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why do small dogs lick so much

"Victoria, I have aPone-year-old black Lab. He is a very sweet dog, but we cannot get him to stop licking us. When I say lickingP. I mean that we cannot pet him without getting licked. P What can we do to stop this behavior? "P Kish1
"I have a seven-month-old chow/husky mix and I can't break her of licking everyone. Why? How do you break that habit? "PP zoegirl1 Why is the dog licking? P Right from birth that is how the mother communicates with her new puppies, how she stimulates them to start breathing and how she cleans them when they are born, so it's very important to the survival of puppies. P In the wild and in domestic dogs, you'll find they will lick around the mother's mouth as newborns and puppies still retain that instinct. P It's also sort of a submissive gesturePPthe more subordinate members of a pack will lick the more dominant members and that's important in maintaining pack harmony. PP Dogs also lick because they like the taste of an owner's salty skin and out of habit. P Mostly, with domestic dogs, it's a sign of affection.


Licking releases pleasurable endorphins which gives dogs a feeling of comfort and pleasurePPlike the feeling people get when they are biting their nailsPPit relieves stress. P If your dog's licking is purely a sign of affection, one way to decrease this is to ignore the licking. Licking never gets attention. P IfP your dog licks you, then you immediately stand up and walk into another room. You want to teach your dog that licking means the person will leave the room. P When you pet your dog, if he starts to lick, the petting stops and you walk away. With repetition the licking will stop. If a dog is chronically licking himself, it can be because he is bored, anxious, has skin problems such as allergies, or could be feeling pain either in their paws or elsewhere in their bodies. You should make sure your dog is getting enough stimulation and rule out any infections or allergies by visiting your vet. Can your dog's enthusiastic licks represent a sign of affection? Ever wonder what your dog is thinking when he slurps your face like a lollipop?


Is he just saying hello or planting the canine version of a kiss on your cheek? Although we may never know the real answer, it helps to understand the psychology of the lick. As any dog owner knows, dogs lick often and for a variety of reasons. For example, mothers lick their puppies to clean them and stimulate their urination and defecation. From about six weeks of age, some pups lick their mom's face and lips when they want her to regurgitate food for them. This behavior is a remnant of their wild ancestry it was easier for the mother to carry food in her stomach rather than dragging it back to the den in her mouth. Pack members lick to communicate As puppies grow older, they lick to groom themselves and their pack mates. It also becomes a way of welcoming others back into the pack and increasing the bonds between pack members. Adult dogs lick as a sign of deference or submissiveness to a dominant pack member. The dog doing the licking usually lowers its body to make itself smaller, and looks up, adding to the effect of subordinate behavior.


The dog receiving the face licks shows its dominance by standing tall to accept the gesture, but doesn't return the favor. Interpreting your dog's lick Now when your dog tries to lick your face, you might have a better idea of what he's trying to communicate. He may simply be letting you know that he's glad to see you. Or he may be hungry and asking for a snack. Obviously, you won't regurgitate some food at that signal, but you might give him a treat. But can his enthusiastic licks also represent a sign of affection? Here's one way to look at it. A dog's behavior can be encouraged with positive reinforcement. So if a dog licks his owner's face either out of instinct, anxiety, or just because his owner's face tastes salty and that action is greeted with positive attention, such as hugs and human kisses, he'll want to repeat the behavior. While it's probably not a "kiss," you can bet it's a sign that your dog thinks you're pretty great.

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