If your dog has been licking your feet a lot, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of reasons why your dog might lick your feet and what you can do to get your dog to stop doing it.
So, why does my dog lick my feet? Possible reasons why your dog licks your feet are that the behavior gets rewarded, it is looking for attention, boredom, it is grooming you or that it is being affectionate.
Since there are multiple possible reasons why your dog might be licking your feet, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the cause, it should become easier to get your dog to stop doing it.
Why your dog licks your feet
Below are a number of reasons why your dog might have been doing it and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.
The behavior gets rewarded
It could be the case that your dog has learned that it gets rewarded when it licks your feet. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it licks your feet, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Instead, it would help to reward it while it is not licking your feet and to stop giving it rewards as soon as it starts trying to lick you.
Looking for attention
The cause could also be that it has been looking for extra attention. This would be more likely if it does it more when you have not been giving it much attention, for a while, and if you tend to give it extra attention when it does it.
It could be the case that it is bored and looking for ways to stimulate itself. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more before getting exercise. It would help to ensure that it is able to get the daily amount of recommended exercise for its age and breed. If it is already getting a lot of exercise, another way to stimulate it would be to give it training.
When dogs are young, one of the first ways that they will explore the world is by licking and sniffing things. If your dog is a puppy then it is likely to be the case that it is exploring when it is licking your feet. The habit of licking things will stay with it as it gets older which is why they will naturally lick quite often.
It might also be the case that it does it because it is being affectionate. When it’s licking you it’s letting you know that it trusts you and that you are a part of its tribe. This type of licking is normal and will often happen when you try to pet it.
Dogs will often groom themselves by licking. They will also groom others such as when a mother dogs licks her puppies. This is could be why your dog has been licking your feet. This would be more likely if it tries to lick you when you are not petting it.
The reason why it licks your feet could be that it is excited. This would be more likely if it tends to do it in situations where it gets very excited such as when you come home or when it is going out for a walk.
In this case, it would help to avoid doing the thing that it gets excited about and to wait for it to stop licking your feet before continuing.
Things to consider
Below are some things you can consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been licking your feet.
What else happened when your dog first started licking your feet
If your dog did not always lick your feet, it would help to consider if anything else happened when it first started doing it since it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start.
If it started doing it suddenly, it could be due to things such as learning that it gets rewards for doing it or if you stopped giving it as much attention causing it to do things to get you to give it more attention.
What is different when it does it
It would also help to consider the timing of when it licks your feet. If it tends to do it more when you arrive home, it would be more likely to be due to things such as excitement and it would help to ignore it until it stops licking and then to reward it for not licking.
What to do about your dog licking your feet
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop doing it.
Avoid encouraging it
As mentioned above, it could be the case that your dog has learned that it gets rewards for licking your feet. It would help to stop giving it rewards or attention, when it starts licking your feet, then to give it attention again once it has stopped.
Train it to stop
Positive reinforcement training is where you get your dog to do things that you want by rewarding it for doing them or showing signs of doing them.
To use positive reinforcement training to get it to stop licking your feet you would:
- Stand up and turn away, when it starts licking your feet, leaving the room if necessary.
- Wait a few moments and then go back to giving it attention and then turning away again if it starts licking your feet
- Repeat the above until it learns that licking your feet causes it to lose your attention
- Reward it with a treat when it does particularly well
Give it exercise
It would also help to ensure that it is able to get the daily amount of recommended exercise for its age and breed. If it is already getting daily exercise, another way to stimulate it would be to give it more training.
Give it attention
It would also help to give it attention throughout the day so that it is less likely to try to get attention from you. Ways to give it attention would be to train it, exercise it and to play with it.
Give it distractions
In addition to the above, you could also try giving it things to be distracted by such as bones or toys so that it is less likely to start licking your arms.