Why Does My Dog Lick Me So Much?

Why Does My Dog Lick Me So Much?

Picture it.

You park the car in the driveway. You get out of the car, shuffling for your house keys. As you walk up to the door, you hear a commotion on the other side. 

You unlock the door and there’s your pup, your #1 fan who is excited to see you. 

You take a few steps in the house being careful not to step on your dog’s paws. Once you finally get your jacket off and your things put down on the entryway table, you kneel to meet your dog. 

That’s when it happens.

Your face gets tongue-smacked. 

Your dog is now giving you an unlicensed spa treatment: a dog saliva facial. Oh god! It’s not stopping. 

Why does my dog lick me so much????

The answer to this question is obvious: your dog loves you. Things have changed though! That’s the language of a domestic dog but the origins of this act of licking is more instinctual than you think. 

Shared from the American Kennel Club (AKC):

“Researchers of wild canids — wolves, coyotes, foxes, and other wild dogs — report that puppies lick the face and muzzle of their mother when she returns from a hunt to her den — in order to get her to regurgitate for them,” notes Alexandra Horowitz, head of the Horowitz Dog Cognition Lab at Barnard College and author of the book Inside Of A Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know.
Similarly, your dog could simply think that you taste nice. Certified applied animal behaviorist Dr. Mary Burch points out that humans have slightly salty skin, especially after sweating during exercise. Therefore, those licks might be more about seeking salt than giving affection. Horowitz adds that if your dog likes to lick your face, it will often happen after you’ve finished a delicious meal. Or, well, any meal.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) also explains that there’s a difference between these standard licks of affection and excessive licking

If your dog is licking you more than usual or you suspect the frequency is unnatural, schedule an appointment with your local trusted veterinarian. The vet office can help you eliminate health issues as the cause of your dog’s excessive licking so you can get back to that dog saliva facial without worry it’s a sign of a larger problem. 

If you simply want your dog to stop licking you so much, here’s what you can do: When your dog starts to lick you, divert their attention to something else. It can be a different activity or their favorite toy. Over time, they’ll pick up what you’re putting down: that you don’t want to be licked so much.

What you’ve just read is a sampling of blog posts we offer at Joyride Harness. We cover current events, informational posts, interviews, and more! You can find more content including tips and tricks and how-tos for caring for your dog on our blog at this section. Feel free to leave a comment with tips you’re looking for!
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