You’re watching TV or reading. Suddenly, your dog comes to you and licks your legs.
(And the same can happen right after you’ve taken a shower).
This seems like a normal thing that dogs do.
In this article you will discover:
- What you need to know about dog licking.
- 7 tips to keep your dog from licking your legs.
- 7 surprising reasons why your dog licks your legs.
- And more…
Table of contents
Why does my dog lick my legs?
Your dog licks your legs for a variety of reasons, such as: your taste, showing affection, empathy, grooming, respect, boredom, stress, and getting your attention. Research shows that dogs who interact with their owners by licking them, experience a rise in oxytocin levels.
Why does my dog lick my legs after I shower?
Dogs lick you after you showered because they’re trying to dry you (like dogs do when they dry themselves). According to Dr. Megan Maxwell, a dog can also lick you after you’ve showered because of the lotion that smells good.
That being said…
Let’s dive deeper into the reasons why your dog is licking your legs…
7 reasons why dogs lick your legs
Being a dog parent subjects you to a lot of dog licking. It is a dog thing. They would even lick just about any exposed skin if you let them.
If you are wondering why, then you have come to the right place.
Here are the reasons to decode why your dog licks your legs:
Dogs like to lick something that smells and tastes nice to them.
Do you notice how your dog licks your legs after a workout?
Or after you put lotion?
When you work out, you sweat. Apparently, dogs love the salty taste of sweat on your skin.
Or the lotion that you just slathered.
Many say that dog licking is equivalent to kisses in humans.
If your dog licks your legs, it means they’re showing you affection. They do that because they are comfortable with you.
Here’s a funny example of how this looks:
Did you know that dog licking was attributed to food hunting? Then it evolved into a greeting for many dogs.
Dogs have ways of knowing your moods.
They lick your legs to show empathy, especially when you are upset or lonely.
They want to make you feel better.
It is comforting to receive this response from your dog. If this happens more often, then you know that a dog can tell when you need comfort.
They lick you to let you know you’re not alone.
Have you observed a mother dog and her pups? Licking is part of their lives.
It is not just to clean the pups. A mama dog licks to encourage urination and defecation.
The mother dog licks her pups to groom them.
When they lick you, they treat you as part of the pack.
You are part of their family, as they are of yours. Essentially, grooming you is another way of showing you their affection.
When they are puppies, dogs are conditioned to lick their mother’s muzzle. It is to show respect.
Your dog licks your legs to show their submission to you.
They see you as leader of the pack.
When dogs are bored, they chew your shoes and furniture.
Dogs get bored when there is no physical or mental stimulation.
Some dogs need daily physical exercise. Some dogs need toys to train them or keep them focused.
Without these, your dog ends up licking your legs too much to entertain himself.
Look for signs of stress so you can prevent the problem from becoming worse.
Is he afraid of something?
Is it something you did that is new to him?
Did you relocate and your dog finds it hard to adjust?
If you are worried about it, take your dog to the veterinarian. They will know why your dog is stressed and what you can do about it.
Bonus: To get your attention
While I was editing this article, Lissa (my dog) started to lick the leg of my boyfriend.
To get some cuddles, of course!
Once a dog knows they get your attention by licking you, they’ve learned a sneaky trick that they can use whenever they want.
But bear in mind: If it’s too much licking, it can mean underlying problems.
Here are a few tips you can do to tone it down:
7 tips on how to stop your dog from licking your legs
You can easily train your dog to stop licking your legs.
You need to be patient as it might be difficult at first. Keep training him and you’ll see results in no time.
So let’s head straight to the tips to prevent your dog from licking your legs.
Get to know your dog and how he communicates his needs. Study his body language.
Understand what they want from you so you can respond accordingly. There’s no harm in letting him lick your legs a few times. If it’s excessive, ask yourself these questions:
Is he hungry or thirsty?
Is he craving for attention?
Does he want space?
Does he want you to take him for a walk?
#2: Sit and stay
Some dog owners find being licked on the legs an unpleasant experience. If this happens too often, you don’t have to tolerate it.
Dogs do not think like humans do. They need a lot of guidance. A lot of love and understanding. They need our help.
You know how dogs get excited when you come back even after a 5-minute absence? Teach him to sit and stay until he calms down.
This tip is helpful so you don’t get smothered by excessive licking. And this is helpful when you have big dogs.
If your dog licks you to annoyance, teach him to stop by leaving.
Leave the room or simply keep a distance from him.
Keep doing this so he’ll learn to stop when it annoys you or when you say, ‘Leave it’ or ‘Stop’.
You might also teach some actions that mean your dog should stop licking.
After a shower, allow your dog to lick your legs while you wipe your hair with a towel. When done towel drying, leave the room.
This signals that it’s time for him to stop.
This might take a while but be patient with your dog. He’s learning.
At times, your dog licks your legs because he craves your attention. They depend on you to love and care for them.
Give your dog the right amount of attention so they are happy. Be careful not to give too much attention.
Sometimes you need to ignore them so you get the message across.
#5: Plenty of exercise
If your dog is bored, spend time playing with them.
Dogs love interaction with their humans. Play tug of war. Give him belly scratches. Play frisbee or ‘fetch’.
Give him walks twice a day around the neighborhood. Trust me, it will do you both good.
Take them to a dog park, if there is one in your area. This is a fantastic way to meet other dogs. Maybe that’s all your dog needs.
If you work, take them to a doggie daycare. Or have a pet sitter look after them a few times a week.
#6: Trick training
Trick training redirects problem licking.
Here’s how it works:
When your dog licks your legs, introduce them to another activity, such as ball play.
Or simply ask your dog to sit and give them a reward.
You can also teach your dog other tricks such as speaking on cue or shaking hands/paws.
These activities will be fun for both of you.
If your dog is anxious or bored, give them toys to chew on. This helps to prevent inappropriate licking behaviors.
There are toys that make a sound to provide them endless fun.
Some puzzle toys have openings that contain a treat. Your dog will learn how to open it to get the treat.
These tips will come handy to help your dog stop licking your legs.
We want happy dogs, right?
If they’re happy, we’re happy.