If your dog keeps grooming you, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do about them.
So, why does my dog groom me? Possible reasons why your dog grooms you are that it does it naturally as a way of bonding, it has learned that the behavior is rewarded, it is being submissive, or that it is looking for extra attention.
There are actually multiple reasons why your dog might be doing it and it could be due to a combination of reasons. However, there are a number of things to consider when figuring out the main cause and there are a number of things you can do about it.
Reasons why your dog grooms you
Below are a number of possible causes and what would make each of them more likely to be the main cause.
Dogs will often groom each other as a sign of affection and social bonding. The reason why your dog has been grooming you could be that it is bonding with you. This would be more likely if it does it in situations such as when it is sat down with you and it is somewhat calm when it does it.
Encouraging the behavior
Another possible cause is that it has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. If you tend to give your dog things such as toys, treats, or extra attention, when it licks you, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Dogs will also, sometimes, lick other dogs when they are being submissive. The reason why yours has been licking you might also be that it is being submissive. This would be more likely if it does it when you are annoyed with it and if it shows other submissive signs such as hiding its tail or rolling on its back.
The reason why it does it might be that it is excited. This would be more likely if it does it more at certain times such as when you come home. It would also be more likely if it shows other signs of being excited such as wagging its tail or being very energetic.
Looking for attention
The reason why it licks you a lot could be that it is trying to get attention from you. This would be more likely if you tend to give it extra attention when it does it and if it does it more when you have not been giving it much attention.
It would help to give it attention throughout the day but to avoid rewarding it with extra attention when it starts licking you.
Hunger or dehydration
The reason why it does it, sometimes, might be that it is hungry or dehydrated. This would be more likely if it also starts licking its lips and other things a lot as well and if it does it when it does not have access to water. It is important to make sure that it has access to water throughout the day in order to prevent this from happening.
How to get your dog to stop grooming you
Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.
Don’t reward it
The reason why your dog grooms you could be that it gets rewards when it does it. Instead of giving it things that it wants when it grooms you, it would help to stop rewarding it and to reward it when it is behaving the way that you want it to.
Give it toys
It would also help to give it things to be distracted with so that it is less likely to behave in a way that you do not want it to. Things that you could give it would include bones, toys and puzzle games.
Give it lots of exercise
It would also help to make sure that it is able to get the daily amount of recommended exercise for its age and breed. Doing so should help to get it to be calmer for the rest of the day.
Take it to a vet
If your dog has started doing it suddenly and excessively, the best option would be to take it to a vet. By doing so you will be able to rule out medical causes and to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog.
When training your dog, it is important to have patience. It is unlikely that you will be able to get significant results with just one training session, but if you train it consistently, you can get much better results over the course of weeks and months.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider about your dog grooming you.
Don’t let it lick your face
Since dogs tongues can have many germs on them, it is important to avoid letting your dog lick your face.
If it always groomed you
If your dog did not always groom you, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it since it might be the case that there was an event that caused it to start. If it did start doing it suddenly, it might be the case that something caused it to become anxious, there was a change in its diet or it learned that the behavior is rewarded.
What is different when it does it
If your dog tends to do it more at a certain time, it would also help to consider what is different about the timing. For example, if it does it more when you arrive home, it would be more likely to be doing it due to excitement.