Ever wondered 'why dogs lick people'? Well, some call it affection, some call it purely biological phenomena, some call it inherent nature and many have their own answers. The truth however is a mixture of all these reasons..Let us find out that why our dogs have the habit of licking...
"Kevin returns home after some 10 hours of grueling work at his office. As soon as his car enters the gate and he parks it in the garage, his Labrador dog, Oskar gets overwhelmed with emotions (guess Oskar loves to see his master return home!).
As soon as Kevin steps out of the car, Oskar sticks his long tongue out in the quest to reach any part of Kevin's skin. Kevin appreciates the warm welcome from Oskar but this licking part often annoys him, especially, when the tongue reaches his face and Oskar gets busy licking it like a lollipop. Kevin intrigued by the daily licking habit of Oskar asked me in utter surprise, 'Why dogs lick people', Buzzle, with this article, is trying to help Kevin with the various possible answers of the question; 'why do dog's lick people so much'...
The Psychology Behind Dog's Licking People
Some people who are not much aware about the dog psychology, regard dog licking as the expression of love and bonding for their masters. While there is an element of truth in this presumption, it is not absolutely correct!
Some pet owners take a further step and describe dog licking as "kissing". Some others who understandably get annoyed by their dog's excessive licking habit, tend to hail it as a nuisance dog behavior. While not presuming anything and jumping to conclusions, we will go through all the possible reasons that are cited for this behavior of dogs.
Why Dogs Lick People #1: A Way to Express, to Communicate!
A school of thought describes dog licking as a way to communicate and express their affection and love for their near ones and masters. Since dogs can't speak, they express themselves more creatively by licking. Many times when you are with strangers, your dog may lick your palms or back of the hand as a step to show your bonding with the master.
They may not be very aggressive and start licking your face in front of the strangers, in fact they would be humble and would limit licking to hands. He may like to show to the stranger that you are closer to him and he/she cares for you! Great, isn't it? They're really caring. And like humans express their emotions by various means, they too may have devised this way of expressing themselves.
Why Dogs Lick People #2: Biological Reasons
It is not that dogs only lick people. The puppies and baby dogs are licked by their mothers in an attempt to groom them and also to establish a mother-baby bonding. In the initial years of the dog life, especially during first few months of birth, licking puppies is an important part of proper growth of the puppy. The puppies also lick the dog's mouth in the first few months, to let the mothers regurgitate the food. This is regarded as the stimulus for the mothers to vomit the food from their stomach.
Why do dogs lick people's faces or why dogs lick people's hands? Some people agree that dogs relish the taste of human sweat and bare arms (Okay, now don't go into the logic of it, as it is also one of the possible reasons!).
How to Stop Dogs From Excessive Licking?
It is true that you can't completely stop dogs from licking. You shouldn't do that because it is an instinctive nature that has evolved in their behavior. But then you can't let them lick excessively whenever they wish. So, you can adopt certain measures that prevents the dogs from licking excessively. When the dog starts licking, you should not encourage it too much. You should stand around, stand still and avoid giving attention to the dog.
You can keep an alarm to distract the attention of the dog when he starts licking. Press the alarm immediately when he starts licking and make him habitual to this sound. Slowly and steadily, with proper dog training, you can limit your dog's licking habits.
As we can see, there is no single answer for the question, 'why do dog's lick people' and so based on your own experiences, you too may have your interpretation of this question. Lastly, don't stress the dog for changing its habit of excessive licking. Slowly and steadily, with time, your dog can learn what you want to convey to him!