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Why Does My Dog Groom Me – What It Really Means!

You’re hanging out with your dog like you do all the time. Suddenly, your dog starts grooming you by licking your arms and hands. You pull your body away, yet your dog keeps licking! So have you ever wondered, why does my dog groom me?

Your dog grooms you as a way to show you affection or to mark his territory. Grooming takes on a few different forms, such as licking, biting, or nipping. Your dog might start grooming you suddenly, or it could be a habit that your dog has had from previous ownership.

Although you may be grossed out by your dog cleaning you like you’re a puppy, your dog’s grooming comes from a good place. It’s your dog’s way of saying “I love you” to you. You might think it’s a weird thing for your dog to do, so let’s talk a little more about what grooming means and why your dog chooses to do it. 

What Does It Mean When a Dog Grooms You

There isn’t one specific reason why your dog grooms you, so let’s talk about some of the reasons why it may happen. Most of the reasons, as you will see, are positive. 

Your Dog Is Showing Affection

The top reason that your dog is grooming you is because of affection. It’s the equivalent of a mother smoothing down her child’s hair. Your dog can’t say that he loves you with words, so you have to understand dog language.

Giving “Kisses”

While kisses might be an aspect of showing affection as well, it’s still an important point to know that your dog might just be giving you kisses. That is yet another way that you can translate your dog’s grooming. 

Your Dog Is Marking Their Territory

Although your dog is usually grooming you out of affection, your dog may also be marking his territory when he licks you. Grooming is a way for your dog to put his scent on you.

This is most common when there is a new addition to the family, such as another dog, a cat, or even a new baby. If your dog is marking territory with a new addition in your household, you’ll want to make sure that your dog doesn’t become aggressive. This is crucial to prevent something serious from happening.

Since dogs aren’t able to talk to us, we can only guess what grooming means. Although these three reasons aren’t a comprehensive list of why your dog grooms you, it is a good starting point to understand why your dog licks and bites you as a way to groom you.

Why Does My Dog Like To Groom Me

Your dog grooms you as a way to show affection.

You might notice that your dog likes to lick you. Even if you push your dog’s snout away, you might notice that your dog tries to continue cleaning you. And it might seem weird, but it’s not as strange as you might think. 

Your dog is grooming you like this because it’s your dog’s way of showing affection. Dogs clean each other when they care about each other, so your dog is doing the same for you too. 

How much your dog grooms you may vary based on your dog’s personality. Your dog may clean you every chance he gets, or it may only be once in a while when your dog is feeling extra affectionate. 

Why Does My Dog Groom Me With His Teeth

Sometimes your dog will use his teeth to clean you, and although it may hurt, your dog is still trying to show affection. 

Of the two options, licking is much more fun than using teeth. Despite being a little more painful than a tongue, your dog’s teeth are another method to clean you.

Dogs use teeth to clean themselves, each other, or you as another method. Teeth allow your dog to pull tangled hair apart or even try to pick fleas off their skin. Think of teeth as more of a “deep clean.”

Your first instinct might be to scold your dog for nipping your skin, but it’s just a way that your dog shows its love. It’s a behavior that you can correct, but it isn’t something necessary.

Why Does My Dog Nibble Groom Me

You may be used to your dog using teeth to groom, but nibbling is also a form of grooming that your dog is doing to clean you out of affection.

Nibbling is a behavior that is more common in puppies than in fully grown dogs. Nibbling, like biting, is a form of cleaning. It’s also more painful for humans because there’s a chance that your dog may pinch a small piece of skin between its teeth. 

If you have a younger dog, you’ll have to learn the difference between puppy nipping and nipping as a form of cleaning. It can be a little complicated, but as you learn your dog’s behavior, you’ll know the difference. 

Once you know that your dog is nibbling you as a form of cleaning, then you can also know that your dog is nipping you as a sign of affection.

Should I Let My Dog Groom Me

There are a few reasons to stop your dog from licking you. There is a chance that your dog may be licking or grooming you to mark his territory, especially if you just adopted a new dog into your household. 

Most of the time, your dog grooming is a harmless habit. Your dog is trying to show you affection by grooming you. If this is the case, then there is no reason to stop your dog from grooming you.

There is one thing to watch out for when your dog grooms you. If you get another dog and notice your dog starts grooming you, it may mean that your dog is marking his territory. This may lead to tension between your dogs, and if you notice that this is happening, that is the best time to stop your dog from grooming you.

How To Stop A Dog from Licking You

To get your dog to stop licking you, you’ll need to correct the behavior. There are a few choices that you have to stop your dog from licking you.

  • Correct your dog’s behavior when it first begins. If you can start younger with your dog, the training may stick.
  • Give your dog a toy to redirect its attention when he licks you. 
  • Pull your hand or body away when your dog licks you. That may show your dog that you don’t like it. 
  • Give your dog a gentle tap on the nose when your dog grooms you. You do not have to be rough, but showing your dog that grooming is not okay will hopefully lead your dog to stop grooming you.

Thankfully, you can train your dog not to lick you. It might take some time, but it will stick eventually as long as you keep trying. 

Dog slobber may or may not be your favorite thing to be covered in. Usually, your dog is covering you in slimy slobber as a sign of affection. Using grooming means that your dog shows you affection, so there isn’t much reason to worry when your dog grooms you. So next time your dog starts giving you a tongue bath, remember that’s his way of showing you he loves you.