Dogs are known for their unique and sometimes puzzling behaviors, and one of the most common and endearing habits is licking. While it may seem like a simple gesture of affection, dog licking behavior can convey a variety of messages and serve multiple purposes. In this blog post, the dog experts at Blitz K9 Club will explore what every dog owner should know about their furry friend’s licking behavior.
Is Licking a Form of Affection for Dogs?
Dogs often lick as a way to show affection and bond with their owners. It’s a behavior that starts in puppyhood when mother dogs lick their pups to clean them and establish a maternal bond. As dogs grow, they carry this behavior into their relationships with humans.
Dogs Lick in Communication & Submission
Licking can be a submissive gesture in the canine world. Dogs may lick others, particularly their owners, to show deference and acknowledge their higher rank in the pack. Understanding this aspect of licking behavior can help owners foster a positive and respectful relationship with their pets.
Dogs Get Information from Licking
Dogs experience the world through their senses, and licking is one way they gather information. Dogs have a highly developed sense of taste, and licking allows them to explore and learn about their environment. Be mindful of what your dog licks, as certain substances can be harmful.
Stress & Anxiety Can Cause Dogs to Lick
Excessive licking can be a sign of stress or anxiety in dogs. If your dog suddenly starts licking excessively or compulsively, it could be an indication of an underlying issue that needs attention. Consult with your veterinarian to rule out medical causes and consider environmental factors that may be causing stress.
Dogs Licking Themselves Can Be a Medical Concern
Persistent licking in one specific area could be a sign of an underlying medical problem. Skin conditions, allergies, or pain in a particular body part may lead a dog to excessively lick that area. Regular veterinary check-ups are essential to ensure your dog’s overall health and well-being.
Dogs Lick to Mark Territory
Dogs have scent glands in their mouths, and licking is a way to mark their territory. By licking objects or people, dogs leave behind their scent, establishing a sense of ownership. This behavior is particularly common in multi-pet households.
Dogs Lick More when Teething
Puppies often use licking as a way to soothe themselves, especially during the teething stage. Providing appropriate chew toys can redirect this behavior and help alleviate discomfort. Understanding when licking is a comfort-seeking behavior can help you respond appropriately to your dog’s needs.
Dog Obedience, Socialization & Behavioral Training in Royal Oak, Bloomfield Hills, Farmington Hills, Rochester Hills, Pontiac, Commerce Township and other areas within an hour of our home base of Waterford, Michigan
Understanding the various reasons behind your dog’s licking behavior is crucial for building a strong and positive relationship. While licking is often a sign of love and affection, it can also be a means of communication, exploration, or an indicator of underlying issues. By paying close attention to your dog’s behavior and seeking professional from Blitz K9 Club, you can ensure a happy and healthy life for your furry companion. For any of your dog training needs, Blitz K9 Club is happy to help! We have years of successful experience in training dogs and have a vast knowledge of why they do what they do. Contact us and we can help you better understand your furry friend!