Why Dogs Lick

Dog, Dalmatians, Pet, Dog Breed

If you’re interested in help treating your dog’s behavioral problems, or simply curious about why your dog does what he does, then this Behavioral Series is for you.

Most experienced owners are knowledgeable about common dog behavior issues, but some may wonder why dogs exhibit these behaviors. Many behaviours are often misunderstood and mishandled by dog owners. Thoroughly understanding the most common behavioral problems is the first step to solving and preventing them.

There are several reasons why your dog stinks. Let’s find out exactly what they are and what you will need to understand in order to eliminate the problem. Usually it’s a sign of affection, a sign of love, or about tasty salty skin. Licking releases pleasurable endorphins that give dogs a sense of relaxation and pleasure, and relieves their stress. Dogs want you to know that they love you so they lick. You pet your dog and it feels great so that your dog shows his/her appreciation by, you guessed it, licking. Licking is a natural instinct in the canine world and it is, therefore, normal dog behaviour. Right from arrival this is how birth mothers communicate with their pups, how puppy families groom and interact socially.

There are other reasons why dogs lick that you want to be conscious of.

If a dog is licking itself excessively, it might indicate that there is a medical problem with your dog. Consulting with a vet would be my recommendation as it might not be a behavior problem but a medical one. Rule that out and you’ll know you are working with a behavioral disorder. If we’re talking about normal dog behaviour, then it is a human issue. After all, dogs do lick. It’s in their nature. What do I mean by a human issue? Let me explain.

If your vet determines your dog is displaying normal puppy behaviour and you don’t like the licking then you are the person that has a problem. Not your dog. It is up to you to change your dog’s behavior and you can do this simply by applying my top three tips.

Tip number one
Do not reward your dog with a pet when he licks you. If this action is greeted with positive attention, like hugs and individual kisses, he’ll want to repeat the behaviour. He thinks you enjoy it and have given him permission.

Tip number two
Walk away whenever your dog licks you. Over time your puppy will associate a lick with you going away. Your dog will learn that licking never gets focus so he will not do it.

Tip number three
Dogs lick to strengthen their bond with you. Dogs love to please. Your dog will soon realize that excessive licking does not make you happy so, again, your dog won’t do it. The message your dog must learn is that one or two licks are enough to strengthen the bond between you.

Now let us recap.

It’s up to you to let your dog know what licking is appropriate and what is out of bounds. While many dog lovers don’t mind and might even like it, some dogs may get carried away. Determine how you feel about your dog’s licking and then train him to remain within the limits that you set.

Hope you enjoyed this section on Dog Behavior, especially on the topic of why dogs lick, and hope you walked away with something of value. If you liked this article, subscribe to my own channel on YouTube. Thank you so much for reading. I look forward to seeing you inside my next article. Please enjoy, discuss, comment, and subscribe. Until next time. Bye Bye.

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