Licking is a common behavior amongst dogs. Some dogs seem to thrive on licking you, while others rarely do so. Whatever the reason as to why do dogs lick us? the amount they do can vary from dog to dog.
It’s a communication technique
Sometimes the answer to why do dogs lick us is as simple as letting you know how they are feeling. The bond between a mother dog and pup is strengthened by licking.
Pups will lick their mother to let them know they want to feed, whilst mommy dogs will lick their litter to keep them clean and show them affection.
Dogs often lick their owners to show affection so why do dogs lick us can be as heartwarming as knowing your dog loves you and wants to let you know it.
Dogs will also lick older animals and pack leaders to demonstrate their submission in the pack hierarchy. Dogs will often be seen licking new dogs they meet when out walking.
This is part of the way they communicate with each other as it helps them pass on and pick up information.
As dogs don’t use their paws to pick up things to play with, they will lick them instead. Licking helps them gather information about objects and people.
Why do dogs lick us could be because they want to know where you have been, who you are, and to decide how to interact with you.
Lick to taste
To your beloved pooch, your skin is a marvel of different scents and flavors. It may be a little lingering bit of lunch on your hands or the scent of someone that brushed against you earlier in the day, but why do dogs lick us can sometimes be because they want to taste something that you don’t even realize is on your skin.
Licking in strange situations
Sometimes dogs will start licking in unusual situations. They may lick strangers to figure out who they are and what they want.
When they are feeling nervous, say for example at the vet’s clinic, they may lick anyone and anything to let others know that they mean no threat and to ‘ask’ not to be hurt.
Different types of licking
Short sharp licks to the chin or nose, with wide eyes and ears folded back, are signs that a dog’s licks are because they are feeling inquisitive or submissive.
Large, wet licks with the ears pricked forward; combined with relaxed body language, suggest your dog is feeling happy and comfortable.
Dogs respond to positive rewards, so when you laugh in delight when your dog licks you, they will soon learn that you love it and keep it doing it to once again elicit a positive reaction from you.
Stopping your dog from licking you
If you are not comfortable with your dog licking you, then the easiest way to discourage it is to stop giving your pet positive feedback when they do it. Simply ignore your dog by turning your back until the licking has ceased.
Once your dog is calm and has stopped licking, greet them as you usually would. Over time most dogs will realize that the fastest way to get the attention they want is to avoid licking altogether.
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