Anyone who has a dog knows the feeling when you get a big tongue pulled through your face out of nowhere. But is that a good or bad sign? Why your dog licks you?
In this article, I’ll go into the positive as well as negative reasons why your dog licks you.
Why a dog licks you can have different reasons. One main reason is that dog show their affection by licking. Licking, we can already observe in the mother who licks her puppies.
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Why does my dog lick me so often
The reasons why your dog licks you can be many. Below I will list the most likely ones:
Showing affection by licking
The most likely statement why your dog licks you so often is that it is a sign of affection. Just as we use our hands, it is normal for dogs to use their tongues. It is a natural way to greet each other or simply show affection.
Licking other dogs strengthens the bond. It releases dopamine and endorphins that make your dog feel relaxed and comfortable.
Our Broholmer female regularly licks the younger Cane Corso female over her head and through her ears. Similar to what the mother does with her puppies.
We got our Cane Corso as a puppy, by then the Broholmer was already over 1 year old and basically adopted, protected and raised her.
When you pet your dog and show him your affection, he returns it by licking you. He can’t pet you. He just shows you that he likes to be petted and likes you too.
Dogs lick for greeting
It can be also simply that your dog licks you to the greeting. Just like you pet him when you come home to greet him, he licks you.
You taste good
I find that our dogs especially like to lick me when I come in from exercise and I’m sweating. Animal behaviorists say that dogs are definitely looking for something salty, so they like to lick your skin when you sweat.
You think, perhaps at that moment, that your dog wants to show you his affection, but may also be that you just taste good.
Your dog smells your food
If you have just eaten, it is quite possible that you still smell very good to your dog and he wants to lick the remains from your face.
Your dog wants to comfort you
This may sound a bit far. But there are reports that when dog owners cry or act like they are crying, the dogs are more likely to lick them than if they just sit there
We can also observe this phenomenon. When my wife has a bad migraine and is sitting on the couch with tears in her eyes from pain or just crying at a sad movie, one of the two dogs comes relatively quickly and wants to lick her.
As if they want to comfort my wife.
Your dog licks you because he wants attention
If your dog licks you it can be simply that he wants to attract your attention. Either he wants to play with you or just to be petted.
If he has licked you in the past and you have petted him, he can associate this positively. He then learns that he only has to lick you when he wants to be petted.
With our Cane Corso this is extreme. She loves to be petted and cuddled. If you don’t react, she licks your hands and arms. She sometimes takes your whole hand in her mouth.
Your dog is hungry
Puppies often lick their mother’s lips when they are hungry. The behavior is genetically anchored in the dog and can also mean today that your dog is hungry.
When too much licking can become a problem
Every dog is different. Some lick from the beginning relatively much others again rather rarely.
But if the behavior suddenly changes and your dog licks you more often and more intensively than usual, you should examine it more closely.
Your dog is afraid
If your dog licks himself or you more often, it can mean that he is afraid. Licking relaxes the dog and calms him down. But if this is the case, you should clarify why your dog is afraid.
Because fear means stress and stress is also unhealthy for dogs.
Is it possible that you have a new job and your dog has to stay alone longer than usual? Does he have separation anxiety?
Your dog has too little activity
If your dog is licking himself or you excessively, it may indicate that he has too little activity. Think about what you have done with your dog in the last few weeks. Have you exercised him enough physically as well as mentally?
A 30 minute walk, always the same round, is not really fulfilling for a dog. No matter what size. Add variety to your dog’s daily routine and make sure they are mentally and physically challenged.
If your dog, perhaps due to constant fear of being alone, develops an obsessive-compulsive disorder and then constantly licks himself or people.
A visit to the vet is then recommended. Also because the constant excessive licking can damage the coat.
Should you stop the licking
It is important to understand why your dog licks you and that it is his way of showing what he wants. You must realize that you cannot and should not stop it completely.
It remains a natural tool for a dog to communicate and express its feelings.
How to stop licking
Our dogs always get their food around 6pm. So when one of them comes in at 6:20 p.m. and starts nervously licking us, it’s probably because she’s hungry.
To stop the licking, I can just give her her food. Still, even if she’s hungry and it’s sitting there, she won’t touch her food until I give the OK. Now in case that anyone thinks my dog is educating me and deciding when to eat.
If your dog just wants to show you his affection and you don’t want it at that moment, you can just walk away.
However, do not punish him. What kind of reaction would that be. Your dog shows you that he likes you and you punish him for it.
Just show him that you don’t like it at that moment.
Imagine this in your relationship with your partner. You caress him or her and get a punishment for it.
Try to take his mind off it and distract him. Play with him or change to training.
Have him do a sit, down, or high five. Then reward him with a treat.
If your dog is constantly licking himself or you, perhaps because he is stressed, make sure he has enough to do. Too little activity in the form of physical or mental work can cause stress.
Do you know how much exercise a Rhodesian Ridgeback needs – if you have one?
Praise your dog when he stops licking. As mentioned earlier, you shouldn’t punish him for licking you. But when he stops, you can try to link it positively with praise.
Conclusion: Why your dog licks you!
The primary reason your dog licks you is to show you affection. Usually it is a good sign because your dog loves you as much as you love him.
Budimir Jevtic-stock.adobe (Contributed image)