What could be better than returning home to a kiss from a puppy? The majority of dog owners perceive their dogs’ licks as an expression of affection. That is, the closest your canine partner will come to kissing. Today, let’s discuss why dogs lick you and what you can do if your dog’s licking has gotten out of hand.
Why Do Dogs Lick Certain Objects?
Certain dogs will lick anything, even themselves, a member of the family, or a piece of furniture. Licking may be used as a kind of exploration, helping dogs to study their environment.
While this type of licking is very prevalent in pups, it can be an indication of nervousness, especially in older dogs.
Additionally, dog licking can be used to groom and soothe the dog. Occasionally, dogs lick themselves to clean their coats, soothe itchy skin, or alleviate discomfort.
They may lick wounds to comfort themselves, which might result in infection in some situations.
Licking behavior may also be a kind of social contact, which is probably why your dog is licking you or other household members.
Why Do Dogs Lick You?
There are various causes for your dog to lick you, so let’s examine each one in further depth.
Licking is an extremely caring behavior, as seen by a mother dog licking her puppies to keep them clean and comfortable. Domestic dogs may lick humans in order to reintroduce this bonding sensation.
When dogs lick you out of affection, they release ‘feel-good’ chemicals called endorphins, which stimulates them to continue licking!
One easy reason is that your dog is happy for your arrival in the home. In essence, it is their way of greeting you… as if to say, ‘Hello!’
It might possibly be an evolutionary tendency – researchers have noticed that certain wild dog species would lick other pack members as a greeting upon their return.
Your dog is acutely aware of your emotional state. Dogs evolved alongside humans and appeared to possess an extraordinary capacity for interpreting and responding to human emotion.
Dogs may also be motivated to console distressed humans. 2012 small research discovered that dogs were more inclined to give consoling actions such as approaching and nuzzling humans who appeared to be unhappy than those who acted neutrally.
Your dog may eventually learn that licking is an efficient method of gaining your attention. Humans often respond to dogs licking with attention and love, rewarding the dog’s licking activity.
This innate action is similar to that of wild dogs: after a hunt, puppies lick their mother’s lips to demonstrate their hunger, and the mother subsequently regurgitates food for them.
When you’re sweaty after a workout, your dog may want to lick you – studies have proven that dog tongues can taste salt.
Additionally, your dog may like to lick your face or hands following a meal. Even if you do not believe you have food on your face, your dog’s extraordinarily acute nose may be able to detect more subtle, appealing aromas.
When dogs lick something, they get a wealth of information. They use licking to assimilate aromas and tastes from their surroundings.
Thus, dogs may lick a new person in order to gain a better understanding of them, just like people may touch something out of curiosity.
They may seek methods of self-soothing while they are suffering anxiety. Licking stimulates the release of dopamine and endorphins in dogs’ brains, which are substances that might make them feel more relaxed.
Petting, hugging, or delivering reassuring noises or words are frequently used by dog owners in response to worried licking. This may encourage your dog to seek comfort via licking in the future.
Excessive Licking by Dogs
Licking is a fairly normal behavior in dogs, and in the majority of situations, it is completely harmless.
However, if the licking becomes extreme – for example, if your dog licks you constantly and does not react to the training techniques above – it may be time to consult your veterinarian.
That is also a good idea if your dog is frequently licking himself, as this might be an indication of stress or suffering. Your veterinarian can do an examination to rule out any underlying problems, including as skin allergies, dry skin, or parasites.
Nobody knows your dog better than you do; thus, if you are concerned that something is wrong or out of character for them, it is always worthwhile to have them checked out.
How to Stop Your Dog Licking You
When you get home, a few of friendly licks from your dog might be rather charming. If, on the other hand, you don’t like being licked, it’s time for some instruction.
The first step is to discontinue providing positive reward to your dog when they lick you. Therefore, rather than giving them a head scratch or a food treat, attempt to ignore or move away from their behavior.
Once they’ve stopped attempting to lick you, return their gaze to them and welcome them normally.
Occasionally, diverting your dog’s focus away from the undesirable behavior can help. Therefore, when they lick you, request their favorite trick instead.
As stated above, If your dog is self-licking excessively, begin by getting them checked out by a veterinarian to rule out any medical concerns or pain. Once medical causes have been ruled out, you can consider the behavioral options mentioned above.