Why does my dog lick my legs? You must have asked this question to yourself many times whenever your dog licks your legs and feet. Since dogs cannot communicate with words, you wonder why they do it and if it is normal or a behavioral issue.
Because no two dogs are exactly alike, they all have different personalities. Therefore, there are different reasons why they feel the need to lick your legs. Understandably, you have worries such as wanting your dog to stop this behavior. Continue reading to understand better why your dog licks your legs. Reasons Why Your Dog Licks Your Legs
1. They Get a Reward
Why does my dog lick my legs all the time? One possible answer to this question is that they learned that this behavior is rewarded. They will likely lick your legs more if you tend to give them extra attention, toys, or treats when they lick your legs. Therefore, it is better to stop giving them rewards the soonest they start licking your legs.
2. They Want to Have Your Attention
Another possible reason for them to lick your legs is to get extra attention. This is more likely the cause if you have not been giving them a lot of attention. Then, you give them the attention they want when they lick your legs.
3. They Are Bored
When they are bored and trying to look for ways to work themselves up, they can lick your legs. This can be the reason if they do this before becoming active. They might not be getting the daily and recommended amount of activity they require for their breed and age. If you have been giving your dog exercises, training can be a way to stimulate them.
4. They Do It Because of Nature
You might have wondered when your dog was young, Why does my dog lick her legs? One of the first things young dogs do when they explore is to sniff and lick. If you have a puppy and it licks your legs, the probable reason for this is that it is exploring. As your dog gets older, you can expect this behavior more often since it has been a natural action for it.
Why does my dog lick his legs? Since licking produces endorphins in a dog’s body, they naturally do this to cope with anxiety and stress. Therefore, this can be a way for them to soothe and comfort themselves. Your dog might be feeling anxious if it seems nervous or scared when it licks your legs.
5. They Want Affection
Your dog might be trying to be affectionate with you. Your dog is trying to communicate with you that you are part of their life, and it trusts you. This licking behavior is normal. Moreover, it usually happens whenever you attempt to pet it.
6. They Do It Because of Grooming
Licking is the method dogs use to groom themselves. Similar to a mother dog licking their puppies, they also lick others due to grooming. If your dog tries to lick your legs when you do not pet it, this can be the case.
7. They Are Excited
Another reason why your dog licks your leg is because of excitement. This is the same reason why dogs hump. If they do this when it is time for them to go for a walk or when you come home, this is the likely reason. For this situation, you can stop doing whatever makes your dog excited and continue only when it stops licking your legs.
8. They Like the Taste of Your Legs
The taste of your legs is a very likely reason why it licks them. Your legs are likely to taste salty. Dogs enjoy the salty taste. If this were the reason, you would see your dogs licking other items you have sweat on, such as your bed.
9. They Are Submissive
Showing submissiveness is a very likely reason for your dog to lick your legs. That is because dogs lick the dominant dogs in the wild to show them that they know who is more superior. This can be the reason if you see your dog doing other things to show its submissiveness, such as positioning itself in a lower position than you or hiding its tail.
10. They Are Trying to Communicate
Even though dogs cannot communicate the same way as humans, it does not mean that they do not have methods to tell humans what they want or need. Dogs will likely lick their owners’ legs if they want to go out or they feel thirsty.
11. They Are Trying to Get Information
One interesting fact about dogs is that they can get to know more about their owners through the sebum and sweat that has accumulated on their legs and feet. It is a known fact that dogs have an overly sensitive sense of smell. Therefore, they can get information about you just by smelling and tasting your legs and feet.
You might have noticed that whenever a visitor comes to your house, your dog will do first to lick its legs and feet first. This can also be noticed when a puppy from a shelter is brought home. It might be excessively licking as a way to be familiar with their new family.
What to Consider When Your Dog Licks Your Legs?
Why does my dog lick my feet and legs? There is no single answer to this since there are factors to consider to determine why this behavior has been shown. This include the following:
The Events That Happened When Your Dog Began Licking Your Legs
It is best to check what happened before your dog started to lick your legs if it has not exhibited this behavior before. If your dog suddenly starts licking you, the reason can be it has been receiving rewards for doing it. Another instance can be that you have been busy and not given your dog enough attention which triggered the licking.
The Difference When Your Dog Does Not Lick Your Legs
You can also check the timing when your dog licks your legs to help you understand why it has been doing it. You might notice that your dog does it when it gets very exciting. Therefore, it can help not to pay attention to it until it stops licking. Instead of rewarding it after licking you, you can do it if your dog doesn’t lick you.
What to Do If You Want Your Dog to Stop Licking You?
Here are some of the methods you can try if you are bothered with your dog licking your legs and feet:
Do Not Encourage Them to Do It
As explained, dogs could realize that they get rewarded when they lick their legs. You should not feel tempted to give them attention or reward when they start to do this. When you give them attention or a reward after they stop doing it, their minds can be conditioned that they are rewarded for not doing it.
Train Your Dog Not to Do It
If you want your dog to do the things you want, you can consider doing positive reinforcement training. This means you reward them for showing that they are or they are doing what you want.
You can try positive reinforcement in making your dog stop licking your legs by doing the following steps:
- Stand up and turn in the opposite direction when it licks your legs. If needed, you can leave the room.
- Wait for a while and turn your direction towards your dog’s attention. If it licks your legs again, turn in the opposite direction again.
Do these steps repeatedly until your dog realizes that licking your legs results in not giving it attention. When your dog succeeds in the training, you can give it treats.
Exercise with Your Dog
Making sure that your dog gets the needed and regular exercise it needs can help in dealing with its licking behavior. More training can also be done so that there is more stimulation.
Give Enough Attention to Your Dog
Your dog will less likely try to get your attention by licking when you give it enough attention throughout the day. You can play, exercise, train, and do other activities that will make you two bond regularly.
Distract Your Dog
Aside from the other methods mentioned, you can also divert their attention by giving them toys or bones. This can lessen the urge for them to lick your legs and feet.
Frequently Asked Questions
A dog’s licking behavior can be confusing to some, particularly first-time dog owners. If you happen to be one, then you’d want to consider the following frequently asked questions and their respective answers:
Why does my dog lick my legs after a shower?
There are many likely reasons why your dog licks your legs after you take a shower. One reason is the way you smell. You will notice that your dog licks you after using your everyday lotion. If your dog licks you before drying yourself, this can be your dog’s attempt to dry you. It might have also realized that this kind of behavior will get them a reward.
Why does my dog lick me so aggressively?
Notice your dog aggressively licking you or things. This can be a coping method for them to stimulate themselves. They are likely in pain, bored, or anxious.
This can also indicate that they have allergy issues or other underlying medical conditions. Excessive licking can result in hair loss, irritation of the skin, and hot spots. It is highly recommended to take action and divert their concentration.
Why does my dog always lick my legs?
There are various reasons why your dogs always lick your legs. This can be to show their empathy and affection, your taste, respect, feeling stressed or bored, trying to get your attention, or grooming.
According to research, there is an increase in the production of oxytocin when dogs lick their owners. Endorphins are also released, which is a good indicator that your dog respects and loves you.
Finally, you understand why dogs lick your legs and what you can about this behavior. Dogs have weird quirks. Although these quirks may seem strange to humans, dogs have a reason for this.
When they lick, this is a way for them to say how thankful and much they love their human parents. This is one of the main ways for them to express themselves and tell their owners what they need or want. You are the one who knows your fur baby best. Therefore, there is a psychology behind your dog’s behavior.
Do you better understand your dog now after knowing why they do what they do?