If your Labrador 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 Labrador 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 many different reasons why your Labrador might lick you and it could be the result of multiple reasons. However, there are a number of things you can do about it.
Why your Labrador could be licking so much
The different reasons why your Labrador 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.
The reason why your Labrador licks you a lot could be that it is grooming you. Labradors will often groom themselves by licking themselves. They will also groom other dogs such as when a mother Labradors licks her puppies. This is one reason that they will lick you too.
The reason why it has been doing 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 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.
Hunger or dehydration
The cause might be that it is hungry or dehydrated. This would be more likely if it also starts licking other things a lot as well and if it does it when it does not have access to water. It is important to make sure that it has access to water throughout the day in order to prevent this from happening.
Stress or anxiety
The cause could be that it is stressed or 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. This would be more likely to be the reason if it has also been licking itself and other objects a lot. In this case, it would help to get advice from a vet.
It could also be due to being ill. This would be more likely to be the reason if it has also been licking other things a lot as well and if it has been showing other signs of being ill such as vomiting. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
Labradors 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 trying to get attention from you. This would be more likely if it does it more when you have not been giving it much attention and if you tend to give it more attention when it does it.
Instead, it would help to avoid rewarding it with attention when it licks you and to give it attention when it is being well behaved.
It’s still young
The cause could be that it is still young. Puppies tend to be a lot more excitable and curious and they tend to lick more because of it. If your Labrador 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 Labrador to stop licking
Below are some options you have when getting your Labrador to lick you less.
Don’t reward it
It would help to avoid rewarding it with things such as extra attention, toys or treats when it licks you because it might teach it to lick you more if you do. Instead, it would help to reward it when it is being well behaved and to stop rewarding it when it starts licking you.
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
It would also help to give it lots of exercise so that it is less hyperactive. Generally, it is recommended for Labradors to get at least an hour of exercise per day when they are healthy.
Take it to a vet
If you can’t figure out why your Labrador has been doing it or it seems like it might be ill, 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 particular Labrador and to rule out the possibility that it is due to it being ill.
When training your Labrador, it is important to be patient. It is unlikely that you will be able to get drastic results with just one training session but you will be able to get much better results over the course of weeks if you stick with it.
Things to consider
Don’t let it lick your face
Since dogs tongues can have many germs on them, it is important to avoid letting your Labrador lick your face.
If you can’t get it to stop doing it, consider getting the help of a dog trainer or behaviorist in your area so that you can see how to train it effectively.