Why Does My Dog Lick and Hump Me?

September 9, 2020

I am going to begin with the humping issue and then follow with the licking issue.

Why do dogs hump? Humping can be sexual in nature, especially for young, unaltered dogs. It can also be a form of dominance (at any age). Dog who are not properly socialized and those lacking obedience training may do it when they are overly excited. It is important to teach your dog that humping is inappropriate, otherwise, they will continue to exhibit this fun, playful behavior on other dogs, humans, pillows, stuffed animals, etc.

If friends and family members laugh or make a big deal while the dog is humping, the dog will simply repeat the behavior for attention. Teaching your dog the leave-it command is helpful in stopping this behavior. It is equally important to provide plenty of physical and mental exercise for your dog.  Many negative behaviors are linked to a lack of mental exercise (better known as canine enrichment).

Why do dogs lick? As far as licking, dogs lick their humans to show affection. They also lick humans because they like the way they taste (salty) or because they smell food on their face or hands. The dam (mother dog) licks her puppies right after they are born to stimulate breathing and to clean them. Lower members in a dog pack will lick dominant members as a submissive gesture and a sign of respect. So, in a dog’s mind, licking is normal behavior.

If a dog licks himself constantly (which could cause damage to their own skin), it could be a medical problem or injury. If this is happening to your dog, it would be a good idea to visit the vet.  My dog constantly licks her skin to the point that sores develop.  This is a result of environmental allergies. She receives medication, monthly shots and weekly medicated baths to help sooth her skin.

In addition to affection and tasting something yummy on your skin, constant licking can be a sign of anxiety, boredom and possibly OCD behavior.

Photo credit: Wyatt-Ryan-on-Unsplash

Make sure your dog receives plenty of physical exercise. Also include mental stimulation each day (my dog works for her food through treat releasing balls, maze bowls and snuffle mats). Dogs need jobs. If they are laying around and have minimal mental and physical exercise, they grow bored and search for something to do. Boredom can lead to destructive behavior, self-harm and bossy behavior. All of which causes suffering for the dog.

Besides ruling out medical issues and ensuring that you are providing enough enrichment for your dog, teaching the leave-it command is helpful to stop licking.


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