Dachshunds are loveable little pups. They are fiercely loyal to their owners and make wonderful companions. Dachshunds have a reputation for being a little overprotective and can be quite nippy, especially when they are younger. They also have a reputation for being persistent lickers! This isn’t always a bad thing – it’s usually nothing more than a show of affection and a way of demonstrating how comfortable your dachshund is around you. But, why do dachshunds lick so much? Do I need to watch out for this? Is it something to worry about? How can I avoid this unwanted behavior? This article has all those answers for you – and more!
Licking is a normal instinct:
Dogs lick. It’s an instinct that all dogs have, a dog that doesn’t lick itself, you, its toys, or other people is a little worrying. There are many reasons that dogs lick, not all of them are positive reasons but none are overly problematic so long as you respond to them correctly. Here are the most likely reasons for your dachshund’s overzealous licking.
Your Dachshund is being submissive:
If your dog is licking you gently, it can often be a sign of submission. Dogs lick the most dominant member of the pack, which should be you, to show they understand their place in the pack hierarchy. This is a very important relationship dynamic in pack animals, a clear leader or set of rules regarding hierarchy is how balance is maintained. You should take it as a compliment, even if you don’t find it particularly pleasant. This article covers the theory behind submissive licking and how to identify it for yourself. The article can be found here.
Your Dachshund is showing affection:
This one that we are all familiar with! Dogs lick things they like. People, other dogs, toys. It’s their way of showing affection. Dogs can’t express how they feel with their words, like you or I can, instead they must resort to actions. A nice way to think of licking is your dog’s way of giving you a hug or a kiss, it might be a bit slobbery and gross, but they don’t have any other way to show you quite how they feel. Affectionate licking is very easy to identify, when you get home from work or when you are cuddled up together on the couch, these are the most obvious indicators that your dog is licking for affection. We must look at the context.
Your Dachshund wants attention:
This one is very similar to showing affection. Not the reason for licking but WHY licking is the chosen action. It’s very hard for a dog to get your attention, they can’t use their words so they have pretty much only got two options. First of all, they could bark/howl/yap but if you have trained them well they aren’t going to do that. Licking is a much more socially acceptable way of getting your attention. Both naturally, in the pack, and with the relationship, you have established with your dog. If you have conditioned your dog not to bark, then licking is all they are left with. You can teach your dog not to lick either if that’s what you want, but we will go over that later.
Your Dachshund is bored:
Boredom will drive your dog to do all sorts of weird things. Barking, play fighting, destructive behavior, intentionally antagonizing you, and licking are all examples of this. Dogs get bored easily, when they do they have to entertain themselves. Licking is probably one of the best outlets for them because it’s far less destructive and annoying than some of the alternatives but it’s still not great. Licking you is entertaining to your dog, but it’s more likely that they are using it as a way to engage you in play. If you have time, it’s a good idea to play with your dog for a few minutes but then return to whatever you were doing. If you simply drop what you are doing every time your dog will see this as encouragement for licking. Dogs also like to lick you because they like the taste, your skin is oily and salty which they find strangely pleasant. Take it as a compliment. Related Post: Easy Ways To Keep a Dachshund Busy
Should you allow your Dachshund to lick your face?
Look, this one is a little tricky. Some dog owners like to let their dog lick their faces. That’s fine, you can do what you want. But it causes your dog to think that licking people’s faces is acceptable. You might like it when your dog licks your face, but other people sure as heck might not. As well as failing to set the proper boundaries needed, you are also putting yourself and other people at risk of getting ill. Dogs’ mouths are filthy, they are breeding grounds for bacteria and should be treated as such. Have you seen what dogs do with their mouths? It’s better to NOT think about it.
How to stop your dog from licking you:
There are several ways to stop your dog from licking you. The most surefire way is to simply stop your dog from licking you once they start, and then reward them. Eventually, you should be able to get your dog to stop licking just by saying no. Whenever your dog is licking you, ensure that you reward it as soon as the behavior stops. Eventually, your dog will just stop licking you. This positive reinforcement is the same basic idea that you should be using with pretty much every other aspect of your training routine together. Never yell, hit, or shun your dog for licking you. This is the worst way to curb bad behavior and will only put a strain on your relationship. Positive reinforcement is the way to go. If you are struggling, you could consider buying some foul-tasting spray to put on your arms. When your dog licks you, it will find the taste unpleasant rather than “delicious” and salty. This is similar to how some children need to have similar stuff put on their thumbs to stop them from sucking them.
Excessive licking can be a bad sign:
Before now, every time we have looked at licking there has been an arguably positive reason behind it. Even if you don’t like the act of licking itself, the reason behind it is rather sweet. But sometimes, those reasons are a warning sign disguised as an act of kindness. Here are some of the troubling reasons that your dachshund might be locking you or others, especially if they are doing so far more than normal.
Dogs suffer from anxiety just as we do. An outlet for their nervous energy can sometimes be licking. This can be licking you, or more commonly themselves. It’s a coping mechanism that many dogs inherently have. This isn’t overly troubling, of course, you don’t want your dog to be suffering from anxiety but it’s normally a very short-term problem. It’s also very easy to fix. Kind, soft, words, and praise. Ear scratches, belly rubs, the works. Just be affectionate and try to assess the reason that your dog may be feeling anxious so you can work out how to beat take your dog out of that situation. Related Post: Best Ways To Deal With Anxiety in Dogs
A skin condition:
Dogs lick themselves for various medical conditions, skin conditions in particular. Just like how we itch or scratch ourselves if we are suffering from something like a rash, so do dogs. They can also lick themselves to cool down any flare-up on their skin as their saliva can feel soothing. If you do notice your dog licking themselves an awful lot in the same general area, have a closer look and see if you can find any irritations or flare-ups that could be causing your dog to lick itself obsessively. Related Post: The Best Ways To Deal with Dachshund Skin Problems
Dogs have incredibly impressive saliva. It has antibacterial properties that can help soothe and even heal wounds. This is why you see dogs lick themselves when they injure themselves regardless of whether the injury is internal or external. They can’t determine the severity of specifics of their injury so they are just as likely to lick a bruise as they are an open wound like a cut or graze. Dogs, and other animals, licking their wounds is a very common thing we see all across the animal kingdom. You can read more about why they lick their wounds here.
Just as dogs lick themselves to help soothe their injuries, they also do it to soothe general pain and discomfort. If your dog excessively licks at their joints it’s a pretty clear sign of arthritis in a lot of cases. This isn’t always clear, there are some other signs you can look for like trouble with mobility and limping. The best idea is to just speak to your vet, as they will be able to offer a proper diagnosis and a plan of action to help you make your pup feel more comfortable. If you are still unsure why your dog is licking you, others, its toys, or itself it’s best to just visit the vet anyway. They have far better insight into the specifics of what’s going on than your or I do. Related Post: Common Dachshund Health Issues To Be Aware Of