What Does It Mean When A Dog Licks Your Hand?


What does it mean when a dog licks your hand? There are various reasons why your dog may lick your hands. Common reasons relate to a greeting or a way of saying hello, as well as tasting food that your hands may have recently touched. In extreme cases, consistent licking can be associated with disorders or illnesses.
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Why Do Dogs Like To Lick Our Face and Hands?


It's In Their Nature

Just like humans, dogs are inspired and motivated by their senses. On a dog's behalf, there is no better way than touching and tasting you by licking your hands and face. Dogs are formulary known as being part of the wolf family. Wolves would form a pack with an "alpha" in charge. The other wolves would lick the "alpha" as a sign of showing their submission to him.

Showing Signs of….

Compulsion or an underlying issue. If your dogs' licking behaviors become excessive or out of control, there may be more to it. A lot of variables can trigger a dogs' compulsions, including; separation from the previous owner, being left on their own for a significant amount of time, a physical incident with another dog, etc. It could also be caused by an underlying issue such as anxiety, or they're in an environment that is making them feel uncomfortable. If you feel your dog is uncontrollably licking, you should seek help/advice from your local vet.

Saying Hello

You may notice your dog licking you as you come home or enter the room they're in. This is their way of selling hello to you. As well as saying hello, they're also gathering information about where you have been or what you have recently eaten.

Need a clean?

As you're probably aware, your dog will lick himself as a way of cleaning. This could be another explanation as to why dogs lick their owners. Human skin can build up a layer of salt, and dogs like the taste of this.

Should you let your dog lick your hand?


No Harm Caused...

Letting your dog lick your hand is a way of letting them show some affection towards you. A happy and healthy dog will want to shower you with kisses (licking) as this is their way of showing 'I love you.' However, it is important to understand that saliva carrying diseases is absorbed easier through the membranes in a human mouth, eyes, and nose. Therefore, you should limit your dogs licking in these areas.

How Can You Stop Your Dog From Licking Your Hands and Other Body Parts?


When To Praise and When Not To Praise

If you're aiming to stop your dog licking your and other people's hands, you should use treat driven techniques to help. A simple positive reinforcement technique has been proven to help stop habits like this. Start by allowing your dog to lick your hand, and this may be natural or by holding a treat. When your dog stops licking, praise them, and reward them with the treat. Continue this process until they can sit in front of your hands without attempting to lick them.

Replace your hand with a toy!

Just like when your dog was a nibbling pup, placing something in their mouth will help to divert their attention away from your hands. If you want to stop your dogs' excessive licking, as they begin to lick you, place their favorite toy in their mouth. They'll soon get bored of attempting to lick you!



What does it mean when a dog puts his paw on your hand?
This is a way of your dog showing affection back. They can also use their paw to communicate or move your hand to a place on their body where they want to be tickled or scratched.
How can you tell if your dog loves you?
Dogs will often cuddle up to you, sleep near you, rest their head or paw on you, and have a wagging tail when they see you. These are all signs of dogs showing their affection towards you.
Are dog licks really kisses?
As this blog post states, your dog licking you is more than likely showing affection. This is why we call them kisses.
Why do dogs like their bellies rubbed?
This is simply a case of your dog enjoying it. When a dog is tickled/rubbed, their brain responds to a stimulus sent by their hair follicles, thus gives them the enjoyment factor.
Do dogs laugh?
Believe it or not, dogs are capable of laughing. When you see a dog playing, they are more than likely smiling (mouth open & teeth showing). If they start to make a panting like noise, this tends to be them laughing.



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Disclaimer: Each dog is different, and every circumstance is different. All efforts have been made to provide accurate information. However, it is not provided by a qualified Veterinarian, Veterinarian Surgeon, or Behaviorist. The information provided is purely educational. The information should not be used as an alternative or substitute for medical care. If you have any health or medical concerns, contact a qualified Veterinary Surgeon or Veterinarian immediately.


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