If your dog keeps licking your bed, you probably want to know why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you a number of reasons why your dog might be doing it and how you can get it to stop.
So, why does my dog lick my bed? A common reason your dog will lick your bed is that it likes the taste. It could also be that you have been inadvertently rewarding the behavior, it makes it feel more secure or that it is compulsive behavior.
There are a number of things that you can consider when trying to figure out why your dog licks your bed. Once you have a good idea of the cause it will become much easier to get it to stop.
Why your dog licks your bed
Each of the different reasons why your dog does it will likely come with a number of clues.
Below, I will show you a number of possible causes and what would make them more likely.
It likes the taste
When you sleep, sweat and dead skin cells will gather on the bed which taste salty. The reason that it licks your bed could be that it likes the way that it tastes. This would be more likely if you can get quite sweaty during the night but it could still be the reason even if you don’t sweat so much.
If it does seem to be doing it due to liking the taste, it could be a sign that there is something wrong with its diet. This would be more likely if it started doing it after a change in its diet.
It has some separation anxiety
The cause might be that it has some separation anxiety. This would be more likely if it tends to lick your bed while you are away and if it starts showing signs of being anxious when you are leaving.
It could be the case that it is a compulsive behavior that it has developed which is where it feels the urge to lick the bed and it can’t stop itself from doing it. Compulsive behavior would be more likely if it has been doing it excessively for more than a week. If it does seem to be doing it compulsively it would help to take it to a vet.
You have been inadvertently rewarding it
It could be the case that you have been reinforcing the behavior by giving it things it wants when it does it. If you give it things such as extra attention, treats or toys when it licks the bed then it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards. Instead, it would help to reward it when it is well behaved and to avoid rewarding it when it licks the bed.
Things to consider
When your dog first started licking your bed
It would help to consider when your dog first started doing it since it could be the case that there was an event that made it start.
If it started doing it suddenly then it would be more likely to be due to things such as learning that it gets rewards when it does it, spilling a drink on the bed or if its diet suddenly changed. It would help to consider what else changed when it first started doing it.
When your dog licks your bed
It would also help to consider whether or not there is a certain time that it tends to do it more. If there is then it would be more likely that the timing has something to do with it.
For example, if it tends to lick the bed when you have not been giving it much attention then it might be doing it because it knows that doing so will get attention from you.
How to get your dog to stop licking your bed
There are a number of things that you can do about your licking your bed. The best option for your dog will largely depend on the cause of it doing it.
Below, I will mention a number of things that you can do about it.
Leave it training
One option would be do to lots of “leave it” training with your dog. To do this you would:
- Get some treats that it likes and take it near the bed
- Tell it to leave it
- Reward it for not licking the bed
- Stop rewarding it when it likes the bed
- Repeat the above until it learns not to lick it
Give it other things to chew on
Another option would be to give it other things to chew or lick on such as bones. Doing so should help to reduce how much it feels the need to lick your bed and to get it out of the habit of doing it.
Make sure that its diet is right
It would also help to make sure that it is getting all of the nutrients that it needs in its diet. It would help to discuss its diet with your local vet. You can also look here to see what you should be feeding your dog.
Reduce its access to your bed
It would also help to reduce how much access it has to your bedroom so that it has fewer opportunities to lick it. Perhaps you could close the door to the room when you are not around and get it to stay elsewhere in the house.
Avoid negative reinforcement
As mentioned above, it could be the case that you have been encouraging the behavior by giving it things that it wants when it licks your bed. Instead, it would help to reward it when it does not do it and to stop rewarding it when it does.