Why do we think all dogs must lick their owner? Maybe it’s because we were made to believe that dogs bark and lick their owner. You see it on TV and in movies – they all happily lick their owner when they see them. After all, it is the ultimate sign that dogs love us.
But, is it?
What if I told you that dogs do not lick us to kiss us? Who told us that dogs need to lick our face to show us how much they love us and how much they’ve missed us?
Oh, right… Hollywood and the movies.
Not everything we see in movies has to be the truth, but it is very hard not to believe it when they wrap it up so well. And, if you’ve seen it in one movie, you’ll soon see it in other movies, too.
Well, don’t worry – there are 5 perfectly normal reasons why your dog doesn’t lick you. They are not strange – they are normal doggos, too.
Why Does My Dog Not Lick Me?
Because we are talking about a certain dog behavior we desire, let’s take a look at how dogs express their feelings.
You can check the tail position of your dog and see if it’s wagging. You can see the ears and whether they are alert or flat on the back of the head.
You can see the entire body of your dog to find out whether he’s happy or sad. They wiggle, they are excited, and they can’t keep still.
Do they have to lick our face? No.
I’ve just mentioned so many ways a dog expresses its love and happiness, and there is more. Some dogs whine, cry, burst into zoomies, carry their toys around, jump on you…
But, do they have to lick you? No.
Let’s see why…
1. They Had No Role Model
This can happen with other types of dog behavior. They had no one to learn how and what to do in specific situations.
This means they didn’t have their mom or other dogs as role models… not you. If a puppy was separated from its mom too early, it won’t have a proper role model to learn basic dog behavior.
Of course, a puppy will instinctively know certain behaviors, but those little things we find normal don’t have to be normal if a puppy didn’t have anyone to learn them from.
These puppies often show other types of behavior that tell us they didn’t have a safe and happy puppyhood, which is common for stray or shelter dogs.
They might cry in their crates at night, they’ll want to follow you wherever you go, and they are prone to developing separation anxiety.
If this is the only problem you find – your dog not licking you, you are in luck! Your dog is perfectly normal – he’s just not used to it and doesn’t know he needs to do it.
2. Trained Not To Do It
If you got your dog from another owner or bought it from a dog breeder, there is a high chance that the previous owner or breeder trained the dog not to lick people.
Not everyone likes to be licked. Some people think it is gross, and they’d rather not experience it.
This has nothing to do with their love for dogs. The love is still strong, but they prefer not to feel the dog’s saliva all over their face. That’s why they teach their dogs not to lick their face.
This training starts when the dog is still a puppy. The process is quicker if the puppy has a mom or other, bigger dogs as role models. Simply put… if they had other dogs trained not to lick people, then the puppies will also soon learn not to do it.
If you did get your dog from a breeder, you can call the breeder and ask about this behavior. Or, the lack of it…
But, once again, everything is alright with your dog, and there is nothing to worry about. If you really want to, you can teach your dog to lick your face. All it takes is positive reinforcement, dog treats, and patience.
3. You “Trained” Him Not To Do It
This is unintentional training, meaning you didn’t want to teach your dog not to lick your face, but somehow you did.
Some dogs are more sensitive than others, and some are more intelligent than others. Those more sensitive and more intelligent doggos tend to pick up commands quicker than the rest of the dogs.
That’s why some dogs are therapy dogs or emotional support dogs – because they take the hints, and do as we want by sensing our emotions and reacting accordingly.
Your dog might be one of them, no matter if it’s a purebred dog or a mixed dog. They are all special doggies that can quickly pick up on how we feel and stop doing things we don’t want them to do.
And, if you ever said to your dog not to lick you, even if it was just a few times, there is a big chance your dog remembered that and stopped licking you because of it.
4. That’s Not How Your Dog Shows Love
Every dog is unique. They can be purebred and exhibit both physical and personality traits of the breed, but they are still unique dogs. You can have a Border Collie that doesn’t want to run around (although not that often) or a Poodle that doesn’t like to swim.
They are not less purebred… they are just unique. So, you can also have a dog that doesn’t show love by licking your face. He can do it in other ways.
A dog shows affection through body language, just like any other emotion. Is your dog winking at you? This can mean I love you. Is your dog laying on you or sleeping on your head? This means I love you, as well.
So, if your dog doesn’t lick you, it doesn’t mean that they don’t love you or you did something wrong. They simply do not show their emotions through licking. That’s it.
5. Medical Issue
The last on our list is a possible medical issue, but it only refers to situations in which your dog has suddenly stopped licking your face.
If you are used to getting doggy kisses every day, especially if you come home from work – and one day, everything stops – check your dog’s health.
It might be nothing, but when it comes to our furry friends, it is better to be safe than sorry.
The first thing is to check your dog’s mouth and see if he has been eating or drinking water. Pay attention to its general behavior as well.
If you notice your dog is:
- Not eating
- Not drinking water
- Doesn’t want to play
The best option is to take him to the vet.
If you have been wondering why your dog doesn’t lick you, as you can see, there are 5 possible reasons. If your dog has never licked your face, not even when he was a puppy, then chances are your dog is just not a dog that shows love through licking.
If you really want your dog to lick your face, you can train him. After a while, you won’t even need a command – your dog will do it on its own.
Do you know why? Because apparently, we taste salty to dogs and they love it. So, all of those people bragging about how their dogs lick their face because they love them so much… Maybe they just taste good, and dogs love to eat, so they lick them.
Whatever the case is, and no matter if you have a dog that licks or doesn’t lick your face, the important thing is that your dog is healthy and happy.