Dogs have different ways to communicate with their owners. Licking is one of them! Many dog lovers like it when their pets ‘kiss-lick’ them, but this is not always the case. Nevertheless, you have surely noticed that your pup is more lick-happy in the morning. There are many explanations for this behaviour but the simplest of reasons is that you have encouraged it.
Why are dogs so lick-happy in the morning?
Licking is a natural behaviour that usually begins in puppyhood. Studies show that the mother always licks her puppies as a means of communication. This stimulates them to start breathing, and socialising, among other things. Adult dogs also engage in licking, especially during social interactions. This either means ‘reconciliation’ or ‘submission’. But licking your face in the morning is another thing altogether. Which begs the question: why are dogs lick-happy at specifics times of the day?
Generally, dog owners believe that when a dog licks you in the morning, it is a way of greeting you. While this may be the case, there is another explanation. Your dog is so lick-happy in the morning because he likes the way you taste! According to scientific studies, your skin secretes sweat and oil during sleep! This tastes salty and dogs love it! That is why, once he has tasted you, he may feel the urge to do it again. But be careful, how you react the first time will determine your dog’s behaviour in the future. If you respond positively to the behaviour, you are reinforcing it.
What to do with a lick-happy dog?
It depends on whether you like this behaviour or not. If you respond to your puppy’s morning kisses with happiness, there is a high percentage that he will do it again. This is a shady territory because not every dog’s kiss is the same. A kiss from a Chihuahua or a Yorkshire Terrier is not so messy. But imagine a kiss from a very large dog like a Newfoundland or Great Dane. Vets recommend that whether you like it or not, you need to make sure not to inadvertently reinforce this behaviour.
If you don’t get it under control, it can become excessive and, in the long run, it can be detrimental to both you and your pet. If you continue to encourage this, your dog might run into problems when socialising with those around him. Nobody likes a dog that constantly licks you! So, if he can’t control his reactions whenever someone approaches him, people will avoid him.
A lick-happy dog is not a bad thing. Fortunately, it can be controlled when properly trained. You just need time and patience. Finally, don’t forget that you should not reinforce this behaviour unless you like it! Dogs only repeat a behaviour if they get a positive feedback. Follow these tips and everything should be fine.