rather than your face.

Another way some people teach their dog to kiss is to put a treat, like a biscuit, in the human's mouth and encourage the dog to take it from there. This is not recommended for a few reasons. There is no need to share germs so closely and is not a good (or healthy) habit to encourage. It's also a bad habit to encourage kids to view dog treats as something that humans put in their mouth. It sends the wrong message and can be confusing to kids.

Keep in mind that even though you may like big, wet sloppy kisses from your dog, not everyone will appreciate the affection. If you are going to try out this dog trick on your friends or visiting children, you may want to teach your dog to give kisses on the hand rather than on the cheek. You will also want to make sure that the human bends down and receives the kiss on the dog's level. You don't want to encourage your dog to stand up or reach up to give kisses. This is usually not welcome behavior and can scare (or even knock down) small kids, especially if you have a bigger dog.