Isn’t it weird when your dog goes up to you…
And starts to lick your leg?
In this article, you’ll read about:
- 7 funny reasons why your dog licks your leg.
- What to do when they start licking your leg.
- Why your dog licks your leg after taking a shower.
- What it means when your dog licks your leg after they drink water.
- And a lot more…
Why does my dog lick my leg?
Your dog licks your leg because they like the taste. You could’ve been sweating, applied lotion, or come from another place. They’re also showing you love and respect, making it a sign of submissive behavior. They could also be asking for something or grooming you.
7 reasons why dogs lick your legs
#1: They’re grooming you
As funny as this sounds, you may realize this happens often.
You’d notice that dogs groom themselves by licking.
They learned this from their mothers. Even as newborn puppies, their mothers would lick to clean them.
And in return, they would even lick their mothers for warmth.
So when your dog gets the opportunity, they’ll begin to “clean” you.
This is how they show affection. A lot of people also consider this as “dog kisses”.
They may even move up for a few licks on your face.
So when your pup starts grooming you, enjoy the love!
Continue reading: 13 Weird Reasons Why Your Dog Grooms You (+ What It Means)
#2: You’re sweating
Dogs get interested when they smell something new on you.
When they can’t decipher the smell, they’ll perform other ways of figuring it out.
So when they get the chance to, they’ll give you a lick.
Your sweat is something that makes your dog interested to know what you did.
And another thing, your sweat is salty. Dogs generally like that salty taste.
It’s not harmful to them. But of course, there are ways to stop your dog from licking your sweat.
They can also get used to the fact that you sweat a lot or during certain activities.
This’ll make them understand that it’s not a big deal and it’s normal for you.
Check out also: Why does my dog lick my hair?
#3: You could’ve applied some body products
As we all know, their sense of smell is extraordinary.
Anything like scents, perfume, cologne, or lotion will alert your dog.
Especially if it’s something they’re not used to smelling on you.
The strong aroma of body products attracts your dog.
For me, every time I’d put lotion at night, my dog would hop on my bed.
She’d start licking my legs all over and even my hands.
But now, she doesn’t do it as much because I trained her to stop.
Training them to stop licking you when you apply body products is important.
Because you don’t know if they’re safe for your dog. They could end up getting allergies or experiencing itchiness.
So keep in mind that you can always manage this. Like giving your dog signals or cues when to stop.
#4: They’re excited
Your dog also licks your leg as a way to tell you they miss you.
We’re sure this has happened to you:
You leave your dog at home. Then the moment you step inside, they’d run up to you.
They’d even pace around to smell you.
And then out comes their tongue to lick your legs!
This act also relieves them. Because they’ve been wondering where you went.
So them licking you is a way of saying, “There you are! You’re finally back! Let’s play!”
It’s their own little way of releasing their excitement.
#5: They’re asking for more treats
When you want your dog to stop licking you, what do you do?
We’re sure most of you give treats. So if you’re that type, it may be time to regulate it.
But it’s obvious that your dog will notice that change.
What will they do next? They’ll lick you even more to send a message.
Yes, some dogs can really be persistent.
This is why you have to establish to them that they won’t always get a treat.
Treat giving is a helpful and positive way to train them.
Although, you have to find other alternatives too. Treats might make them dependent on licking your leg all the time.
And this attitude isn’t good for you pup.
You may also wonder: Why does my dog lick me in the morning?
#6: They want to know where you’ve been
Dogs can tell a lot about you from your smell and taste.
If only they could talk, they could guess where you’ve been!
What’s more, if the place smells familiar.
They lick your legs to get new information. This will help support what they smell.
Soon, they can piece together that you always leave at a certain time. This would create set routines for them.
Dogs are prone to realize routines through environmental triggers. For example, when they see it’s dark outside, they associate this with bedtime.
Although, when they see it’s bright outside, they know it’s daytime and they can go for a walk or exercise.
These certain triggers help our dogs “tell time.”
#7: A sign of submissive behavior
You should also think about what happened before they started licking you.
Did you get mad at them? Or raise your voice?
They could be licking you because of that.
It shows that they’re submitting themselves to you. You can also think of it as a way for them to say sorry.
Your dog won’t fight back or assert any form of dominance. They’ll simply realize you’re mad and become sad or figure out their wrong action.
According to a study, dominance doesn’t play a role in domestic dogs. They don’t strive for a dominant position.
So when they lick you, it’s also a friendly sign of them trying to correct their mistakes and gain your trust again.
But does your dog still lick your legs, even though you keep saying no?
We totally understand that!
Keep reading because we got you covered!
5 tips on what to do if your dog is licking your legs
#1: Ignore them
There are times when ignoring your dog’s bad behavior would help.
If they start licking your legs, show them it’s not a big deal.
We all know that some dogs are like little children. The more you say no, the more they’ll end up doing it.
So if your dog licks aren’t that excessive or extreme, you can ignore them.
They’ll soon stop when they realize you’re not reacting at all.
But it can also lead to them licking your legs even more. It shows that they want you to pay attention to them.
From here, you can signal them to stop by being firm with your words.
#2: Redirect their attention
Redirecting their attention will help both you and your pup!
You can redirect their attention with their favorite toy or even a new one.
This will grab their attention away from your legs.
Note: Always giving them treats so they could stop licking you is unnecessary. It’ll ruin their appetite for meals.
And it could even make them reckless just to get a treat out of it.
Instead, a toy will keep your dog busy and give them some activity.
#3: Try positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement is what we believe in.
How does this go?
You reward the behaviors that are good.
And you have to ignore the negative ones.
If you want to get your dog to stop licking you, don’t get mad at them. Because yelling at them every time will cause anxiety and stress.
Extreme punishments are also not advised. Doing this would scare them.
It’d make them not want to perform any action because of fear.
Always remember that your pup needs a loving environment. Positively teach them and they’ll understand in no time.
Watch how Victoria teaches us the right way to discipline our dogs:
#4: Give them assurance
Your dog could lick you out of stress or worry. Especially if it’s after they’ve done something they’re not supposed to.
You have to assure them it’s alright.
That they’re loved and in a safe place. As we mentioned before, they’re also being submissive.
This is your time to pet them or even give a short massage. They’ll appreciate this a lot.
It’ll make them understand that you’re giving affection back.
Their licks would then release endorphins that’ll eventually calm them down.
A similar study from the NCBI mentioned positive effects to dogs who engage in higher levels of physical contact.
Mainly through playful licking, the experiment resulted in the largest increase of Oxytocin for dogs.
This also makes them feel good.
In the end, they’ll feel your assurance and stop licking you.
#5: Give your dog some exercise
Your dog could be licking you because they’re bored.
Dogs need to be active. They can’t be sitting or taking a nap the whole day.
If they keep licking you, try to bring them out to play.
This would also give you both time to bond.
All dogs want is to spend time with their dog parents.
Making time for play and exercise will surely make them happy. It’s also good for their health.
And at the end of the day, they’ll get a good rest out of it.
Should you allow your dog to lick your legs?
You should allow your dog to lick your legs. Completely stopping it would make them feel rejected. Allowing this behavior is great for your pup as it relieves stress.
Plus, it’s a way for them to communicate and show affection. And it makes them feel like they’re helping you (by grooming).
This would also give you the chance to check on them from time to time. Because excessive licking could also be a sign of discomfort.
They could be trying to tell you something is bothering them. Allow this behavior, but manage it if it gets excessive.
Frequently asked questions:
Why does my dog lick my legs after I take a shower?
Your dog licks your legs after you take a shower because of the water droplets on your skin.
It’s also because of the smell of the body wash or soap you’ve used.
The new and clean smell makes your dog interested. This makes them want to figure out the taste and scent.
Although I know at times, this could feel uncomfortable for you.
Especially because you’ve just finished cleaning yourself.
This is why you should train them to control themselves. Or you could also ignore the behavior to show them it’s not something to stress over.
Why does my dog lick my legs after drinking water?
Your dog licks your legs after drinking water as a way of saying thank you.
They associate you with their bowl.
That’ll make them express their gratitude. Because they see that you’re often the one giving them or handling their bowl.
Another reason is to check on you.
After drinking water, their mouth and tongue feel refreshed.
And aside from thanking you, they’ll also want to “taste” you again. This is how they know if you’re doing well.