If you are a proud Aussie owner, chances are you’ve had your fair share of slobbery kisses from your furry friend.
But have you ever stopped to wonder, why does my Australian Shepherd lick me so much? Is it just for attention or are they trying to tell us something more?
Let’s dive into the slobbery world of dog licks and find out what’s really going on!
Why Does My Australian Shepherd Lick Me So Much? 11 Possible Reasons
Some might argue that this is kind of a weird dog behavior, but others will gladly say that Australian Shepherd licking is a way of bonding with their owners. This is true, to some extent.
However, there are a couple of other reasons why your Aussie is licking you, and they do not include affection.
1. The Power Of Love
Since we have already mentioned your pooch showing affection, it is fair to start with the obvious.
Australian Shepherd licking their owners is like a doggie love language – they can not speak out the words “I love you” but they can lick you, wag their tails, bark at you in a friendly way, and so on.
That’s right, those wet Aussie kisses are their way of showering us with love, whether it’s first thing in the morning or as we cozy up on the couch after a long day.
Why do they do this in the first place? Well, it is because of their doggie instincts. To them, we are their fellow pack members, and licking is what they use as a tool for bonding and grooming!
2. Fearful Smooches
Your Aussie may be afraid of something!
Sometimes canine pals get scared of the silliest things, even things that seem like no big deal to us. But, they seem like a big deal to them. From loud noises to high-pitched sounds, anything sudden can startle a pup.
When they are in a panic, some Aussies turn to their trusty pack leader for comfort – you! So they start giving you kisses while looking at you with wide-open puppy eyes.
It is like they are saying “hold me, I’m scared!”
3. Strange Scents On You
Did you play with the neighbor’s dog or maybe found a nearby cat and snuggled with her? Your Aussie sensed that and now he is on a mission to clear you from those strange scents.
It may sound odd, but your pup may feel a bit jealous because he sensed another animal’s smell on you! It can also be any other scent that is strange to him.
Your Australian Shepherd will lick you in order to remove such foul scents and mark you as his human!
4. Scent-sational YOU
Don’t let this come as a surprise, pheromones play a huge role between humans and dogs. Dogs may lick each other’s pee or each other’s ears, but they might as well lick your face, hands, or legs, due to your pheromones!
How do they do this?
Well, your Australian Shepherd pup has a secret weapon in his sniffer! It is a vomeronasal organ that is called Jacobson’s organ, and it helps them smell things humans can’t, like pheromones.
Your Aussie is used to your scent a.k.a your pheromones and it is licking you because he feels super close to you!
5. Delightful Taste
In the wild, pups would lick their mama’s mouth to get her to regurgitate their meal. May sound yucky, but for them it is yummy.
Domestic dogs might not need to do that, but if you have got crumbs or sauce on your face, they might just give it a try anyway!
It is not just food smell on your face that these pooches can pick up – it’s your whole body! Australian Shepherds have a keen sense of smell and your skin may smell interesting to them.
Besides that, your skin tastes a bit salty and your Aussie seems to enjoy the delightful taste. Don’t worry, he’s not out there preparing you for his lunch, he’s just hooked on the flavor!
6. Scent-sational Body Lotion
Cinnamon, chocolate, tutty-fruity, there are all sorts of body lotion scents that smell flavorful to both humans and dogs.
Your Australian Shepherd might be a bit curious to try out that coconut body lotion you have just put on! It doesn’t matter if you put lotion on your hands or legs, your dog will want to get a taste!
Most human body lotions are not intended to be eaten, so in this case, you have to make sure to stop your Aussie from licking you!
7. Seeking Some Attention
If you notice that your pup won’t leave your side under any circumstances, then congrats, you have yourself one helluva clingy pooch.
Such attention-seeking Aussie dogs will lick owner’s legs, some will go for the face or hands or even climb on their owners.
This can be especially noticeable if there are other furry friends or children in the house. That’s right, your Aussie may become jealous of your kids, which is why he will try to get all the attention pointed toward him!
Give them love and affection, but also set boundaries to keep the attention-seeking in check. Otherwise, you might end up with a barking, night-owl of a dog who just can’t get enough attention!
8. Sick Or Seeking Sympathy
This is when Australian Shepherd’s attention-seeking becomes serious. When these dogs feel pain or nausea, they might start licking you more, whining, or yelping for no specific reason.
In their eyes, you are their caretaker and they’re trying to tell you that they are not feeling well by licking you.
Additionally, Aussies are among the dog breeds that whine a lot, so they will surely let you know if they feel unwell. Therefore, it is best to keep an eye out for all signs and clues, and to consult a vet if this behavior carries on for a few days.
9. Slobbery Bow Of Submission
If you have established dominance, then your Australian Shepherd pup sees you as the head of the pack.
You are the boss and he knows it. So, to show you his appreciation, he indulges into licking your hands, arms, legs, face, everything!
In addition to licking, your Aussie might also roll over and show his belly, which is the equivalent of saying “I trust you, pack leader!”
10. Separation Snuggles
If your lovely Aussie pup thinks that you are about to hit the road (again), they might give you some slobbery smooches as a way of saying “Hey, I don’t like this one bit, don’t go!”
In addition to kisses, these colorful pups sure know how to show their emotions through those big, soulful puppy eyes.
Leaving your Australian Shepherd all alone for hours on end, especially if he is still a puppy, is a big no-no. However, if you must go somewhere without him, then you have to make sure to hire a dog-sitter or a trusty pal to keep them company.
11. Alert Kisses
These pups have very sharp senses and they can feel if something is wrong with you.
Aussies can feel subtle changes in their owner’s body odor, body temperature, or behavior that may indicate something is wrong. It’s like they have superpowers! Additionally, they can sense an upcoming earthquake!
So, to make sure that you are both ready for what’s about to happen, these incredible pups will either bark, whine, growl, become restless, or simply lick you!
Because of this, Australian Shepherds make excellent service dogs that can work as therapy pups or medical alert dogs.
Should I Stop My Australian Shepherd From Licking Me?
Well, it all depends on why your Australian Shepherd is licking you!
If it’s just a sign of affection and love, then you’re one lucky Aussie parent and you should not stop your pup from licking you.
But if it is due to too much attention seeking and it is becoming a nuisance, you can start discouraging them by saying “NO” in a gentle voice, or by introducing new toys and activities to get their mind off of excessive licking.
I know dog licking is sweet and feedback from your pup that he or she loves you, but sometimes you gotta put the brakes on that affection, at least until you’ve washed your hands!
On the other hand, if you think that your pup licking you is a sign of a health problem, then you should call your vet and tell them all about it.
After all, your pooch can’t just pop by the vet clinic by itself to tell them “Hey, I’m not feeling well“, it is up to you to keep an eye out for signs that something’s not quite right.
To Sum It Up
So, to get to the bottom of the “why does my Australian Shepherd lick me so much” dilemma, we can conclude that this behavior can be due to many reasons, most of which are harmless.
Just make sure to give your Aussie as much attention as he needs, and pay attention to what he’s trying to say!