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Like any other normal dog parent, you look forward to being groomed (or licked) by your pooch. When you come home after a long and tiring day, nothing beats the feeling of being welcomed home with plenty of kisses from your family, including the four-legged member of the family. It makes you feel loved and appreciated. The problem is if the grooming becomes a little of a concern.
Any time your dog licks you, he is communicating something to you. What are some of the reasons a dog is keen on grooming you?
In their natural habitats, dogs groom each other as a way of showing affection and a need to connect. It is a deep socializing strategy between parents and their offspring and the other members of the family. Dogs release a stream of good hormones when they lick. One of these is the oxytocin hormone that is all about emotional connection and bonding. So when your furry friend spends time licking you, they could be sending a message to you that they are interested in hanging out with you.
2. You Are Tasty
In case you don’t know, dogs love the taste of salt. If you have been sweating and have salty skin, trust your pup to kiss you non-stop. The salty taste can also be as a result of food particles on your hands after you’ve had dinner or a snack.
3. A Show Of Submission
This might shock you but sometimes dogs groom their owners as a way of showing submission and respect to them. In the wild, subordinate dog pack members groom and lick dominating members to bond and show submission to them. In fact, if you watch documentaries o films about dogs or wolves, you’ll realize this.
It goes without saying that you rule over your pup in the home setting and the grooming could just very well be a sign of submission and respect to you. As long as he is only grooming—licking or removing knots using his teeth—it should be fine. However, if he graduates to biting you or exhibiting unpleasant behavior, find a way to actually restore your dominance.
4. Request to Participate in an Activity
Another probable reason why your dog is grooming you is that he’s looking for a partner to join him in some physical activity. Perhaps your dog is subtly asking you to play Frisbee, find some food or go to the park with him. The next time your pup is all over you, think of a common interest you share with him and get to it if you can.
As mentioned before, dogs room each other as part of their natural behavior. This can quickly develop into a habit. If you’ve noticed that your pup grooms you at certain times of the day or when you assume a certain position, they could have made a habit out of it.
Your dog may be repeating a pattern from his puppyhood days. Many puppies lick their mother’s snouts when they are hungry to cue their mothers to regurgitate. This is believed to have evolved out of the ability of early dogs to “transport” food by eating and regurgitating later to their young ones. Interestingly, the instinct cannot be so easily erased in the modern dog and many dogs will go for the face of their mother or owner as a request for a quick snack or meal.
7. Obsessive-Compulsive Behaviors
If the grooming is extreme, your dog may be suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder, which is often caused by anxiety or prolonged stress. A dog suffering from this disorder may turn to licking surfaces, other objects, self, and humans. If you observe this behavior in your dog, you should seek the attention of your local vet for help.
Hopefully, now you have a few answers to the why does my dog groom me question. Clearly, dogs are all about good vibes when they groom their owners. However, if you notice something out of the ordinary, it is always a good idea to consult with your vet. It is possible that your dog is suffering from a serious condition that needs some attention.
Sable McNeil is a canine chef, professional pet blogger, and proud owner of two male dogs. I have been an animal lover all my life, with dogs holding a special place in my heart. Initially, I created this blog to share recipes, tips, and any relevant information on healthy homemade dog treats. But because of my unrelenting passion to make a difference in the world of dogs, I have expanded the blog’s scope to include the best information and recommendations about everything dog lovers need to know about their canine friends’ health and wellbeing. My mission now is to find the most helpful content on anything related to dogs and share it with fellow hardworking hound lovers. While everything I share is in line with the latest evidence-based veterinarian health guidelines, nothing should be construed as veterinary advice. Please contact your vet in all matters regarding your Fido’s health.