How Can I Get My Dog to Stop Licking Me?

If you have a dog, you likely already know that sloppy kisses are part and parcel of pet parenthood. It’s a dog’s natural instinct to lick, and they may lick for a multitude of reasons. If your dog’s sloppy affection is becoming a source of irritation, there are ways we can discourage the behaviour. But first, it’s important to understand the motivation behind licking. To tackle a problem, it can help to know its cause.

1. It’s the canine equivalent of kissing!

Kissing is really odd when you think about it. When we feel affection for someone, we sometimes feel the urge our lips against their skin? This instinct is not exclusive to humans. Dogs feel it too, but the only way they can express it is through their tongues. They cannot purse their chops, and even if they tried, it wouldn’t feel affectionate on our end. Hence, a dog will lick you—because it’s the next best thing to affectionate mouthing.

2. It’s an attention-seeking strategy

You know when someone tells you to ‘use your words’? Well, unfortunately, that is not an option for dogs. Their attention-seeking strategies are limited to nonverbal vocalisations and gestures. Among these is licking, which is on par with saying, “look at me!” Because dogs are irresistible, we will generally reward their efforts with the attention they’re craving. Who wouldn’t want to acknowledge their behaviour with a pat, a treat, or affectionate words? (If you do want to stop the behaviour, though, you’ll need to change your reaction. More on that later.)

3. It’s a sneaky attempt to sample human cuisine 

When we say ‘human cuisine’, we’re not talking about food for humans. Your dog wants to sample human flesh—but not penetrate the skin! They just want to salt their palate with skin secretions. They also find your scent comforting. Combine this with the fact that licking releases stress-relieving endorphins and it’s no wonder that your dog loves to lick.

4. It’s an instinctive food request

It’s a puppy’s natural instinct to lick their mother’s face prior to meals. For some doggos, this instinct carries over into adulthood. Be mindful that, whilst humans keep their tongues contained throughout mealtimes, dogs regard tongues as tools of consumption and communication.

5. It’s associated with a dog’s ‘submissive mode’

‘Submissive mode’ is a dog’s way of surrendering control in a situation. Again, this is an instinct that barks back to puppyhood. Knowing that tongues are a communicative tool for dogs, it shouldn’t be too surprising that wild puppies indicate subordination by licking their mothers’ mouths. Dogs may lick their ‘fur mums’’ mouths to communicate similarly. Dogs can be very perceptive, so if they’re licking you, this may also be their way of diffusing a tense situation.


While you’re here, be sure to check out our new Swim collection. We have water-loving doggos covered—literally—with our colourful range of swim jackets and swim robes. Swim jackets bring the buoyancy, keeping doggy paddlers secure and afloat. Swim robes are great for bathtime as well as beach time. Super absorbent and fast to dry, these robes go great with a swim jacket—or ensure less of a mess at bathtime. When the car trip home doesn’t smell like wet dog, you’ll be glad you invested in one of these.

Why not enhance your swim sesh with a bone-shaped hydro stick? Make fetch happen with this eye-catching, all-natural rubber toy, which floats in the water and doubles as a tug toy. As you enjoy hours of aquatic fun with your furry companion, keep your stuff safe with our hydro dry bag and hydro waterproof phone pouch. If you want to keep your stuff unscathed from the elements, our hydro dry bag is your best bet. And if you want a layer of protection between the water and your phone, you can’t go wrong with our phone pouch. Not only will it be fully protected from the elements, but it will also be fully accessible. Feel free to take selfies with your furry companion, but please note that our phone pouch cannot protect a fully submerged phone.