Rottweiler Dogs lick human beings for a variety of reasons. It is one of the most instinctual habits a dog has, and it is used as a form of communication, exploration, self-soothing, and much more. In this article, we explore many of the reasons dogs lick and what you can do about it.
One of the difficulties many owners face when trying to interpret the licking behavior of their dogs is that they lick for so many different reasons. Additionally, some of the reasons they lick are positive, and some of them are negative.
Because of this, as a responsible dog owner, it is important to do your research, by reading articles like this, and develop a comprehensive understanding of the many reasons dog lick, to help you respond appropriately.
Disclaimer: This advice is general in nature, so if you have significant concerns about the nature of your dog’s licking behavior then we recommend you take your dog to a licensed vet who can consult and diagnose whether there is a significant issue.
Reasons Rottweiler Dog Lick
As we know, dogs are not able to talk and converse in the same way humans are. Because of this, they need to find other ways to communicate their needs with us as their owners and protectors.
There are multiple ways they do this including barking or touching us with their paw, but licking is a very common way dogs will communicate with us.
Explore The World
For dogs, licking is also a way they explore their physical world. Given their paws are devoted to walking and holding them up, they do not have hands like humans to be able to pick things up, hold them, and explore the texture and weight of the object.
So, in many ways, dogs do this with their tongue. Often when dogs are licking something, they are collecting sensory data about that item, or texture.
As humans, if we are comforting a young child who has hurt themselves, in many cases, we rub the injury better. The rubbing process typically provides both emotional comfort to the young child, and the rubbing sensation provides stimulation to other physical areas to reduce the brain’s focus on the specific area of injury.
Dogs lick themselves when injured for a similar reason. Licking their wounds is firstly a soothing activity given how instinctual the behavior is. Secondly, the licking actually soothes the wound directly.
For dogs, one of the main ways they express their affection to their human owners, and other family members is by licking. They can’t say ‘I love you’ or write it on a piece of paper, or buy you a gift from the shop, so they often lick as a way to express their affection and positive feelings.
Because They Are Hungry
If a dog is hungry he will not have the words to express this, and if you haven’t trained an alternative way for them to express their need for food, then they may lick you to let you know they are in need of food.
Soothe Anxiety and Worry
The act of licking can be a way that a dog soothes their anxiety and their worries. In the same way, they lick their physical wounds to comfort themselves, they may also lick themself, lick other dogs, or lick you to soothe their feelings.
To Clean Themselves and Each Other
To keep their fur coat clean, dogs are not able to wash on their own in a bath or a shower but do so by licking.
Should I Try And Train My Dog Not To Lick?
Before we get into some of the specific causes that can cause a dog to lick, it is important to step back and think bigger about what you want to do about it.
According to The Factual Doggo, people often imagine that an animal’s brain is similar to a human’s in that they contemplate certain actions, weigh up the pros and cons, and then make a decision on a specific course of action. But this is not true with dogs. They do not have any conscious deliberation over their behavior. They follow their instincts. So before you think about trying to change anything about a dog’s behavior, first take some time to understand its instinctual nature.
Where possible, leave your dog to lick things as much as possible. This is preferred because it is such instinctual behavior, if you try and train them out of it, it could be very difficult to achieve and also very hard for your dog.
Of course, we understand there will be certain types of licking you want to stop your dog from doing, for example licking you and other humans. This is a common concern as there are potentially serious side effects of this. But for most other forms of licking, we recommend against trying to train them out of it, as it is likely to be unsuccessful and potentially become a cause of strain on your relationship with your dog.
How To Train Your Dog Not To Lick
We have already discussed how it is important to be very clear on the type of licking you are trying to eliminate, and that you should try and allow as much licking as possible, given it is such an instinctual behavior.
But for the types of licking that you are wanting to train the dog not to do, the following principles should be considered.
Avoid Dominance and Punishment Methods
Many older dog training programs and even some still discussed today focus on the dog understanding you are the owner, and dominating the dog. Various forms of domination are advocated by different people, but in many cases, strategies involving physical punishment, and domination of the dog are encouraged.
We strongly advise against any type of physical punishment for two reasons. Firstly in many cases, it is not effective and can increase dog anxiety which will increase the amount of licking they do. Secondly, it is very harmful to your relationship with your dog.
When you compromise your trust and relationship with your dog, you are making your overall dog training much harder, as they will be avoidant of you and not be inclined to follow your instructions.
Focus On Positive Reinforcement
Nearly all dog experts and responsible dog owners advocate that methods of positive reinforcement are the best tool you have at your disposal to help with your dog training. This could be offering a treat or providing affection.
By getting to know your dog and what motivates them, you will be able to find the method of reinforcement that works the best for them, and what will give you the best results in shaping their behavior, whether that be about licking, or something else.
As we have discussed there are many different reasons why dogs might lick. Some of these reasons are positive and indicate that a dog is expressing itself and showing affection, whilst other situations could be because a dog is hurt, or is feeling anxious.
As a dog owner, this can be confusing as you learn to understand the reason your dog is licking, but in time you will come to understand your dog and why they lick in each different circumstance.
It is great to minimize the amount of licking that you try and train out of them, as it is a basic instinct of theirs, but if you are training them, be sure to use positive reinforcement methods for the best results and long-term success in both your pet behavior and their connection with you.