If your dog licks your legs a lot, 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.
Why does my dog lick my legs? Possible reasons why your dog licks your legs are that the behavior is rewarded, it’s looking for attention, it’s bored, it’s being affectionate, it is grooming you, or that it likes the salty taste.
There are actually a number of reasons why your dog might lick your legs and it could be due to a combination of reasons. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main cause. Once you have a good idea of the main cause, it should become a lot easier to get it to stop doing it.
Why does my dog lick my legs?
Below are a number of common reasons why your dog could be licking your legs a lot and what would make them more likely to be the most likely reason why your dog has been doing it.
Licking your legs gets rewarded
It could be the case that your dog has learned that it gets rewarded when it licks your legs. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when your dog licks your legs, 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 legs and to stop giving it rewards as soon as it starts trying to lick you.
Your dog licks your legs 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.
Your dog licks your legs due to boredom
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.
Your dog licks your legs due to nature
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 legs. The habit of licking things will stay with it as it gets older which is why they will naturally lick quite often.
Your dog licks your legs due to affection
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.
Your dog licks your legs due to grooming
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 legs. This would be more likely if it tries to lick you when you are not petting it.
Your dog licks your legs due to excitement
The reason why it licks your legs 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 legs before continuing.
Your dog likes the taste of your legs
A very likely reason why your dog does it is that it likes the taste. Your legs will likely taste very salty and dogs can like the salty taste. Liking the taste would be more likely to be the reason if your dog also licks other things with your sweat on such as your pillows.
Your dog licks your legs due to submissiveness
It could actually be the case that your dog is being submissive. In the wild, dogs will lick the more dominant dogs as a way of letting them know that they are in charge. The reason why your dog has been licking you might be that it is letting you know that you are in charge. This would be more likely if your dog also does other submissive things such as hide its tail or put itself into lower positions than you.
Things to consider about your dog licking your legs
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 your legs
If your dog did not always try to lick your legs, 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 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 your dog does not lick your legs
It would also help to consider the timing of when it licks your legs. 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 can I do about my dog licking my legs?
Below are some things you can do in order to get your dog to stop licking your legs.
Avoid encouraging it
As mentioned above, it could be the case that your dog has learned that it gets rewards for licking your legs. It would help to stop giving it rewards or attention, when it starts licking your legs, then to give it attention again once it has stopped.
Train your dog 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 legs you would:
- Stand up and turn away, when it starts licking your legs, 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 legs
- Repeat the above until it learns that licking your legs causes it to lose your attention
- Reward it with a treat when it does particularly well
Give your dog 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 your dog 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 your dog 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.
Why does my dog lick my legs after a shower?
There are many possible reasons why your dog might lick you after you shower. The cause could be that it likes the way you smell which would be more likely if it only does it when you have used a smelly lotion. It could also be the case that your dog likes licking the water off from you which would be more likely if your dog does it before you have dried yourself. It might also be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior is rewarded.
Why does my dog lick my legs in the morning?
If your dog tends to lick your legs in the morning, it might be the case that it does it due to separation anxiety. This would be more likely if your dog shows signs of being anxious when you are leaving it alone and if it also licks you when you arrive home. In this case, it would help to limit possible reasons why it might become anxious while you are away.
Why does my dog lick my legs after drinking water?
A possible reasons why your dog might lick your legs after drinking is that it is being affectionate. Another possible cause is that it wants to lick you when its tongue is dry but it does not like the feeling of licking you when its tongue is dry. It does not have that issue when its tongue is wet so it licks you more.
Why does my dog lick my legs when I get home?
The reason why your dog licks your legs, when you get home, is likely to be that it has some separation anxiety which would be more likely if it gets anxious when you are leaving or that it is showing that it is excited to see you which would be more likely if it shows other signs of excitement.
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