Licking is a natural behavior of dogs; it’s in their genes. Your dog may be trying to get your attention to ask for something, or he/she may be expressing submissiveness or excitement.
Licking can mean “Hi! I thought you were never coming home ever again and you did! I am so happy to see you!” It can also be as simple as they like the lotion, soap or scent on your skin, or they have been (usually unintentionally) trained to show affection this way.
Before you begin to train for elimination of this habit, it’s important to figure out why they are doing it.
According to the ASPCA, some dogs start compulsive behaviors for no obvious reason at all. Other dogs develop compulsions after having physical conditions that cause them to lick or chew their bodies.
For example, if your dog injures his paw and licks it, he might continue his repetitive licking behavior after the injury has completely healed.
A dog’s lifestyle can sometimes contribute to the development of compulsive behaviors like licking. For example, repetitive behavior is more likely to develop in dogs whose living conditions cause anxiety or stress.
Licking is often considered a behavioral problem, but it could signal something else.
Dog training expert Cesar Milan recommends taking your dog for a vet check-up if the licking becomes excessive and a nuisance—vets can rule out any medical or neurological problems.
Licking furniture, floors, walls, dog beds, appliances, doors, etc. could also be tied to anxiety from being home alone during the day or not getting enough exercise. If that is the case, enrolling your dog in doggy daycare can be helpful.
At doggy daycare, your furry baby will be surrounded by lots of activity and play buddies—they will receive plenty of exercise and, in most cases, will be sent home dog tired.
Want to try doggy daycare as a cure for excessive licking behaviors? Call Rover Stay Over! Our doggy daycare and boarding kennel, located just north of Bellingham, WA, is trusted and recommended by many. We’d love to try and help your fur baby get over the urge to lick everything, and everyone in sight!