what's up with licking??

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what's up with licking??

This is a discussion on what's up with licking?? within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; why does a dog lick you? often when i'm petting them (rocky and darla both do this) they want to lick my arm, hand, pants. ...

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Old 05-23-2011, 10:03 AM
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what's up with licking??

why does a dog lick you? often when i'm petting them (rocky and darla both do this) they want to lick my arm, hand, pants. dog slobber, thanks guys! <grin> but really what does it mean? is is submissive behavior? simply like the way i taste? get the salt off my arm (this theory only works when i've been outside and sweating) i've noticed they do it to each other too. they will be playing and suddenly stop and start licking each other's faces.
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Old 05-24-2011, 02:35 AM
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It can be many things!
It can be submissive, the way you taste or grooming you like you groom them.. or maybe they just want to share some kisses with you! lol
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Old 05-24-2011, 06:27 AM
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I also believe that licking is an expression of trust and happiness!
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Old 05-25-2011, 02:37 PM
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My Bentley licks CONSTANTLY. My boyfriend asked our vet who said it was a sign of submission. However, he licks everything--us, his stuffed animals, other dogs, the air, my bed, his bed, etc. I have also heard that it could be a nervous thing, like nail biting (Bentley is a very anxious dog). Most of the time it does not even seem like he knows that he is doing it.
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Old 05-27-2011, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by tozie View Post
why does a dog lick you? often when i'm petting them (rocky and darla both do this) they want to lick my arm, hand, pants. dog slobber, thanks guys! <grin> but really what does it mean? is is submissive behavior? simply like the way i taste? get the salt off my arm (this theory only works when i've been outside and sweating) i've noticed they do it to each other too. they will be playing and suddenly stop and start licking each other's faces.

-Mutual Grooming (sign of social bonding/trust - probably part of the reason why your dogs are doing it)

-It's rewarding to them (for whatever reason)

-It's fun for them

-It gets attention

-Can be an expression of pent up energy. Since you're likely a "safe" outlet for energy, they'll express it at you.

-Can be a social gesture, especially if they lick the edges/corner of your mouth, an expression of "I regard you as mine". With "mine" meaning in a similar way as you might say "that's my mom". (This is probably part of what your dogs are doing).

-Can be a calming signal. A dog that's being a threat isn't going to lick, so licking is an expression of peacefulness/peaceful intentions.

-Can be a learned behavior/routine. Wally always licks my hand once or twice before I put his blanket on him for the night.


Wally often licks me when we're doing playing in the morning. Sometimes it's "rough" especially considering he's smaller (I pull his hair and "nip" at his underbelly and he pounces on my hands and such).
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Old 05-27-2011, 11:30 AM
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Like kblover said, they might be trying to get your attention. When I'm not paying attention to my dog, she comes up and licks me. She also licks lot's of other things, I don't know why, though. She contantly licks the floor, and the carpet, her bed.

I guess to figure out why s/he is licking, look at her body language. Watch her tail, what position is it in? Also, are his/her ears back? Pay close attention to his/her body language when you know s/he is happy. Then look at the body language of when s/he is licking you. See if you can tell a difference.

Let us know. Good luck!
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Old 05-27-2011, 04:38 PM
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thanks very much. Rocky licks his bed all the time too. and his toys. neither of the dogs lick my face, it's against the rules. <grin> but they will lick my hand arms, leg, pants, feet (this tickles terribly! lol! ).
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Old 05-29-2011, 08:47 AM
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thanks very much. Rocky licks his bed all the time too. and his toys. neither of the dogs lick my face, it's against the rules. <grin> but they will lick my hand arms, leg, pants, feet (this tickles terribly! lol! ).
This is as much a curious question as anything else: When he licks his toys/bed, is it a different "kind" of lick?

For example, sometimes Wally licks me hard/with visible effort (you can tell he's putting a lot of "force" in the licks.) Sometimes, though, he licks more softly/slowly. The lick he gives me before bed tends to be softer almost more like a "touch" with his tongue than a "real" lick.

I think there's some difference there as to the "why" he's licking, but I can't quite figure it out.

Does Rocky lick you differently than he licks his toys and such? Can you notice if he's licking his buddy Darla differently?
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Old 06-16-2011, 08:02 AM
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My dog only licks me when I take him in the car. He loves going in the car, and sits on the console next to me and will randomly lick my arm.

It's easy to think he's saying "Thank you Daddy for taking me with you.", but I doubt that's what's happeneing.
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