If your Golden Retriever has a habit of licking you a lot you’re probably wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will try to help you to figure out why it is doing it and how to stop it.
So, why does my Golden Retriever lick me so much? Possible reasons why it licks you are that it is showing affection, grooming you, excited, stressed or that it is looking for attention.
There are actually a number of reasons why it might lick you a lot and it could be due to a combination of multiple reasons. However, there are some things you can consider when trying to figure out the exact reason.
Why your Golden Retriever could be licking so much
The different reasons why your Golden Retriever licks you will likely come with some clues in the way that it does it.
Below are a number of possible causes and what would make them more likely.
Golden Retrievers will often groom themselves by licking themselves. They will also groom other dogs such as when a mother Golden Retriever licks her puppies. This is one reason that they will lick you too.
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.
The cause of the licking could also be due to excitement. This would be more likely if it does it more in situations such as when you come home.
Hunger or dehydration
It could be a sign that it is hungry or dehydrated which would be more likely if it starts licking other things such as the floor, it’s lips or wet things as well. It is important to make sure that your Golden Retriever is able to get access to water whenever it needs to.
Stress or 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. It can also be the case when it has been mistreated in the past and it copes by licking a lot.
Being sick could be what has been causing it to do it. This would be more likely if it has been licking other things as well and if it has been showing other signs of being sick such as vomiting. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
Golden Retrievers 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.
The cause could 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 or if you tend to give it more attention when it does it.
If you want to get it to stop, one option would be to stop giving it attention when it starts licking you, waiting for it to calm down and then giving it attention again. Doing this should teach it that licking you causes you to stop giving it attention.
It’s still young
Puppies tend to be a lot more excitable and curious and they tend to lick more because of it. If your Golden Retriever 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.
How to get your Golden Retriever to stop licking
There are a number of things that you can do to get your Golden Retriever to stop licking that I will mention below.
Don’t reward it
One option would be to avoid rewarding it when it does it. By doing so you should be able to teach your Golden Retriever 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.
Reward it for not licking
It would also help to reward it when it does not lick you and to avoid rewarding it when it does. By doing so you should be able to teach it that not licking you results in it getting things that it wants.
Give it toys
In addition to the above, you could also give it toys to be distracted by, if it becomes easily excitable.
Give it lots of exercise
Golden Retrievers are a breed that is meant to get a lot of exercise on a daily basis in order to be fully stimulated. Generally, it is recommended for them to get at least an hour of exercise per day.
Take it to a vet
If it has started licking you and other things a lot suddenly or it has been showing other signs of illness, the best option would be to take it to a vet. By doing so you will be able to get expert advice tailored towards your Golden Retriever and to rule out the possibility of it being due to illness.
When training your Golden Retriever, it is important to be patient. It is unlikely that you will be able to get it to dramatically change its behavior with just one training session. But, you should be able to get much better results over the course of weeks if you are consistent.
Things to consider
When you’re getting your Golden Retriever to reduce its licking there are some things that you should keep in mind that I will mention below.
Don’t let them lick your face
Since dogs tongues can have many germs on them, it is important to avoid letting your Golden Retriever lick your face.
If you are unable to get it to stop doing it, one option would be to get help from a professional dog trainer or behaviorist in your area. By doing so you should be able to see how to get it to stop in a secure manner.
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