There is nothing more bothersome than the feeling of the soft wet tongue of your dog licking you. Just take a few moments to imagine it. That warm, wet, soft tongue leaving a trail of saliva on your skin.

So, why does my dog lick me? Likely reasons why your dog licks you are for attention, it wants something from you, excitement, or having learned that the behavior is rewarded.

There are actually a number of possible reasons why your dog licks you and it might be due to a combination of reasons. However, there are some things you can consider to help figure out the main cause and there are some things you can do to get your dog to stop.

Why does my dog lick me?

Below are likely causes and what would make each of them more likely.

It wants attention

The reason why your dog 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 your dog licks you 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.

It wants something from you

The cause could also be that it wants something from you and it is trying to make you get up and give it to your dog. This would be more likely if your dog tends to do it more at around the same time that you would normally give it something such as food or exercise.

In this case, it would help to avoid rewarding your dog with what it wants until it has stopped licking you.

Excitement

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 and if it shows signs of being excited such as by wagging its tail and jumping up at you. In this case, it would help to get your dog off from you and to ignore it until it calms down.

Grooming

Dogs will often groom themselves by licking themselves. They will also groom other dogs such as when a mother dog licks her puppies. This is one reason that they will lick you too. This would be more likely if your dog does it when it is sitting down with you.

Hunger or dyhdration

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, it would help to make sure that it has access to water.

Encouraging the behavior

It could also be the case that your dog 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.

Anxiety

The cause might be that something is causing it to be anxious. Situations, where this is more likely, would include when it’s recently had a stressful event occur such as when a family member has gone away or if one of your other dogs has died.

Boredom

The cause might be that it is understimulated. This would be more likely if it is a breed that is meant to get a lot of exercise on a daily basis and if it does it more when it has not gotten much exercise. In this case, it would help to make sure that it is able to get the recommended amount of daily exercise for its age and breed.

Illness

When you’re sick you can get a bad taste in the mouth, this can happen to dogs too so the licking could be its way of getting the taste out of its mouth. This would be more likely if it also licks other things a lot such as the floor. If you think that this might be the case, it would help to take it for a checkup and to make sure that it has access to water.

Nature

Dogs will start to lick things before they’re even able to open their eyes so they will naturally begin to explore the world using their tongues. This habit can continue into adulthood causing it to naturally lick things quite often.

It is still young

The reason why it licks a lot could be that it is still a puppy. Puppies tend to be a lot more excitable and curious and they tend to lick more because of it. If your dog is still a puppy then it’s likely that it will calm down as it gets older but you should still take the time to train it now so that it’s better behaved as an adult.

Things to consider

Below are things to consider to help figure out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.

If your dog has always licked you

If your dog did not always lick you so much, it would help to consider what else happened when your dog first started licking you. If it started doing it suddenly, it might be due to things such as something causing it to be anxious, illness, learning that the behavior is rewarded, or because you stopped giving it as much attention.

The timing of when your dog licks you

It would also help to consider whether or not there is a certain time that it tends to lick you more. If there is then it could be the case that the timing has something to do with it.

For example, if it licks you more when you get home then it would be more likely that it is doing it due to excitement. Whereas, if it does it more at around the same time you would normally feed or walk it, your dog might be trying to remind you to feed and walk it.

Don’t let it lick your face

Even though you’ll often find that dogs will try to lick your face a lot especially when they get excited you shouldn’t let it do so. The reason being that your dog could have been licking something that has germs and you’ll be risking letting those germs spread to you.

What can I do about my dog licking me?

Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.

Avoid encouraging it

As mentioned above, it might be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior is rewarded. One option would be to avoid rewarding it, by ignoring your dog, 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.

Redirect its focus

It would also help to try to redirect its focus when it seems likely to start licking you. Ways to redirect its focus could include giving it a toy or getting it to perform a trick.

Training

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.

Give it exercise

It would also help to make sure that your dog is able to get the daily amount of recommended exercise for its age and breed since it might be licking due to boredom.

Ensure it is getting the right diet and has access to water

It would also help to make sure that it is getting the right diet and that it has access to water since it might be doing it due to hunger or thirst.

Give it distractions

In addition to the above, you could also give it things to be distracted with so that it is less likely to feel the need to lick you. Things that you could give it would be toys, puzzle games or bones.

Get help

If it seems like your dog has been trying to lick you due to illness, 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 particular dog and to rule out medical causes.

Why does my dog lick me excessively?

The reason why your dog has been licking you excessively could be that something is causing it to be anxious or that it has learned that the behavior is rewarded. It would help to consider what else happened when your dog first started doing it and if there is a certain situation that your dog tends to lick you in.

Why does my dog lick me in the morning?

The reason why your dog licks you in the morning is likely to be a combination of wanting you to feed it, excitement and being happy to see you due to some separation anxiety.

Why does my dog lick me at night?

If your dog does not sleep in the same room as you, the cause could be that it has separation anxiety. If your dog does sleep with you, it could be the case that it is grooming you or because it is thirsty.

Why does my dog lick me all the time?

Your dog might lick you all the time due to having learned that the behavior is rewarded or wanting to get extra attention from you. In this case, it would help to avoid rewarding it with extra attention and to ignore it until it stops licking.

Why does my dog lick me when I sit down?

The reason why your dog licks you when you sit down is likely to be that it has learned that the behavior results in you giving it extra attention and because it has a chance to lick your face. In this case, it would help to get your dog off from you, to train it to sit in another spot and to ignore it until it calms down.

Why does my dog lick me when I sleep?

The reason why your dog licks you when you sleep is likely to be that it is trying to get extra attention from you.

Why does my dog lick me after eating?

If your dog licks you after eating when it does not have access to water, the cause could be that it is thirsty. If it does have access to water, your dog might be trying to thank you for the food or because it is playing.

Why does my dog only lick me?

The most likely reason why your dog only licks you is that you are the one that normally gives it things such as food, exercise and attention.

Why does my dog lick me constantly?

Your dog might be licking you constantly due to compulsive behavior which would be more likely if it has been licking other things a lot as well. It could also be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior gets rewarded.

Why does my dog lick me randomly?

The reason why your dog licks you randomly could be that it wants something from you. This would be more likely if it does it more at around the same time that you would normally feed it or walk it. Otherwise, it would be likely that it is trying to get attention from you.

Why does my dog lick me for no reason?

If your dog licks you for no apparent reason, a part of the cause is likely to be that it naturally wants to lick things. It could also be because it has learned that licking you results in you giving it more attention.

Why does my dog lick me before exercise?

The reason why your dog licks you before getting exercise is likely to be that it is excited and trying to remind you to exercise it.

Why does my dog lick me after exercise?

A possible reason why your dog licks you after getting exercise is that it is telling you that it wants water. If you are sweaty, it might also be the case that your dog likes the taste of the sweat.

Why does my dog lick me after it wakes up?

The reason why your dog licks you after waking up could be that it naturally has more energy at that time or that it wants you to feed it which would be more likely if it does it when it wakes up in the morning.

Why does my dog lick me to wake me up?

The reason why your dog wakes you up by licking you is likely to be that it is trying to tell you to give it something such as food or exercise.

Why does my dog lick me when I get home?

The reason why your dog licks you when you get home is likely to be that it is excited to see you and that it has some separation anxiety. In this case, it would help to ignore it until it stops licking you.

Why does my dog lick me before going to bed?

If your dog does not sleep with you, the cause is likely to be that it has some separation anxiety. Whereas, if your dog can sleep with you, it might be due to wanting something such as water or to be let outside.

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Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.