Our expert says:
Dog Behaviour Expert
Hi Tracey, nice to hear from you! There are many reasons why dogs lick:-
a. For cleaning purposes - not just themselves but each other
b. Licking each other can be a way of showing affection. If you think about it, mothers do this with their pups, and not always just to clean, it stimulates the pups circulation and digestion.
c. Pups often lick their mothers and older dogs as a way of showing respect and submission.
d. Pups lick around their mothers mouths to try and get them to regurgatate food.
e. Licking behaviour can also be the dogs way of gaining attention - it licks the furniture, you shout at the dog - attention to a dog is attention whether negative or positive.
f. Dogs often lick when they are stressed - it could be fighting in the home, having been to the vet for an op, new dogs next door, a new pet or human addition in the family and even if your own stress levels are sky high.
g. It can even be the result of a lack of physical and mental stimulation and gives the dog something to do and has become a habit.
h.. The trouble comes in when the licking becomes compulsive. this can actually lead to self injury, which in the bheaviour world is called lick granuloma - a dog can actually lick itself till it forms sores.
i. When something like the above happens, you then need professional help.
Hope this gives you a bit more insight, take care, Scotty
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