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Why does my dog lick me?

Updated on August 18, 2011

Dogs are lickers. Dogs are inquisitive creatures as well. Aside from the nose, the tongue is used by these animals to get acquainted and to explore their environment. Dogs are much loved pets. However, while some owners would gladly welcome being licked by the pet, others would find the licking habit of the dog distasteful. Dogs after all drink from toilet bowls and eat feces. It is possible to “untrain” the dog but wouldn’t you want to know why your dog likes to lick to lick your face?

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The dog’s licking habit

The compulsive liking habit of the dog was learned from its mother. Mother dogs lick the anal area to encourage defecation and urination. The mother dog licks the puppies clean as well. Of course the mother dog licks the puppies as a sign of affection and approval. Puppies have learned that by licking they will be allowed to nurse. As the puppies get older, licking the mother’s mouth means feeding of regurgitated food.

Licking is done to show their affection

Dogs are very affectionate animals. They form a strong bond with their master. When a dog licks you it is showing its affection.

Seeking approval and attention

An attention starved dog would bark and destroy things by chewing. Be thankful if the pet that is seeking attention and approval would merely jump at you and slather your face with sloppy kisses.

A comforting gesture

Dogs are highly attuned to the feelings of its master. These intelligent animals would know if the master is happy or sad. Have you ever considered the possibility that the dog may be licking you to offer its one ounce worth of comfort when you are troubled and sad?

An act of submission

In the wild, dogs lower in rank lick the alpha male as a sign of submission. We love our but there are instances when we are exasperated by their actions. An owner will certainly be annoyed if the dog has decided to help its master with gardening. The licking is the dog’s way of saying I’m sorry. It is also acknowledging the master position as the leader of the pack.

Eliminating the dog’s licking habit

Not all dog owners would appreciate the slobbery tongue of the dog. So how would you stop the dog from licking off the cream on your face or the lotion on your arms? One very easy way is applying hot sauce in the skin most licked by the dog. Stop the licking habit by yelping as if in pain every time the dog licks you. The dog will eventually stop the licking habit if it sees that the licking displeases you.

Dog Licking Face

Dog licking

Dog licking toes

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    • Eternal Evolution profile image

      Eternal Evolution 7 years ago from kentucky

      We have two Bostons that we rescued from a breeding kennel, Nibbler (the female) constantly licks. I believe like you said she is Seeking approval and attention.

    • Mrs. J. B. profile image

      Mrs. J. B. 6 years ago from Southern California

      I have 4 pitbulls who love giving kisses. Which is licking. Your dog loves you

    • profile image

      Heyo 5 years ago

      My dog loves to lick my forhead and my

      cheeks

    • profile image

      Guest 5 years ago

      My dog is OBSESSED with licking things my face my hands my arms EVEN MY PANTS! lol

    • profile image

      adam 5 years ago

      mrs. j. b. i am honestly jealous. grew up with staffie cross pitbull. was the most amazing animal. greeted everytime to a big slobby gnarw on my arm. these days in the UK you'll find yourself with the dog warden at your door and a court summons for even owning one of these wonderful creatures.

    • profile image

      Blackie 5 years ago

      My dog licks my crotch :/

    • profile image

      DoraC 5 years ago

      My dog is obsessed with licking everyone in my family. she is very smart and easily trained but we cannot seem to get her to stop licking. she even eats female's undies.

    • profile image

      joan 5 years ago

      my dog likes to lick my boyfriends head(he keeps it shaved) and he likes to lick my wrists and the backs of my hands funny thing i have his name tattooed on my wrist- this is the wrist and spot he licks weird huh

    • profile image

      Dylan 5 years ago

      I have a 14 month old Boston Terrier who constantly licks my hands, arms, and face. I don't mind it but just wondering why he does it sooooo much. The very first time I picked him up, he licking my arm for a good 2-3 minutes straight. I always thought dogs lick for a couple of reasons, they love you and also they like the salt on your body. But I guess there's more to it.

    • profile image

      Maggie 5 years ago

      We have a sweet gorgeous 5 months old male Golden Retriever pup, who wants to lick either my hands or my husbands hands every time after drinking water. He nudges our hands if we don't notice right away or to asks us to turn our hands so he can lick the other side as well. Both of us don't mind him licking our hands, but we were wondering why he does this.

    • profile image

      CalKay 5 years ago

      DoraC, my puppy does the EXACT same.. So weird.

    • profile image

      Johne568 3 years ago

      I'm seeking weblogs which all have fantastic guidance on what's popular and specifically what the top rated makeup is.. efaedegddcgb

    • profile image

      Max_Da_Pom 3 years ago

      My dog licks whatevery i put near his mouth

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