Dog Licking Problems: Affectionate, Disconcerting, or Just Plain Disgusting?


For us humans, it can be a bit troublesome to identify with the doggie habit of licking each other in greeting. We have a tendency to don’t do it, once all, and though our tongues come back in handy for things like ice-cream eating and sucking that last dollop of peanut butter off the knife, we tend to actually wouldn’t welcome a visitor into our home by giving them a protracted, lingering lick on the cheek (unless you were cited to embrace certain social mores currently remarkable in Western society).
Dogs use their tongues to explore the world.


A dog’s tongue is as vital (and useful) to him as our eyes and hands are to us: it’s a multi-purpose utility tool, used to style things, explore the presence of latest folks and animals, express submissiveness, and to let you recognize that he values your companionship and friendship.

Licking could be a fully natural behavior for dogs, and more often than not, the experience isn’t something to stress regarding: the odd lick from a warm, moist tongue on your hand or ankle is, at worst, tolerable (and, I must admit, I actually notice it pretty adorable when my dog licks me – but then once more, he’s trained to not overdo it, thus I don’t have to worry regarding the smothering capacities that a one hundred-pound male Rottweiler’s tongue possesses!)

Some dogs simply take things too far though, and this can be where problems can set in. It’s not pleasant to be persecuted in your own residence by a so much-reaching, agile, mobile, and slobbery tongue: some won’t let you get a moment’s rest.

And for a tall dog, the out there terrain is a lot of more varied, and thus, engaging – ever had a protracted, wet dog’s tongue lathering your bellybutton as you stretch up to those elusive top shelves? When sudden, the resultant shock is more than a little unbalancing!


And once it’s dried, it’s there ’til the subsequent laundry run: the physical evidence of a dog’s friendship is like egg white. It’s there, it’s dried on, and it’s not returning off until a mixture of suds, hot water, and vigorous effort is applied. And all this because your dog needs to say “I like you”! However, there’s typically a touch more to it than simply plain affection.

As with all animal behavior, the logic behind licking is sometimes more complex and refined than you might think, and the identical gesture can have multiple meanings captivated with circumstance, your dog’s mindset, and the opposite behaviors being exhibited at the identical time.

So, though we tend to will postulate until the cows come back home (or till your dog stops licking – whichever comes 1st) on why your dog’s licking you, such generalizations aren’t invariably a hundred% correct: it’s partly up to you to determine the reasoning behind the actions. And, since you know your dog better than anyone else, you’re the ideal candidate for the job.

If your dog is licking you as a result of he’s feeling affectionate and desires to let you know, it’ll be pretty simple to figure out whether this is the case or not.

His body language will be relaxed, and though the circumstances can be variable, the encircling mood will generally be stress-free and happy: for example, when he licks you on the shoulder or ear from his vantage-purpose in the backseat as you’re driving him to the park, or lathers your hands and wrists with goodwill and devotion when you come back home from a hard day at the office.

“Puppy love” is by far the foremost common reason behind licking: it isn’t something to stress about, and it’s straightforward to ‘cure’ him of the habit if the behavior is a drawback for you. (We have a tendency to get to that further down the page.) Another not-infrequent reason for repetitive, owner-targeted licking is that your dogs feeling anxious and stressed.

If there are things happening in your dog’s life to cause him unhappiness or tension, he’ll typically show it through obsessive-compulsive behaviors, and licking may be a pretty common manifestation of these.
Some dogs can lick themselves, others will lick you – it’s very a case of individual preference.

It shouldn’t be too arduous for you to pinpoint the reason for your dog’s less-than-relaxed mindset: is he getting enough attention and mental stimulation, or is he cooped up inside for long hours every day by himself? Does he get enough exercise and outdoor time for sniffing, exploration, and general exuberant tomfoolery? Does one pay him tons of attention when you’re at home or tend to greet him hurriedly before rushing off to your next commitment?

These are all things that you simply want to consider, before adapting your lifestyle to deal with the difficulty accordingly. Relying on the circumstances surrounding the licking, and the overall quality of your dog’s life, you will want to form some general adjustments of your own to make sure that, when the licking does stop, it’s as a result of you’ve treated the cause, not the symptoms – otherwise, you’re just trying to require away a valuable outlet for his negative emotions, that is unrealistic (and unfair on your friend, too).

When you want to get the point across that his licking’s getting a small amount too much for you, a straightforward amendment in your body language will convey your message loud and clear. All you would like to try to to is withdraw the outward show of your affection for him to perceive that, truly, you don’t like it when he covers your skin in a very composite of saliva, dog-food particulate matter, scraps of debris from his fur, and general oral-cavity detritus.

In plain English, this means that you simply have to turn yourself removed from him: when he starts to lick, arise, and move away instantly. Make sure your face and eyes are dramatically averted from him: face in the whole opposite direction. Preface this with a revolted-sounding “No!” if you wish (I say “No lick!” but you can use whatever comes naturally. Simply keep the phrase short and simply-identifiable thus your dog quickly learns to recognize it). At this point, he’ll probably arise and follow you. Stay up for him to try to: the licking should start again soon. When it will repeat the process.

It’s seemingly that your dog will be persistent. He’s to not be simply deterred; you’re the undisputed centerpiece of his life, after all, and he desires to let you know this whenever the opportunity ought to gift itself. You only would like to outmatch him in persistency. Be consistent along with your actions, and therefore the message will sink in.

Don’t feel that you have got to shout or react negatively – the easy withdrawal of your love (or the appearance of this, anyway) is sort of enough. A word of warning: some people very like it when dogs lick them, whether or not the dog concerned isn’t their own.

If guests to your house (or admiring passersby on the street) greet your dog and permit him to lick them, you’ll need to intervene, or else they’ll undo all your good work. It’s best if you’ll justify ahead of your time that you just training him to not lick, and then make a case for the suitable response for them to take if he ought to start to lick them.

This way, you can be certain that your dog’s not going to be corrupted into unwanted behaviors again – and that he’ll learn to express his affection in the alternative, additional desirable ways. For more info on licking and other problematic dog behaviors.

You’ll in all probability want to check out Secrets to Dog Training. It’s a comprehensive, A-Z manual for the responsible dog owner, and deals with just concerning every canine behavior and training technique under the sun, from aggression to digging to whining to dog whispering to obedience work.