Dogs have been our loyal and faithful companions for centuries; during this time, they have developed many unique behaviors that endear them to us. One such behavior is licking, a common and often welcomed behavior in dogs. Dogs love to lick humans for various reasons, and understanding these can help us better appreciate and bond with our furry friends.
Which Breed Loves Licking The Most
Some breeds may be more prone to licking than others due to their natural temperament or behavior. One breed that is known for its love of licking is the Labrador Retriever. These friendly and social dogs are known to be very affectionate and often show their love by licking their owners’ faces or hands. They are also very intelligent and trainable, making them a popular choice as therapy dogs and service animals.
One of the primary reasons why dogs love to lick humans is because it is an instinctive behavior. Licking is a natural behavior deeply ingrained in a dog’s DNA. Like all living organisms, dogs have DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) that contains the genetic information that determines their physical characteristics and behavior. It starts from the moment they are born when their mother licks them to clean and stimulate them. As they grow, licking becomes a way for dogs to communicate and show affection towards their pack members, which includes humans.
Licking is also a way for dogs to explore their environment and gather information. A dog’s sense of taste is much more developed than ours, and they can detect different tastes and smells that we cannot. By licking us, they can gather information about our diet, health, and emotional state. For example, a dog may lick a person who has just eaten food because they can taste the flavors of the food on their skin. Similarly, they may lick an anxious or stressed person because they can detect the sweat and hormones released when a person is stressed.
Affection and Love
Another reason why dogs love to lick humans because it is a way for them to show affection and seek attention. Dogs are social animals who crave companionship and interaction with their pack members. Dogs are often referred to as “man’s best friend” because of their ability to form strong bonds with humans and their willingness to work and live alongside us. Licking is a way for them to show their love and affection towards us, and they do it to seek our attention and affection in return. When dogs licks us, they often look for a response, such as petting, playtime, or verbal praise. While dogs may have a stronger bond with their owners, they may also lick other pack members, including other dogs and humans. Licking is a natural behavior for dogs, and they may exhibit this behavior with anyone they feel comfortable around.
Licking can also be a way for dogs to comfort themselves and relieve stress. Like humans, dogs can experience anxiety and stress and often use self-comforting behaviors to cope. Dogs may become anxious and distressed when separated from their owners or left alone for extended periods. Licking releases endorphins, natural chemicals that make dogs feel happy and relaxed. This is why you may notice your dog licking itself when they are stressed or anxious. Similarly, they may seek the same soothing effect when they lick us.
Additionally, dogs may lick humans to assert dominance or establish their place in the pack hierarchy. A dog pack has a strict hierarchy, and each member has a specific role and position. When a dog licks a human, it may be trying to assert dominance over us or show us that they are in charge. Like many other social animals, dogs have a natural instinct to establish a social hierarchy or pack order. In the wild, dogs live in packs with a clear structure, where each member has a specific role and rank within the group. The dominant members of the pack typically have priority access to resources such as food, water, and mates, while the subordinate members have to wait their turn. This instinct to establish dominance is still present in domesticated dogs, although the pack has now shifted to the human household. Dogs may try to assert dominance over their human family members by displaying dominant behaviors such as growling, snarling, or biting. However, it’s important to note that not all dogs exhibit dominant behavior toward humans. Establishing yourself as the pack leader is essential to prevent any unwanted behavior.
When To See a Veterinarian
While licking is a common behavior in dogs, it is essential to recognize when it becomes excessive or problematic. Excessive licking can be a sign of underlying health issues or behavioral problems. If your dog is licking excessively, it is essential to consult with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues. They may recommend a change in diet, medication, or behavioral training. If you own a puppy, it’s an excellent time to start training them at an early age. Using a training leash made for puppies is an effective training strategy. At life and Paw you can find training gear that suits your needs.