Ask any Cockapoo why they lick so much, and you will hear “because I can” or “because my human tastes so good.” Ask a vet or animal behaviourist, and they will explain that there are a number of reasons for your dog licking. For example, it is a way for your pooch to communicate with you, it is their way of exploring their environment, and quite simply, it is because you taste so good.
Nothing beats a good licking when you get home after a stressful day at the office. That together with crazy tail-wagging, yelps of delight and frantic sniffing lets you know you are home, that you were missed and that you are loved.
But if you think there must be more to your pooch’s licking, you are correct.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons your Cockapoo licks.
It is your Cockapoo’s way of communicating with you
Humans communicate in different ways, using language as well as sound, hand gestures and body language. It is the same with pooches. They bark, use face gestures, their tails, and yes you guessed it, licking.
When your Cockapoo licks you, they could be asking for water or food, a walk or a game of tug of war. The more time you spend with your furry friend, the more au fait you will become at recognising exactly what Doug (your dog) is trying to tell you.
It is your Cockapoo’s way of showing you affection
There is no way of accounting how some creatures interact. Just like dogs sniff each other’s butts, they lick you to show their affection.
When your canine companion licks you, his brain releases endorphins or what we know as “happy hormones”. These hormones calm your pup down and give him a feeling of reassurance, which is similar to what a child feels when his parents give him a hug or a kiss.
Your Cockapoo could also lick you when you are feeling a little down or sick.
It is your Cockapoo’s way of looking for attention
No one in the world will love you more than your Cockapoo does and he will do pretty much anything to get your attention and be loved in return.
You might notice when you are paying someone, or something else more attention, your Cockapoo will jump on you, wag its tail (more than usual), bark and even lick you. Give him a treat or a tummy rub, so he knows he is loved.
It is their way of showing you they are submissive
In a pack, when one animal licks another, it is a sign of submission and their way of saying they understand the pecking order. When your Cockapoo licks you it is his way of showing you respect.
Your Cockapoo will do this with other family members, other animals and people who they have grown to love.
It is their way of exploring
Have you ever watched a baby? It puts things in its mouth, licks and tastes as it discovers its environment. Dogs do the same thing too, using their sense of smell and taste to distinguish good from bad, recognise familiar objects and identify new ones.
It is your Cockapoo’s way of identifying you
Your dog not only knows you by your unique smell, he will also over time, know what your sweat tastes like. They are able to identify different people this way as well as remember who they are.
Some dogs like the salty taste and will also lick.
It is your Cockapoo’s way of grooming himself
Dogs, like cats, will lick to clean themselves. We suggest you keep an eye on this, especially if your Cockapoo is licking around his anal area excessively. This could be a sign that there is a problem with these glands.
It is your Cockapoo’s way of cleaning a wound
If your dog has an injury, his saliva contains enzymes that kill off any germs and bacteria. The licking action will also remove dirt and dead tissue. But you need to watch this too; too much licking can reopen a healing wound.
Your Cockapoo thinks you like it
If your Cockapoo thinks you like being licked, he is going to carry on doing it. To you, and everyone else. But if you let him know that it isn’t acceptable behaviour, he will stop.
In some cases, excessive licking can be indicative of an underlying issue, related to your Cockapoo’s health. For example:
- If your dog is incessantly licking his skin, it could be as a result of allergies
- If you notice your Cockapoo is licking excessively in a specific area, like around the anal glands, it could be a sign of an infection. You should follow this up with a checkup at the vet
- If your dog is licking his joints, it could be a sign of osteoarthritis or arthritis
- If you notice your dog licking odd surfaces, and not himself, it could be as a result of gastrointestinal problems. In cases like this, you should consult with your vet
Dog lovers won’t mind being licked. In fact, we know a few that don’t only enjoy a big sloppy greeting, they actually get down on all fours to (literally) immerse themselves in the experience. These are our kind of people.
For the few who don’t like it, and want to know how to stop a dog from licking, well, that is another article altogether.