As certified dog trainers and owner of 3 dogs that are BIG TIME lickers April and I know a thing or two about getting licks and kisses every time we bend over to do something and we also know a little something about wet cushions on the couch or wet spots in the bed and not the good kind either, lol. We're talking about the wet spots you get from a dog licking their paws or the bedding until it's soaking wet.
To control your dogs licking habits you must first know why dogs lick.
To try and completely stop licking or eliminate licking from your dog's daily routine is impossible. It's like trying to eliminate crying or cooing from a baby. You just can't do it.
The best course of action to take is to learn from us (certified and educated dog trainers) and understand why dogs lick and then provide solutions from there.
Why do dogs lick?
No matter what the reason is for your dog's licking habits, they are always STILL, going to lick something.
That means, even after they have been diagnosed and you understand why they are licking, there is still the issue of what they are licking.
To make sure that your dog isn't licking something harmful like the ground, or a poisonous plant or you and your guests we recommend redirecting your dogs licking habits to a Lick Pad for Dogs.
REASONS DOGS LICK
#1) They like the taste of your skin - Plain and simple, as your dog likes the taste of your skin. Your sweat and skin tastes like salt.
#2) As a sign of affection - Some dogs lick to show affection so, depending on the circumstances, your dog’s licks are like kisses. This doesn’t mean that your dog has to lick you in the face. They might lick your leg or your face.
#3) To get your attention - If your dog has licked you and you turned to your dog and said anything at all, you taught your dog that licking will get you to pay attention/talk to them. That is because dogs learn through operant conditioning. Operant conditioning states that a dog learns that a certain behavior has a certain consequence. The behavior is Licking you and the consequence is you speaking to the dog or turning to the dog and kissing the dog.
#4) Anxiety - When feeling anxious some dogs will lick themselves until their skin is bright red and raw. This goes back to the fact of licking releases endorphins. They feel nervous, alone, anxious, they start licking as a result of that and it's usually their paws or their bedding that they will lick.
#5) Boredom - Dogs can lick for hours on end. They can lick themselves, their crates, their beds. I had a dog once that would like the armrest of my couch until it was soaking wet. I would go to lay down and lay my head in a cold, dripping wet spot on my couch. It happened a total of 4 times before I had enough and bought a new one. Dogs are weird which is why I love them so much.
**If you think your dog is licking for one of these reasons please contact your vet immediately.
#6) Pain - Licking releases endorphins. When your dog is injured you will notice, they will lick the area that hurts them as if their tongue is the medicine. Thats because when they lick endorphins are released into their bodies giving them a pleasurable feeling as they continue to lick.
#7) Itchiness causes licking. Dry skin caused by not having enough fiber, moisture, water, or omegas in their diet can cause dry and very itchy skin. These areas can turn into open wounds when the dog licks it constantly
#8) Nutrient Deficiency - Licking is caused by a dietary deficiency or particular nutrient need like Omegas, Fiber, Moisture in food