We’ve all had a big slobbery smooch from our pooch before. When wiping away that big sticky dribble, do you ever wonder “why do dogs lick you?” Whilst it might be a sign of pure excitement, there are other reasons why your dog is such an amorous kisser! So let’s dive into some of the reasons why dogs lick you:
Licking To Show Affection
This is one of the most common reasons. You take care of them daily and ultimately, you are their whole world!
When you get a big lick from your pooch, endorphins are released into their blood which makes them happy, calm, and comforted. They would have learned this behaviour from their mother when they were just a wee pup. Mama dogs tend to licks newborn puppies for grooming, cleaning and affection. So it’s their natural instinct to lick as a way of showing their love for someone.
Sometimes, your dog may give you the occasional lick because you taste nice! Perhaps your skin tastes a little salty? Or maybe you’ve lathered some fine-smelling lotion that they want to get their lickers on. They do this in the same way they lick treats, bowls and other tasty items.
It Helps Their Senses
Sometimes licking can be a sensory tool. If your dog’s paws aren’t able to examine something, they may lick to get an understanding of what it is. Licking can be like touching something for dogs, mainly because their tongue is filled with millions of sensory cells. If it’s not something they’re trying to grasp an understanding of it may be someone. Sometimes they lick new people as a way of getting to know them.
Gimmie Attention Please
Dogs are very intelligent and you may have accidently taught them that giving you a great big lick will grab your undivided attention. Sometimes they may do this when they’re hungry or want to play.
What About Licking Themselves
Are they licking themselves? This can be a sign of open wounds or stress. If it’s excessive, to the point that it seems self-stimulatory, this might be a sign of anxiety, boredom, or pain. It can also be a sign of allergies. Always consult your vet if you notice a sign of concern.
How Do I Stop The Licking?
While it may be a sign of affection, sometimes the licker can be a little too much. This is especially true if their drool is mega dribbly, or if the licking is constant it can get slightly irritating. So here’s a few things for you to try.
Change Your Scent: Dogs love licking salty skin, but you can throw them off by changing your scent. Use a different body wash, soap or perfume to deter them from giving you a licky wash. This is trial and error, you may find an option that they don’t enjoy! Be prepared though, you may pick something they can’t resist the smell of too, so this is a technique you’ll have to play by ear.
Keep your dog occupied: Licking can be a form of playing, so if you think this is the case, keep them occupied with other tail-wagging tasks. This can help to reduce the licking. Our top-dog idea is to busy them with an interactive puzzle, ball play, or trick training. If they’re very playful, we recommend taking them on a quick walk to tucker them out. Alternatively, find some toys to distract them.
Be Patient With Your Lick-Loving Pooch
As you can see, licking isn’t dangerous in any way. It’s primarily a sign of affection and communication. Research from animal behaviorist Dr. Mary Burch has proved that licking is not a form of domination, in fact, it’s the total opposite.
If your dog has been licking you for a long time, it may be difficult for them to change its behaviour. Just be patient, and continue to reinforce acceptable levels of licking.