Why does my dog keep licking me?
Picture this: you just arrive home and are greeted with warm, saliva-filled chops around your face. Whilst it might be a sign of pure excitement from your dog when they’re happy to see you, there are other reasons why our dogs do this.
Just like barking, licking is a tool that your dog will use to communicate with you. Since they can’t speak our language, they use their body to tell us how they’re feeling.
These are some of the reasons why your dog may love to lick you:
One of the most common reasons why dogs love to lick their owners is simply to show their affection. Since you’re the one taking care of them, you’re essentially their world!
When dogs lick, pleasurable endorphins are released into their blood which makes them feel calm and comforted. They are also likely to have experienced licking themselves by their mother when they were a puppy, so it’s their natural instinct to lick things to show their love.
You taste nice!
If your pet isn’t overly affectionate and rarely shows you any kind of love, the reason for their occasional licking could just be because you taste nice!
Just like your puppy may lick treats, bowls and other items that have once contained their favourite foods, some dogs like the salty taste of their owner’s skin.
Because the paws of a dog aren’t able to examine things like our human hands can, some dogs lick items to get a feel of what they are.
To dogs, licking is like touching something and thanks to the fact that tongues are filled with millions of sensory cells, they may just be licking new people to find out who they are!
Dogs are intelligent animals and they may just be using their tongue to get your attention.
If you’re noticing that your pet turns to lick you when they’re hungry or want to play, it could be because you’ve unintentionally taught them that licking is a good way to get your undivided attention.
How do I stop my dog from licking me?
Whilst your dog’s licking may just be a sign of affection, it can be irritating when you need to get things done within the home without constantly wiping saliva off your face! Here are some techniques to try to prevent your dog from licking you:
Change your body scent
Because many dogs love licking the salty taste off their owner’s skin, changing the scent – and taste – of your body can be enough to deter them.
Things like your body wash, soap and perfume all impact how tasty your puppy will find your skin to be and you may find an option that they don’t enjoy as much!
Keep your dog occupied
As dogs can also use licking as a form of playing, keeping them occupied is a great method to reduce the number of times they lick you. Distract them with toys where appropriate and consider taking them on a walk when you think they’re trying to play.
Remember that if your dog has used licking as a method of communication for a long period of time, it may be difficult for them to be trained out of their typical behaviours. For this reason, it’s essential to avoid scolding your dog if they fall back into their licking habits and constantly reinforce acceptable levels of licking.
As you can see, there aren’t usually any warning signs that you should consider when wondering why your dog licks you. However, always be aware that dogs who lick themselves excessively can be a sign of open wounds or stress, so consult your vet if you notice a sign of concern.
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