Coming home to your pup after a long day at work is a very gratifying feeling. They’re always excited to see you, and they’re always willing to give you a little puppy lick.
But have you ever wondered, “Why does my dog lick me?” Most people have experienced the wet kisses of a dog, but few probably wonder why it happens.
Today, we’re going to take a closer look at why our dogs lick us and what it might mean.
Why Does My Dog Lick Me?
Your dog might lick you when you come in the door. They might lick you when you give them a treat. They might even lick you for no apparent reason when you’re relaxing on the couch. Whenever or for whatever reason, most dogs are prone to giving their owners a bit of love.
Let’s look at the possible reasons why a dog might lick their owner.
If you remember back to the first time a dog licked you, you probably gushed with glee at having been accepted by your furry companion. Dogs quickly learn that if they lick a human, they’ll likely get something good.
It can be a treat, a pet, or even just a verbal response. Whatever it is, a dog learns that licking gets them something, so they keep doing it.
When a dog is young, they lick at their mother to be fed. It’s the easiest and most obvious way of telling their mother what they want.
As an older dog, they are still expecting to get something from licking. They might get a treat, or they might be reminding you that it’s dinner time. Whatever it is, licking is a dog’s way of showing submission and asking for sustenance.
For Learning About You
If you’ve ever watched a baby explore, you probably know that one of the first places something new goes is the mouth. A baby is likely to wrap their mouths around anything they’re able to. The same goes for dogs.
The mouth is a great place to learn about things. Because a dog doesn’t have hands, they rely on their tongues to explore their enviornment.
For the Flavor
Dogs have very strong senses. They are about to smell and hear things that wouldn’t even register to a human. Their strong senses apply to your too.
Maybe your dog can still smell the mustard from the burger you had earlier. Or maybe they just like the way your salty skin tastes after sitting in a hot car. Whatever the case, your dog is ready to explore all the smells and tastes you have to offer.
All dog owners know that first kiss when you come in the door, even is the “kiss” has a bit more tongue than we’re used to.
Dogs show affection my licking. When they were young, their mother would lick them to show affection and now they’re turning it around and doing it to you. If your dog starts licking you while you’re snuggling on the couch, it’s safe to say that they just want to let you know how much you mean to them.
When dogs lick, it also releases the feel-good hormones oxytocin and serotonin. Your dog is literally making themselves feel better by licking you. Humans get the same release when they pet their dog too. So, you both are making yourselves happier just by showing how much you care.
How to Stop a Dog from Licking
While it’s nice to know they care, sometimes licking can get rather inconvenient or even downright annoying. If this is the case, try out some of these suggestions to end this unwanted behavior.
- Say “no” and stop attention. – The first thing to try if your dog is licking a lot would be to simply tell them no. After verbally telling your dog no, try to ignore them because you don’t want them thinking that licking will get them attention.
- Get something in their mouth. – If your dog is licking a lot, they might just need to occupy their mouths. Try giving them something they can chew on a rawhide or other chewy toy.
- Give them some exercise. – If your pooch is incessantly licking you, it might be time to give them a workout. This way, your dog won’t have the energy to concentrate on licking.
- Use some bitters. – While you might take a dash in an Old Fashioned, your dog is not going to enjoy the taste of bitters. Of course, we’re talking about something like apple bitters that’s meant to stop licking and chewing. A spray on your skin will help dissuade your dog from licking as much.
We hope this provided you some insight into this often cute (but sometimes annoying) canine habit.