Why Does My Dog Lick Me?

Portrait of a beautiful smiling young girl being licked on the cheek by a cute terrier puppy dog

Why Does My Dog Lick Me?


 

We call them doggy kisses. At first it’s cute and sweet. Then it becomes slightly annoying. We try to push them away but they just come back for more. What is going on in their little doggy brains? Is it just affection or does it mean something more?

Puppies learn to lick by watching their mother’s who spend a lot of time grooming them. As they become weaned and want solid food they lick their mother’s face to let her know they are hungry. In the wild dogs would kill and eat their prey and immediately go back to the litter and regurgitate the undigested food for the puppies to eat. So licking their mother’s face and mouth was the puppy’s way of saying give me some of that food.

When the pups get older they assume their place in the pack. The introverted or weak pups will show submission to the more outgoing stronger pups by licking their faces. They’re basically saying I know you are higher up in the pack so I’m submitting to you. They are showing their respect. When your dog licks you he could be showing you respect by saying I know you are the leader.

Dogs, as do most animals, use their mouths as a way of exploring the world. Does this taste good? Is that fun to play with? Can I pick this up? And it turns out that humans taste good! We are salty and they like that. Or we can be messy and they are just cleaning up the soup we spilled down our chins.

Sometimes our dogs can get overly licky. We try to push them away and what happens? They come back for more. In the doggy world when one dog is tired of being licked they’ll snap or growl to let the licker know to stop. We can’t growl or snap so we try to push them away. All this does is make the dog feel they haven’t shown enough respect because you pushed them away or they think you’re playing and it’s become a game. Either way they  are back for more!

How do we get Fido to stop the excessive licking?

So how do we get Fido to stop the excessive licking? First we need to realize that they are doing what comes natural to them. So by all means let them lick for a moment all the while saying “kiss kiss”. After a moment or two put your hand in front of their face and say “stop”. After some practice soon they will know when you say “kiss kiss” it’s okay and when you say “stop” they are done. As an extra incentive you may want to offer a toy  or training treat when they stop so they will associate stopping as something good.

Training the dog will make for a happier relationship. Instead of getting aggravated with his licking it will become an enjoyable time. And your dog will be happy because he’s pleasing you by obeying.

Is your dog an excessive licker? Join the conversation below and share your story.

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