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It’s no secret that you are your pup’s favorite human. So, why wouldn’t they rush to plant wet, sloppy kisses on you?

At a Glance

  1. Dogs Lick to Show Affection
  2. It’s Done Out of Instinct
  3. A Dog Lick is a Form of Communication
  4. Dog Licking Might be a Learned Behavior
  5. Your Pooch Likes the Taste of Your Skin
  6. Dogs Lick to Calm Their Nerves
  7. It’s a Symptom of OCD
  8. They’re Licking You Because They’re Hungry

It’s likely your canine companion yearns to show you some heartfelt affection. Though puppy smooches are sweet, they aren’t exactly clean. And excessive licking can get pretty stinky, sloppy, and spitty.

It’s time for you to figure out why your pup won’t stop licking you! Just keep reading, and we’ll let you know.

See Related: How To Get Dog Poop Out Of Your Carpet In 7 Simple Steps

#1. Dogs Lick as a Sign of Affection

Though your day-to-day routine might be ever-changing and diverse, your pup sees you as their whole world. You feed, bathe, and love them — what more could a dog want from a human?

Though we can communicate our feelings with words, dogs aren’t as vocal. Your pup loves you, but he/she can’t easily say it. So, to show their love and affection, they might lick you instead.

Dog licking is the canine form of “kissing.” The easiest way for dogs to show their love is by licking you. To redirect their warm feelings into something less spitty, get your dog to lay their chin on you before showing them praise.

dog licking a human's face puppies puppies dog dogs puppy puppies puppy lick dogs dog lick dogs dog lick dogs dog dogs dog

#2. It’s Done Out of Instinct

Dogs have a lot of natural instincts. It’s how they used to survive in the wild. But now, domesticated dogs don’t need to hunt for food – that’s what dry kibbel is for. However, that doesn’t mean all of their natural instincts are gone for good.

Licking is one of the most important parts of being a dog. To you, it might be gross or even slightly annoying. However, canines use licking to communicate, calm, and groom. Mamas usually lick their pups to comfort and clean them.

So, while it’s not normal for us homo-sapiens to waltz around licking one another, it’s perfectly acceptable for your four-legged friend!

#3. A Dog Lick is a Form of Communication

While human-to-human communication might be effortless for us homo-sapiens, it’s not so easy for dogs. Dogs aren’t able to eloquently express their thoughts with words. So, instead, they need to resort to other forms of communication.

Barking is an obvious way for canines to get the attention of their human counterparts, but that’s not all they can do to communicate. Licking is a less noisy way for your pup to tell you something. Maybe they need to go potty or are interested in finishing off the remainder of your lunch.

If you want your furry friend to stop licking you, you need to redirect their communication attempts. But regardless of what your pup wants, you need to know how to respond. For example, if your pooch is ready to poo, it’s time to head outside!

If you want to limit the time you spend picking up poop, all you need to do is contact your local poop-scoopin’ professionals.

Maybe it seems like a gross job, but we’ve been shoveling pet waste for years. We’re all about giving pet parents the freedom and convenience they deserve!

man with his dog outside dog to lick wild canids showing affection ear wax taste good dog is licking may lick grooming body parts

Bonus: Why Do Dogs Eat Grass? Is This Normal?

#4. Dog-Licking Might be a Learned Behavior

Though your pooch likely licks you out of instinct, it could also be a learned behavior.

Your canine really looks up to you. They also take note of everything you do. So, whenever you respond to your pup’s spitty kisses by saying “Ew!” or smiling, they are likely to do it more.

This is a type of positive reinforcement. Your immediate response of playfulness is teaching your pup to keep licking you. So, if you’re trying to get your furry friend to quit licking, this is not the way to do it.

But don’t just take our word for it – there’s research to back this up!

#5. Your Pooch Likes the Taste of Your Skin

Even if you didn’t shower in a couple of days (though you probably should,) your pup probably likes the taste of your skin. That’s why they’re licking you! To your canine, your salty skin is like a delicious potato chip.

Maybe you have a few crumbs lingering on your skin that your pup is snacking on. If you’ve just finished a garlic-heavy dish, your dog might feel the urge to lick your face.

But most likely, they are just enticed by your natural scent and taste. Especially if you’ve been sweating, your pup will likely be drawn to you, as gross as it might seem.

Anything from scented body lotions to bodily fluids can get your pooch to start licking you.

#6. Dogs Lick to Calm Their Nerves

You’re not the only one who can get anxious! Especially if your household is undergoing some major changes, your dog might feel a bit stressed. When pups are feeling the pressure, they might turn to licking to calm their nerves.

Licking behavior is a way that dogs self-soothe to cope with stress. Canines with separation anxiety are more likely to turn to wind down and chill out.

a dog's tongue one behavior many dogs licking dog's health dog's licking dog licks dogs licking dogs express dog's sense attention licking

#7. It’s a Symptom of OCD

Though very rare, your dog’s excessive licking might be a sign of an underlying health issue. There are some medical reasons why dogs lick their pet parent. Some pups might develop a type of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) that can be characterized by a lot of licking.

OCD in canines is usually linked to long-term stress and anxiety. This can manifest as licking of themselves, humans, or any nearby objects. In some cases, it can get pretty bad.

Regardless, you should always approach these types of behaviors with kindness, understanding, and patience. Reacting aggressively or angrily might just make things worse – it’ll lead to more stress and more obsessive behaviors.

If you’re concerned about the well-being of your furry friend, take a trip to your vet to find some solutions. There are other medical reasons why dogs lick – it could stem from gastrointestinal issues, an upset stomach, or reflux.

#8. They’re Licking You Because They’re Hungry

As we said, dogs often lick in order to communicate. In the wild, many baby pups would lick their mamas’ lips whenever they were hungry. It’s another natural instinct that canines have.

woman in bed with her dog dog dog dog's face dog is licking hot spots grooming dogs to lick your face body language problem licking

How Can I Make My Dog Lick Me Less?

Though your pooch’s kisses are sweet, they’re also stinky, slimy, and pretty messy. It’s okay if you’re not ecstatic about the idea of being covered head-to-toe in your dog’s saliva.

Getting your dog to stop licking you might not be as easy as it seems. It’s a behavioral instinct hardwired into all canines. However, you can help minimize the amount of times they lick your skin.

There are a few key practices you should follow when you can’t escape an onslaught of dog licks.

  • Move away from your pup. Don’t react positively or negatively — just move away. Don’t even make eye contact or say anything. Silently move the part of your body they’re licking so that it’s out of their tongue’s reach.
  • Stimulate their brain with exercise. Your dog could be licking you from stress or boredom. So, let’s fix that! Some exercise can help burn pent-up energy and distract your pooch from licking you. You can either go crazy indoors or go for a calming walk around the block.
  • Distract them with something else. Give them a chew toy to occupy themselves with. Exercise works great, too.
  • Stay clean so they’re not as enticed by your body odor. Your pup is likely enjoying the taste of salt on your skin. Be sure to keep yourself clean, and maybe cut back on the floral-scented body soap.
  • Be consistent in your messaging. Don’t give your furry friend mixed messages. You need to be clear about what you want them to do or not want them to do. That way, they won’t be confused and can quickly learn that licking is no good.
  • Focus positive energy on what you want them to do. If you want fewer dog licks in your life, you need to reward their good behavior. Give your pup praise, attention, and affection whenever they do something that you want them to do. Don’t react when they lick you – simply move away. Your dog wants to do things that make you happy so they can get that much-needed “Good boy!” If you keep rewarding other behaviors besides licking, they’ll eventually drop the habit of licking.

Final Thoughts

Dog behavior can be a mind-boggling subject. Regardless of how confusing your pup’s practices might be, you know them better than anyone. When it comes down to it, their kisses are just a sign of love, so don’t take too much offense to them!

Keep Reading: 6 Ways To Make Picking Up Dog Poop Not So Terrible

Scoop Masters offers professional dog waste removal services in California, Texas, Florida, and Tennessee. Since 1988, we’ve saved dog owners across the country from the overly unpleasant task of picking up after their pets. Each poopy project we complete gives them the freedom, convenience, and sanitation they deserve! Contact us for a free quote, or simply stock up on enough dog poop bags to keep your pet’s number twos at bay. To stay in the loop, follow up on Facebook and Twitter/X. If your dog can poop it, we can scoop it!

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