Why Does My Dog Lick So Much?
Dogs are adorable creates that will give their humans kisses every chance they get. While to some licking is an act of love, there is more to it than we think. If you have a dog that licks a lot, you might be left wondering why. At first it may seem cute, but after months of constant licking it can get old quite quickly. Dogs lick their owners, other dogs, and themselves for a variety of reasons ranging from love and submission to a possible medical condition. Humans have their own version of constant linking. We bite our nails. We drum our fingers. We tap our toes. We whistle and hum. So what else could licking be?
I love You Human
Affection is the number one reason why dogs slobber us so much. Licking for affection causes your dog to release pleasurable endorphins that calm and comfort them. It could be compared to the very same feeling and sense of security a child has when the want their parents to hug or kiss them. Mothers will lick their young and lick us when we’re upset to comfort us. We are royalty in the dogs eyes and lets be honest, most of us are away at work for most of the day. If you come home to an assault of kisses and licks, just remember that you have been missed.
Common Signs Of Affection:
- Tail Wagging: “Hey, you’re home!” Your dog will run to the door wagging his/her tail out of control. This is an indication of excitement and often combined with constant licking.
- Smile: Yes, dogs can smile and its quite easy to recognize. Happy dogs tend to have a looseness to their bodies that is around their mouth too. Along with a loose mouth comes a loose and slobbery tongue which points to a good mood according to the Caring Hands Humane Society.
- Sleep With Me: If you find your beloved pet trying to sleep with you or lay as close to you as possible, he/she is love drunk. Dogs want to keep us safe and cuddle as much as humans do.
That’s right, your sweaty disgusting unwashed hands and feet are the lollipops for dogs. Think about it, dogs love dirty underwear, sniffing disgusting garbage, and eating poop. Most dog owners find them selves drowning in kisses shorty after coming home. What they don’t know is that they are examining us and investigating. After licking us many times before, they are able to recognize and recall who we are based on the salts released from the pores of our skin, when we sweat. Lick yourself right now and discover just how salty hands can be. To a dog, you are candy.
Submission is how dogs express their role in the house. Like wolves, dogs are pack animals that seek a leader to follow commands and contribute to the packs survival. Its hard to make the connection between the wild cold killer animal to our cute domesticated obsessive lickers. Tune in to any nature show and quickly discover that pack animals will lick the boss to show their respect. When dogs lick you for no apparent reason this indicates that you have their obedience, respect, and that they are directly communicating their subordination to remind you that you’re the leader of their pack.
Other Signs of Submission:
- No Eye Contact: Dog owners care puzzled and at times get offended when their four-legged companion looks away during eye contact. In the animal world, staring in the eyes is a dominance battle. If your dog looks away, don’t be offended! They are simply showing respect.
- Laying On Their Back: This is the equivalent of humans turning their back to someone without fear of getting attacked. Dominant dogs will never allow anyone to go near them in this vulnerable position.
- Licking The Face: A submissive dog will lick the chin and corners of the mouth of the dog or person it’s submitting to.
- Ears Tucked Back: Most common sign is ears will be folded backward nearly flat.
When is the last time you corrected any dog for licking. The answer that nearly all owners have is never! Due to a obvious language barrier, dogs learn through experiences. When teaching animals, we use treats to compliment the desired behavior. They don’t quit understand the word “sit” but they know a treat is right around the corner if they actually “sit”. Humans are flabbergasted when their fluffy best friends express their love for us. We smile, giggle, give treats, and express clean signs of thank you. This is an invitation to licking because in the dogs mind, licking has never been a negative thing. Overtime this can turn into an excessive and undesirable behavior that can be tricky to tame.
Simple Steps To Reduce Licking:
- Its Not All Bad: You probably want to fix only some of the licking so figure out when you hate it the most. Is it when you arrive home? Laying in bed? Does he lick your leg when you’re sitting at the desk?
- Ignore It: Licking is a proven attention strategy for most dogs. Do not reward nor make eye contact with your pet. Give them no attention for doing this behavior.
- Commands: Use a command like “stop” or “no” and reward the dog if he/she stops licking. On the flips side you can train the command “kiss” and reward. This will give you full control of the licking.
- Exercise: Its important to stimulate our dogs. If he wont stop licking you, chances are that he simply wants attention. Take them to the park and be sure to give them a good workout.
- Constancy: Every member of the house must follow these rules. To truly train a dog to do something, it must be done with concrete constancy.
No one really complains about the kisses we get from out beloved pets. We are two different species disconnected by different views of our surroundings. Licking is the one behavior that humans recognize as affection. This alien bond that we have with a wild animal makes us feel happy that no matter what happens, our dog will always be there. Understanding that there is more to licking than love can help parents develop a deeper connection with their pets. The more we learn about these creatures the healthier the relationship will be. If you’re have licking issues with any dog, simply follow the steps above to reduce it and not seem unloved to the dog.
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