Have you ever wondered why your dog licks your legs? Is it because he loves you, or does he have another reason? Well, in this post, I am going to tell you ALL the reasons for his action.
First of all, I think it’s important that you understand why your dog is doing that by understanding what he is really thinking.
Your dog is licking your legs for reasons such as to show you his love, to get your attention, to do his “investigation”, to ease his anxiety, to show his submission or empathy to you. He could also be feeling bored, trying to tell you something, to groom you or simply just want to taste your skin.
Table of Contents
He Loves You
Your dog obviously loves you and wants to be close to you and licking your legs is his way of showing his affection to you.
You see, when a dog “loves” someone, it’s not like a human who will say, “I love you” or “I’m in love with you.”
He does something else. He LICKS THAT PERSON and licking your face and legs is his way of showing you his affection.
He Is Nervous
Dogs do anything odd when they are nervous. They paw at the ground, they circle around in a nervous and anxious way, and of course, they also lick their owner’s legs as licking helps them to calm down.
In this case, your dog is nervous because he doesn’t know you very well, and he is a little scared of you if you have just adopted him.
It just takes time for your dog to “learn” more about you and in time, he will learn to trust you and would not be nervous anymore.
In the meantime, you can help him to feel at ease by starting some obedience training to build the bond.
Soon, your dog will realize that he has found a new “family” and he will begin to relax. Remember this: Your new friend is a little scared of you right now and that’s okay. You’ll both get used to each other in time.
He Wants Your Attention
The reason for his licking behavior is that he is trying to get your attention. He wants you to know that there is something important that he wants to tell you.
If you understand and acknowledge what your dog is trying to tell you, then the licking will stop.
However, if you fail to notice or understand what he is trying to tell you, then his licking behavior will continue, and he might also start to get upset.
So, the first thing you must do is pay attention to what your dog is trying to tell you. Once you do this, the next step is to acknowledge his message.
In other words, you must say to your dog something like, “I hear you, good boy!”. By doing this, you will stop his undesirable licking behavior once you have fulfilled his needs.
He Is Showing You His Submission
In the wild, it is common for pack members to lick their Alpha as the way to show their submission.
So, when you find your dog licking your ears or your legs when he is with you, he is truly showing his submission to you. And that’s a good thing. It means he still loves you and wants to be close to you.
It also means he trusts you. He is simply expressing his love and trust for you. In fact, if you have trained him properly, when he licks your leg it will be with the utmost respect and tenderness.
He Is Showing His Empathy To You
Your dog is extremely good at knowing your mood and when you are feeling upset or lonely, he will show his empathy to you by licking your legs.
It’s similar to your friend giving you a hug or lending his shoulder for you to lean on when you are feeling down or upset.
Your dog does it through his licking and telling you that he is there for you!
He Is Bored
Well, guess what? Boredom is the absolute worst thing that can happen to your dog.
It’s important for you to realize that dogs are very vulnerable to boredom. They are naturally curious and eager to explore their environment.
Don’t let this happen to your dog! Always make sure he gets enough exercise and physical activity.
Let him engage in some physical and mental exercises for at least an hour a day.
That means playing sessions for him such as fetching balls or playing flirt poles, games of chase and so on.
Your dog needs to go out for walks and runs and play fetch or games of hide-and-seek every day to help him release his pent-up energy.
Also give him something new to chew on such as a KONG toy stuffed with treats to keep him busy.
He Is Grooming You
Your dog might be doing what his mother had done for him when he was still a puppy — which is grooming (he starts to lick and keep you clean!)
You see, your dog sees you as his family, and he is very likely to groom you just as his mom did when he was a pup.
In fact, it is one of the ways a dog shows he cares about his owner. It doesn’t mean anything bad — it just means he’s saying “I care”.
On the other hand, if your dog is just trying to clean you off, then he’s doing you a favor. Cleaning you off prevents you from getting sick. It also gets rid of bad smells that your legs are having.
He Likes The Taste Of Your Skin
If you find that your dog starts to lick on your legs the moment you are back from a workout, it’s probably because he likes the “salty” taste of your legs.
Just make sure that you wash up your legs the moment you are back home and that should deter your dog from that licking behavior.
However, if he still persists in this habit even after you have done the wash-up, then there is a good chance that he might have developed something more serious — “possessiveness behavior.”
Dogs can develop an unhealthy obsession with people they are very attached to.This is especially true of dogs who were previously neglected.
In any case, if you suspect that your dog may be developing an unhealthy fixation on you, the best thing to do is pay attention to him and observe his behavior.
If you find that he is persistently licking your legs or any other part of your body, then it would be prudent to seek professional help.
He Is Doing His “Investigation”
Of course, apart from showing his love for you through licking, another primary goal for him is to carry out his “investigation”.
You see, after your bath, your skin will be covered with water droplets and the refreshing scent of the bathing lotion.
Your dogs are extremely sensitive to your “new” scent and that triggers his curiosity to do some investigation.
By licking your leg, he gets to taste and feel what is triggering his scent.
He Is Trying To Tell You Something
Just like your friends will be calling your name to get your attention before telling you his needs, your dog is using his licking as an action to tell you that he needs something from you.
Maybe he is feeling hungry or needs to go outside for his potty. You will often see this licking action to be persistent till you have attended to his needs.
So, if you are ignoring him, he will keep on licking till you finally figure out what he wants.
Once you have figured out what he is trying to tell you, you need to attend to his needs by giving him some food or whatever he wants.
This will make him feel good, and it will teach him that you are a caring person. In return, he will start to trust you and obey you.
Licking Makes Him Feel Good
Your dog might like to lick your leg because this action makes them feel good. Licking releases endorphins — the “Feel-Good” brain chemicals that make him feel good.
You see, dogs use their tongues to taste our world. They lick everything: furniture, carpets, walls, floor and of course, humans!
In fact, when your dog licks your leg he is experiencing “the thrill of victory”! This is why some dog owners keep a bowl of water nearby and let their dogs drink whenever they are excited or overjoyed rather than letting their dogs do the licking.
If your dog is overly excited by licking, he may have an accident. This is called “excitement-urination.” It’s a natural behavior in dogs that results from the release of adrenaline.
You may encounter this “Excitement-Urination” situation when your dog is feeling overexcited when you come home and jump up at you. And the very next moment, he starts peeing on the floor.
In any case, just ”forcefully” making your dog stop his licking will not solve the problem. He’ll probably do it again in a few minutes.
What you need to do instead is find out why he’s doing it and then work to correct the situation or behavior through obedience training.
And if your dog has the habit of laying at your feet, you will be interested in this post!