There are different reasons why quadrupeds stick out their tongues to lick their persons or lick each other. If you pay attention to the rest of your dog’s body language and keep an eye on the whole situation, you will understand it better. So you can see why your furry is licking you.
Licking is a social interaction
Licking is one of the first social interactions that dogs experience. As soon as they are born, the mother licks her pups extensively. This serves to strengthen the bond, cleans the puppies, and massages the stomach after meals. The pups mimic this and lick each other. At that time, licking is part of the dog’s repertoire of behavior. Some dogs like to continue using it into adulthood. Others use their language a few times. Whether a dog is showing a sign of affection by licking depends on the individual dog breed.
Expression of Affection
Dogs express their affection towards a person through licking more frequently than cats. Similarly, it is common for dogs to lick each other when they are resting. Whether a peer or a person, licking serves to greet with kindness and express joy or as a sign of spontaneous friendship.
Among them, a lower-ranking dog licks the nose of a higher-ranking member of the pack to appease him. This behavior is also possible in interaction with persons. You can use it, for example, when your reference person is angry or tense. This person’s behavior does not have to be related to the dog: some furry people lick their caretaker when he fights with another person or sings very loud and bad. The dog wants to reassure him. Sometimes licking can also help calm yourself, for example, at the vet or in other situations that stress the quadruped.
Invitation to play, have fun, and cuddle
Sometimes dogs want to get something by licking. For example, some quadrupeds have learned that they get their attention when they lick their person’s hand. In this way, they try to get caresses. Or they may be bored and lick at attention. Their caregiver may play with them or give them a treat this way. Think about it: your reaction to your dog’s licks determines what request he associates them with. That is why you should consider well if you want your reaction to their attempts to become a habit.
Matter of taste
Have you eaten a ham sandwich or petted another dog? Your quadruped wants to know exactly what you’ve done! Licking also serves to assimilate odor and flavor molecules. Many dogs want to discover interesting smells by licking. So they can literally lick the scent of other dogs from your hand. Also, people sweat and have salty skin, and other body odors attract many dogs. It seems that the salty taste leads them to lick.
Showing Some Love
Your dog licks you for love. The most common reason that a dog wants to lick his master is to express his love. Just as humans express love or sympathy with kisses, dogs do something similar but with their wet tongues. Having your dog run up to you and lick you may be one of the funniest things your pet does, but it’s actually one of the ways he has to express his sincere love for you.
The love between a dog and its owner is one of the strongest and most honest bonds in the relationship of a human being with another living being. So if your dog kisses you, don’t be mad at him. Instead, try to understand that those licks are kisses full of love and fidelity.
Sign Of Submission
Another reason why dogs lick us is to show a sign of submission. When the dog recognizes the alpha figure of the pack, whether it be a dog or human, licking is one of the ways it shows that it is subservient to you. If you have more than one dog, you may notice that one of them frequently licks the other. Although it is for protection in some cases, it also happens that subordinates lick other figures that they consider superior or intimidating to avoid any risk, fear, or danger to them.
Anxiety or Stress
One of the signs of stress in dogs that don’t get enough attention is excessive licking. There are many behaviors of a dog when subjected to a high level of stress, which may seem abnormal to us. Some of them are easier to identify than other symptoms, but one of the less frequent symptoms of stress in dogs is to lick you frequently.
If your dog is constantly licking you more than usual, one of the possible causes of this behavior may be stress. The dog is trying to communicate a concern or danger that he is perceiving. If the dog thinks there is a danger for both him and you, he will find a way to make you understand, and licking you can be one of the ways to achieve this.
You must pay close attention when you notice that your dog licks his body excessively. There are cases where the dog licks its body because it suffers from an infestation such as fleas or ticks. But there are also frequent cases in which your dog feels so much anxiety that he ends up releasing it on himself by licking or biting. This behavior is hazardous because it could irritate your skin and lead to a skin infection. In detected cases of stress where the dog licks, for this reason, the idea is to put a collar on your pet while the irritations heal and look for activities that can reduce stress levels in your dog, such as games and fun.
Do dogs spread disease through licking?
Many people like to be licked by their dogs. Others find it unpleasant, especially when the dog’s tongue runs across their faces. Contact of the mucous membranes should be avoided so that the dog cannot transmit germs that can cause illness. Although intestinal parasites are transmitted primarily through feces, if the dog has licked its anus before and licks the person’s face soon after, it may be transmitted in this way.
Dogs can also transmit various bacteria, such as Pasteurella multocida. Affected quadrupeds show no symptoms of the disease, but they can infect persons. In the worst cases, it can lead to blood poisoning or meningitis. It is sporadic for an infection to occur. However, if a dog has licked your hands, you should wash them before preparing food or rubbing your eyes. This rule is fundamental, especially for people with weak immune systems and for children.
How to react when Your dog licks You
As always, encourage desired behavior and ignore unwanted behavior through positive reinforcement training. Teach your dog from puppyhood if you want him to lick you or not. After all, what may be cute in a small Bernese Mountain Dog is perhaps less pleasant in an eight-year-old dog. If you don’t want your dog to lick your face, stay away from him, and ignore him for 30 seconds.
Thus the dog learns that licking your face has the opposite effect, that is, the interruption of social interaction. Also, you should pay attention not to reinforce the demanding licks but to ignore them. Apart from that, abundant caresses are a good response to your furry’s expressions of affection.
As you can see, many reasons answer the question of why dogs lick us. However, most of them are not really negative, so if you know how to take good care of your dog, you will not have to worry about the fact that he likes to lick you.