The main reason the dogs lick is because they enjoy it. Licking releases endorphins which produce a pleasurable effect. They may also have been conditioned to lick. As a puppy, they licked their new owner and this resulted in a pat. As they have grown older the behavior and their owner has continued to reward them. They also link for a number of other reasons some of which are discussed here.
Reasons YOur Dog Licks YOu
Dogs Lick Us Because They Like The Taste.
Our skin has a pleasant salty taste for dogs - particularly after exercise. Your dog will find it enjoyable to lick your bare skin. Whether it is also enjoyable for you is another question. Your dog may also be licking you to show affection. Mother dogs lick their pups and this is a continuation of that behavior. He might just be trying to show you how much he loves you.
Licking can also be a sign of submission. They are showing you that they know you are the boss.
Dogs often lick themselves because of boredom or anxiety. It can be a type of displacement behavior. They are licking because they are unable to release their emotions in some other way.
Pain Or Injury
Dogs will lick an injury to help it heal. They also lick other areas which are painful. If your dog has started to lick an area which he didn't lick before, this could be a symptom of pain and you should refer this to your vet. This type of licking can be a symptom of arthritis.
Stopping Your Dog From Licking You
If your dog is licking you excessively, it could be time to put a stop to it.
Do not punish or scold your dog when he licks. This will create anxiety and dogs use licking is a means of reducing anxiety.
You have to condition your dog that licking you will result in an outcome that he doesn't want. As with all types of conditioning you will need persistence and patience. If you are living in a family situation, all members of your family should be on the same page and participate in the retraining process.
Whatever you are doing when your dog starts to lick you – stop. If you are patting him, stop the patting. If you are sitting down watching tv with your dog beside you, stand up and walk out of the room closing the door behind you and leaving your dog behind. After a short period, you can return and resume what you are doing. Be prepared to do this many times. Your dog will eventually learn that licking you results in an undesired outcome.
Have realistic expectations. Your dog will have difficulty understanding why he can't do something that seems perfectly natural. So you may end up allowing your dog to lick you briefly when you return home but not when you are sitting down trying to relax.