The fact that most dogs like to lick their masters is a fact that you have surely noticed. The hands and face are usually the areas of human anatomy that most attract their attention, because they are very accessible to them.
But sometimes, when they have the opportunity, they can choose others that seem more surprising or strange to us, as is the case with the feet. In this article we will consider the reasons for licking in this area.
Does your dog give you kisses?
It is very common to make a connection between dog licking and human kissing. And the truth is that there are similarities. Puppies, when they are ready to start eating solid food, begin to ask their mother for food. To do this, they touch his face with their front paws and lick his muzzle. In this way, they cause the female dog to regurgitate the food she has just swallowed.
So they can try their first solid foods that are somewhat processed to make it easier for them. The same thing happened in the human species. Mothers also pre-chewed food before passing it to their babies, who learned to eat, mouth-to-mouth.
This gesture is part of social behavior and has become a sign of affection in both dogs and humans. But it is also important to know that dog licking can also have other meanings. On the other hand, although they generally accept them, they don’t understand the kisses we give them as well as we would like.
What does it mean to lick people?
First of all, the fact that your dog licks your feet, hands, face or any other part of our anatomy to which he has access is a sign of a good bond with you. In most cases it shows affection, trust, security and attachment. But there are other, perhaps less obvious, meanings. like the following:
- Hygiene : they are not cats, but dogs also lick each other as grooming. It is common to see this on their paws, for example when they return from a walk. Thanks to this action, in addition to cleaning themselves, they can eliminate foreign bodies or parasites that have attached themselves to them. That’s why, instinctively, they can also lick you.
- Call : sometimes dogs lick you with the intention of getting your attention. If we are barefoot, it is possible that the licking is directed towards your feet and legs, since they are easily accessible to them. This form of asking is not just asking for food. The dog may want to be listened to for any other reason, such as play.
- Positive reinforcement: you usually don’t realize it, but when your dog licks you, you react very positively, because you return the favor with petting or affectionate words. Your attitude works in the dog as a so-called positive reinforcement, which encourages him to repeat the licking because he has understood that you like it.
What can I do if my dog licks my feet excessively?
Finally, while it’s completely normal for your dog to lick you and indicates a healthy relationship between you and him, in some cases licking can almost become an obsession. We refer to situations in which the dog compulsively licks your feet, hands, etc.. Fortunately, they are not frequent.
Some dogs lick themselves, which causes injuries to the places they lick and hair loss. This is a behavioral alteration that should lead you to review its living and handling conditions and contact a professional canine behaviorist or ethologist to help you implement the necessary changes.
In other words, this excessive licking would be the way for the dog to channel his frustration. Of course, you should consult your veterinarian first in case the compulsive licking is due to an organic health problem, such as pain. It is only if a pathology is excluded that a psychological disorder can be considered.