“Dogs love to lick people’s faces, hands, and feet” is something we learn long before we get our first pet dog. If you’ve ever encountered an overzealous pup who seemed to get genuine pleasure from giving your face a lick, you are definitely not alone, as it’s some of the most recognizable dog behavior in the world.
But even though this behavior has been completely normalized, you still can’t help but wonder: why do dogs lick your face? Find out why do dogs lick people right now!
Lack of attention
Some dog breeds require constant attention from their owners, and when they are not getting it, they will use every method available to them to get some attention from you. If your pup initiates licking sessions whenever he or she is bored and hasn’t spent quality time with you in a while, you shouldn’t be surprised. And even if you try to push the dog away or punish her for the behavior, she may continue licking, since the punishment for them is another form of attention.
For most dogs, licking their human’s face and hands is simply a way to express affection. This behavior actually stems from the time when your dog was still a puppy and her mother expressed her own affection by licking her puppies. Next time you’re wondering: “Is it weird that my dog licks me?”, rest assured that it’s completely normal. Your dog is simply head over heels for you and she’s simply using the first available way to express it.
Stress and anxiety
Although this reason for licking is less common than the previous two, it is still worth knowing about. If your dog frequently experiences stress and anxiety, she may display obsessive-compulsive behavior to deal with those negative emotions. In this case, your dog may start licking not only you and other members of the household, but also pieces of furniture or even outside objects. In that case, it’s best to refer to a veterinarian for help, as over time this behavior can become more destructive.
Is there something you can do?
Now that you know what does it mean when a dog licks you, you are able to understand what makes your dog engage in licking. And while most dog owners absolutely love these little signs of affection, you may not be as comfortable with them as other people.
The good news is that dog kisses are relatively harmless. Dog mouths contain lots of bacteria, but it won’t do any real damage to your health unless you have an open wound that the dog licks.
However, you may find your dog’s licking annoying or even repulsive, or simply want to limit your dog’s kisses. The only effective way to stop your dog from licking you completely is to not give her any attention when she’s doing it. Even telling your dog to stop is still viewed by her as attention. That is why you need to turn your head or get up and leave to stop the licking. Once your dog stops licking your face, reward your pup with praise or even treats to show her the difference between wanted and unwanted behavior.