Dogs love showing affection through physical contact, with the most popular one being nose-licking. Every dog owner has experienced this. At first, it may have seemed innocent, but with time, it got me wondering why does my dog lick my nose.
Experienced pet owners are aware of this behavior, but most of them don’t know why they do it. New pet owners get anxious when their dogs lick them and think that it’s a strange behavior. They may even talk to the vet and find out how to make them stop licking their noses.
9 Reasons Why My Dog Licks My Nose
Dogs licking is normal, and they get this behavior from their parents while young. Adult dogs lick the noses of their puppies to confirm if they’re breathing. So when grown they use this trick when helping us.
We can also consider this to be a form of gesture they use when expressing their affection.
Dog licks can also be a sign of submission to help groom you when you’re stressed. Nose licking is not a bad thing. But if you’re not comfortable with it, you should know that your dog’s saliva isn’t dangerous.
Let’s elaborate more on some of the reasons why your dog licks your nose:
1. They Love the Taste of Your Nose
As a dog owner, you already know that they have a different taste of what’s lickable and what’s tasty. Therefore, when your dog licks your nose, it may be because it finds it tasty. The smell of your face plays a major role in this canine behavior.
If your dogs lick the outer parts of your nose, then it’s your skin that tastes different.
To your dog, licking your nose is fun and can be a tasty treat to them. If they get inside your nose, then they love the taste of boogers.
Dogs use their tongues to explore the world around them. Your dog might lick your nose because it has a different texture and taste, and your dog is trying to understand it better.
2. Instinctive Behavior
We all know our canine pals are instinctive creatures that repeat what they have learned. Puppies are always observing what their mothers are doing. And one of the most common behaviors is nose licking to confirm if they’re still alive. Mothers lick their puppies to keep them clean.
From childhood, licking is the first thing they experience from their parents.
Smelling and licking are some of the techniques they use to sense things.
Generally, they smell things and then lick them before eating. Therefore, they use their nose and mouth receptors to determine your mood every morning.
3. Express Affection
Licking your nose is how they show you how much they love you. A dog lick represents their trust level and who they consider as their owners. Our canine pals learned this behavior from their mates and mothers.
This is how they strengthen their family bond and trust relations.
Dog licking your nose is like kissing you, and sometimes dogs lick our pillows.
Dogs often learn to lick your nose when seeking your attention. If your dog licks your nose and you respond with positive attention, it may repeat the behavior for attention. When you spend less time with your canine pal, it will lick your nose when waking you up.
Plus, you always give them a hug or a cuddle when they lick your nose the first time. This means that they’ll run to your bed every morning and wake you up for a cuddle by licking your nose.
The positive response will make them repeat this behavior every time they want your attention. Rewarding pup licks can result in them thinking that it’s good behavior.
5. Submissive Gesture
Dogs are known to pack animals that follow a certain social hierarchy. And in your home, you’re the alpha, so a dog lick can be a submissive gesture. Your pet is accepting that you’re the pack leader, and they consider you superior.
As a pack leader, you are responsible for what they eat and where they’ll sleep.
Dogs groom themselves and other dogs by licking. Licking your nose might be a way for your dog to “groom” you, reinforcing the social bond between you. They see you as part of their pack, and when licking you, they consider you a great companion.
My dog licks my nose if they don’t see any other member of their group around. This submissive behavior is a sign of respect.
Our canine pals are curious creatures that explore everything around them. When they smell something different in their surroundings, they will smell and lick it. They use their tongues and nose to gather information and find out what it is.
If your nose has a unique smell, your pet will lick it. When doing this, they’re trying to find out where the smell is coming from.
When overstimulated, they can express their emotions and excitement using various behaviors. When you leave the house for a few hours, they will miss your presence. And when you come back, they’ll lick your nose, face, and mouth while expressing their excitement and joy.
Dogs can also lick your nose when bored. When it licks your nose then it might be just bored and has spent a couple of hours without stimulation. They may lick your face just to pass the time. And if it continues doing this, then it needs some mental stimulation exercises.
Tips on How to Stop My Dog From Licking My Nose
Stopping a dog from licking your nose involves a combination of training, positive reinforcement, and consistency. If you have a compromised immune system, then you should try and stop this behavior.
This will prevent your dog from infecting you with some zoonotic viruses through their saliva. Here are some tips you can use to discourage this behavior:
Redirect Attention: When your dog starts licking your nose, gently redirect their attention to a more acceptable behavior. Use a command such as “sit” or “down” and reward them for complying.
Use a Command: Teach your dog a specific command, such as “no lick” or “enough,” and use it consistently when they start to lick your nose. Follow up with positive reinforcement when they stop.
Positive Reinforcement: Reward your dog with treats, praise, or affection when they refrain from licking your nose. Positive reinforcement helps reinforce the idea that not licking leads to good things.
Teach an Alternative Behavior: Train your dog to offer an alternative behavior, like sitting or offering a paw, instead of licking your nose. Reward them for performing the desired behavior.
Stay Calm: Avoid reacting negatively to the licking behavior. Stay calm and composed, as dogs can pick up on your emotions. Consistency and positive reinforcement are more effective than negative reactions.
Deterrents: Some dogs are sensitive to taste or smell deterrents. You can use pet-safe products, like bitter sprays or wipes, on your nose to make licking less enjoyable for your dog.
Create Boundaries: Establish boundaries by using commands like “off” to discourage your dog from getting too close to your face. Reinforce the boundaries with positive reinforcement when they comply.
Provide Mental and Physical Stimulation: Ensure your dog is mentally and physically stimulated through regular exercise, playtime, and puzzle toys. A well-exercised and mentally engaged dog is less likely to exhibit unwanted behaviors.
Consistent Training: Consistency is crucial in dog training. Enlist the help of family members or anyone interacting with the dog to ensure everyone follows the same rules and commands.
Professional Training Help: If the behavior persists or is challenging to address, consider seeking help from a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. They can provide personalized guidance based on your dog’s specific needs.
Remember that training takes time and patience, and every dog is different. Be consistent, use positive reinforcement, and focus on creating a positive and reinforcing environment for your dog. If you’re unsure about the best approach for your specific situation, consulting with a professional trainer can be beneficial.
Generally, nose licking is normal, and they use it to show respect and submit to you their alphas. They can also use their mouth receptors to detect your moods when you wake up. Despite being normal, some folks may be against this behavior.
If you have a compromised immunity, you should discourage this behavior. And that’s because you can produce bacteria that they may end up ingesting and becoming sick. Consistent training can help you curb this issue.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why does my dog lick my nose in the morning?
Licking your nose is normal, and it can be a way of showing affection. They can lick you every morning because they want to detect your moods and get a reward.
Should I let the dog lick my nose?
No, experts claim that you should let your dog lick your nose. The area around your eyes, mouth, and nose is quite sensitive and prone to infections.
How can I stop my dog from licking my nose?
Proper training and rewards can help you redirect their attention and stop this behavior. You can even come up with a command to stop it when it does that.