Did you ever wonder why dogs love to lick us? The majority of pups adore licking their owners. It’s a very common habit and the majority of dog parents say their pup is giving them a kiss. It’s seen as a sign your dog loves you.
A few pups lick folks a lot more than some other dogs. Does this action mean anything? Why do they lick us? Should it be considered problematic? The answer to these questions is dependent on you and your pet.
Why Dogs Lick Humans
Even though we do not know for sure the reason dogs like to lick, the majority of pros all agree it’s due to several reasons. It is not considered problematic unless the licking bugs you. But knowing why dogs lick people could even alter how you think about this habit.
Love: There is a fairly good possibility your licks you because he adores you! This is the reason a lot of owners say their dog is giving them kisses. A dog shows his love via licking and at times they not only lick humans, they also lick their dog friends. It’s a natural behavior puppy learned from their mom. They will lick a person’s face if they can reach it. Or, they will lick whatever they can reach, i.e. arms, hands, feet, or legs. A few pups are less inclined to lick, but it doesn’t mean they don’t love you. They just prefer some other form of affection and maybe weren’t taught it as a pup.
Seeking Attention: Licking conduct that begins as love many times is reinforced by how the person reacts, i.e. if they laugh, smile, pet the dog, etc. Perhaps your pup is lonely or bored and is seeking your attention. If so, he will feel compensated by any sort of attention, despite if it is positive or negative. So if you push your dog away and tell him “no” when he licks, it will still mean you didn’t ignore him. That might make him lick you more.
Instinct: Wolves (and at times wild dogs) go back to their nests to feed their puppies by throwing up meat they just ate after hunting. The puppies are too young and can’t hunt yet so they lick up the meat that is thrown up, as well as lick their mom’s mouth. It’s thought that this action of licking is someone ingrained in their DNA, so they lick on instinct at times.
Your Skin Tastes Good: When your dog licks you, it may notice your skin is salty and tastes kind of intriguing. No, he doesn’t want to eat you, licking is merely how dogs explore their world. And their humans are part of this aren’t they!
Obsessive-Compulsive Conduct: Though it is rare, a dog can have obsessive-compulsive disorder, many times caused by lengthy stress or anxiety. If a dog is licking all the time and is licking things like objects or surfaces as well as themselves and you, that could be problematic. Speak to a vet if you are worried about your dog licking too much.
Your veterinarian may send you to an animal behaviorist to get assistance. They could end up prescribing anxiety medications. You may consider that a last resort, but it’s vital to know that your pets can’t learn anything if they are constantly anxious. Medicine is used along with special training. Or it might be used on a temporary basis while you put your pet through some kind of training or behavior modification.
Is Letting Your Dog Lick You Safe?
It’s typically relatively safe to allow dogs to lick you. Nevertheless, do not have faith in the old wives’ tale that your dog’s mouth is cleaner than yours. It really isn’t. A dog has a lot of bacteria in its mouth, hence why dog bites can get infected. But, that bacteria most likely won’t hurt you unless some get into any open cut or scratch you may have. There’s nothing on record that shows any incidences of disease because someone’s dog licked them. However, some folks believe it is gross. That’s fine.
Ways to Stop Dogs From Licking You
You may feel like doggie kisses are gross. Likewise, you may merely think he’s licked you enough. To get your pup to stop licking you or anyone else, it normally means ignoring him if he does it. Don’t touch or look at your pup when he does it. Just turn away from him. Leave the area if you have to. When he stops licking you, praise him with a treat, love, or attention. Eventually, he’ll get the message that you don’t like to be licked.
If you still desire a doggies kiss some of the time, teach him to give kisses by saying “kiss” or “give me sugars.” Then reward him if he kisses your cheek, hand, or wherever you want him to kiss. Just do not reward or praise if he licks more than you like.
If you need any assistance in teaching your dog the above or other commands you can think about getting a professional dog trainer to help.
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