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Why Does my Dog Lick me?

May 13, 2024
Why Does my Dog Lick me?

You know how dogs often greet us with a slobbering lick?


It might seem like they're just showing love (and in my mind they are), but actually, there's a whole lot more to it.


Dogs lick us for reasons that are tied into their biology, their evolution, and how they interact with others. Let's break down the science behind why your dog might be so keen to give you that lick service.


It Starts When They're Puppies


Right from the moment they're born, puppies start licking their mums face to get her to feed them.

This isn't just about getting food but also their way of showing they know who's boss. As they grow up, they keep using licking to show respect and to get attention or treats from their human owners, who they see as the leaders of the pack.


Licking Makes Them Feel Good


According to experts, when dogs lick, it releases endorphins in their brain. Like how we feel happy when we're enjoying something.

This happy feeling makes them want to lick even more, especially as it strengthens their bond with us.


They're Trying to Tell Us Something


Dogs can't talk, licking is one of the ways they communicate. They might be asking for food, wanting some cuddle time, or asking us to play with them. It's their way of nudging us to pay attention to what they need or want.


They're Curious Creatures


Dogs are curious about the world, and they use their mouths to explore just like we might use our hands. When they lick us, they're learning about where we've been and what we've been up to, just by the way we smell and taste.


Showing Respect and Fitting into the Family


In the wild, the less dominant wolves show respect by licking the more dominant ones, I’m well aware that wolves aren’t dogs but our domestic dogs do the same with us to show they accept us as the head of the household.


Licking Soothes Them


Licking can help alleviate anxiety or stress, helping calm them down. It’s a comfort thing, releasing chemicals that make them feel a bit more relaxed.


They Learn That Licking Gets Them What They Want


If licking earns them extra petting or treats, they'll remember that and use it to their advantage, they’re not daft.

It's a learned behaviour that they keep doing because it gets them the love or rewards they're after.


So yeah,

Dogs lick for many reasons: as part of their natural instincts, to communicate, to explore, to show respect, for comfort, and sometimes, just to get what they want.