If your dog has been licking you a lot, at night, 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 to get yours to stop doing it.
So, why does my dog lick me at night? Possible reasons why your dog licks you at night are that it is anxious, it wants something such as water, it is looking for attention or that it has learned that the behavior is rewarded.
Since there are a number of possible causes, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the main cause, it should become a lot easier to get your dog to stop doing it.
Why your dog licks you before going to sleep
Below are a number of possible causes and what would make each of them more likely to be one of the main reasons.
It could be the case that something has been causing it to be anxious at night and the licking is a soothing behavior. The reason why it might be anxious could be that it has some separation anxiety. This would be more likely if it starts becoming anxious when you are about to go to bed at night and if it sleeps in a different room to you.
The reason why it does it could be that it is being affectionate. This would be more likely if it does it in response to you being affectionate towards it such as when you are petting it. When it’s licking you it’s letting you know that it trusts you and that you are a part of its tribe.
Encouraging the behavior
It could be the case that you have encouraged it to lick you more by giving it things that it wants when it does it. If you give your dog things such as extra attention, toys or treats when it licks you then it will likely do it more in order to get more of those rewards.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it is well behaved and to avoid rewarding it when it licks you.
The reason why it licks you might be that it is looking for attention. This would be more likely if it does it more when you have not been giving it much attention and if you give it extra attention when it does it.
In this case, it would help to give it attention throughout the day by playing with it, exercising it and training it. But, it would help to avoid rewarding it with extra attention when it licks you.
Hunger or dehydration
The cause might be that it is hungry or thirsty. This would be more likely if it starts licking other things as well such as areas where there has been food and if it starts licking its lips a lot. If you think that this is the cause then give it a bowl of water and some food. If it drinks the water quickly then it probably was the reason. It would also be more likely to be the cause, if it stops licking you after you give it food and water.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
What else happened when your dog first started licking you at night
If it did not always lick you at night, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it could be due to things such as something happening causing it to get anxious at night, not getting access to water at night or some other change in its routine at night.
What is different when it does not do it
If it does not always lick you at night, it would also help to consider what is different when it does not do it. For example, if it does not do it when it can sleep where you sleep, it could be the case that it does it due to separation anxiety.
What to do about your dog licking you at night
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop licking you at night.
Avoid encouraging it
One option would be to avoid rewarding it when it does it. By doing so you should be able to teach your dog that licking you does not result in it getting things that it wants. One way to do this would be to get up and turn away from it when it starts licking and to avoid giving it attention until it calms down.
If it has been licking you excessively, at night, it would help to take it to a vet for a checkup. By doing so, you should be able to get expert advice tailored towards your specific dog and hopefully rule out medical causes.
Reward it when it does not do it
It would also help to reward it when it does not lick but it normally would. By doing so you should be able to teach it that not licking results in it getting rewards. If it does start to lick, you would stop rewarding it until it stops licking.
You can watch the video below to see how to do it.
Ensure that it has access to water
As mentioned above, it might be the case that it does it because it is thirsty or hungry in the mornings. It would help to make sure that it gets access to water in the morning incase it has been doing it due to being thirsty.