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There is no doubt that a dog licking its handler has generated a important affective bond with the. This is a positive fact for the relationship between the pet and its guardian, but as with all positive facts, when these become excessive, they cease to have as positive a connotation as it was before crossing the excess line..
Bearing in mind that the canine licking behavior is a demonstration and an evident parameter of the existence of a great attachment, of a strong affective bond and of respect between the animal and its responsible fork, it is time to understand why does my dog lick my feet. ¡Keep reading this AnimalWised article and discover the answer!You may also be interested: Why does my dog lick my hands? Index
- Behavioral characteristics of dogs
- What does it mean that a dog licks your legs and feet?
- How to prevent your dog from licking your feet?
Behavioral characteristics of dogs
This licking behavior of dogs to other members of their social group (be this group composed of humans or other dogs) has a innate, evolutionary and atavistic origin. Licking is a behavior that reinforces the affective and emotional bond between individuals belonging to the same social group or herd..
The canine lick directed towards its own fur has the function of keeping it in perfect hygiene and sanitary conditions. The lick clean by its drag action to most of the ectoparasites that normally inhabit the fur and skin of animals. Although these parasites are natural inhabitants, the lack of cleanliness through licking by the dog leads to an excess in the amount of these ectoparasites, which would lead to the generation of dermatitis in dogs that, in turn, could lead to to become contaminated with bacteria, generating a serious dermatological infection. In this way, the dog, with the neat licking of its fur, keeps these guests that inhabit the outer layer of its sane at bay..
Dog saliva is now known to contain a number of chemicals with bactericidal properties, and this is what allows wounds sustained on the skin's surface to be more easily healed when the dog has access to lick those wounds that have occurred either in a fight or in an accident. The dog that manages to lick its wounds, has a better chance of not getting infected.
This licking, both of the fur and of the skin wounds, it has been observed that dogs not only perform it on their own body, but also on those individuals or groupmates with whom they have a strong and positive affective bond.
What does it mean that a dog licks your legs and feet?
When dogs exhibit this behavior, it can be due to several reasons:
- Loves you: One of the main reasons why your dog licks your feet or legs is because he is trying to show you his affection. In other words, your dog loves you..
- Try to get your attention: on the other hand, if your dog is hungry, thirsty, wants to walk or play, it is likely that he will lick your feet to get your attention and convey his need.
- AnxietyIf your dog licks you compulsively, it may mean that, for some reason, your dog is suffering from anxiety. Anxiety in dogs can appear for various reasons, so you should review the behavior of your pet with your veterinarian.
- Behavior generalization: It can also happen that your dog licks you because he has realized that you like him, since later you reward him with caresses or praise, so he will continue to do it to please you. This is what is known as generalization of behavior. the latter finds this behavior of his dog pleasant towards him and that, contrary to repressing it, he rewards it with caresses or praises to the animal, reinforcing this behavior and generating a habit in his dog.
- Easy accessIf your dog wants to lick you for whatever reason, he may choose your feet simply because he has greater access to them.
However, if you think that your dog licks you excessively or more than before, we advise you to go to your veterinarian to be able to assess the situation together with the professional. On the other hand, it may be helpful to read this other article about My dog licks me a lot - ¿Why and what to do?
How to prevent your dog from licking your feet?
There are many tips that can be indicated in this situation, such as:
- Divert their attention: diverting the dog's behavior to another activity, it can be a good solution to wean your dog out of this type of behavior.
- Positive reinforcement: Positive reinforcement can also be very useful to re-educate your dog. Our advice is that you have treats on hand and that you reward him when he does not lick you. In this way, he will understand that if he does not lick you he will receive prizes.
- Basic commands: It can also be of great help to educate your dog in basic obedience commands. This will make it easier for, for example, when you say "no " to stop what it was doing.
- Go to an ethologist: If you believe that your dog's licking is due to a major anxiety or behavior problem, we advise you to seek help from a professional in canine behavior.
In any of the cases, the reeducation of the dog is achieved by following and respecting the rule of the 3 P's: practice, patience and perseverance. The dog is a noble animal that, when respected and given time, learns with incredible ease and speed..