Most people have a lot of questions about their Border Collie. Why does he lick so much? What is the best way to train him? How do I stop his barking? The most common question that dog owners ask is, “Why does my Border Collie lick so much?” It may seem like a silly question but it isn’t. Dogs lick for many reasons and some are more serious than others. In this article, we’ll explore why dogs lick and what you can do to help your pup overcome licking problems.
Why does my Border Collie lick me?
So let’s get into why Border Collies may lick you. There are many reasons, but the most common ones are:
Border Collies lick to show affection
Just as people hug, some dogs will lick as a way of showing affection and building that Border Collie bond with their human. A Border Collie might lick you because he wants to be close to you and show his love. If your dog licks you on the cheek, it’s generally nothing to worry about as long as he also gives you plenty of tail wags and other signs of affection.
Your dog likely associates licking you with love and security, just as a mother dog does for her pup. Licking is an affectionate gesture that lets them convey how they feel content in your presence – similar to what happens when human babies kiss their mothers’ cheeks!
Border collies bond intensely with their owners. If your dog licks you while keeping its body lowered, it’s a sign that they are acknowledging you as dominant to them but in a loving way..
Stress or anxiousness in your Border Collie
Collies are known for being extremely affectionate and loyal, but they also have a unique way of showing their love. If you notice your Collie starts excessively licking or spending time with his tongue hanging out after an absence from you then he might be suffering from anxiety due to separation!
Collies are pack animals and form such a close connection to their owners that they may feel neglected or abandoned if they have long periods alone. If your collie is showing urgency for you when returning home, chances are just craving some interaction with their favorite human!
A Bored or Hungry Border Collie
Your dog is telling you they are hungry. This stems from their wild dog ancestors and being pack animals, where pups would lick their mother to encourage her and get more food. If your collie is excessively licking their food bowl (even after being fed) this could be a sign they’re still hungry! They may be licking because they are thirsty so make sure their water bowls are kept topped up.
Border Collies are lively, high-energy dogs, often the Pack Leader. If they don’t get enough exercise or mental stimulation their minds can wander into some heavy-duty licking. If they start licking random things like your walls, floors or furniture – this is a likely sign of them being bored and needing some mental stimulation. Then, it’s time for a walk or some dog training to get them stimulated and focused on something entirely different.
Wanting your attention
Your Border Collie can learn to use licking as a response for any number of things. They might have found that barking or whining doesn’t draw the attention they want, but licks do better than either one!
As Border Collies are considered some of the smartest of the dog breeds, if they realize that licking gets your attention, they’ll keep on coming back to that to gain your attention.
If your Border Collie is licking their fur a lot, particularly if you have an allergy-prone breed such as the Collie, then this could be a sign of some allergies. The excessive licks may also indicate skin conditions including dermatitis and food sensitivities which cause your Border Collie to lick as they are uncomfortable.
If they have any open wounds, then excessive licking might be something your Border Collie does to soothe themselves, rather than allergies. If the licking is causing them to have raw or bleeding patches on their skin, then it’s time for a trip to the vet because your dog could be suffering from an issue that requires medical attention.
Seeking sensory input
As Border Collies don’t have hands, one of their primary ways to interact with the world around them is through licking. Licking could be seen as reaching out and touching something; this act gains new information about an object or person through physical contact.
Dogs have surprisingly few taste buds when compared to humans – their tongues will have approximately 1700 taste buds versus our 9000. Excessive licking may enable them to understand further about what they are licking, especially if they like the taste.
Why does my Border Collie lick their paw?
As a working breed, your Border Collie’s paws and joints go through a lot each day. Licking their paws could be used as a soother or a self massage in the same way that we rub our muscles when we’re in pain or aching. Licking of paws may also be a sign that your Border Collie is feeling anxious, especially if they have not been with their owner for a while.
Is it okay if my Border Collie licks my face?
Face licking behavior from all dogs goes back to when they were not domesticated – they would lick the mouths of the adult dogs to prompt the regurgitation of the food they had partially digested. Whilst this sounds super appetizing, it might be a reason why your Border Collie maintains that behavior and licks your face. It is unlikely, though, that you would return the favor in the same way that the adult dogs used to, with your partially digested food!
Some dogs do harbor certain germs and bacteria, so this might not be the most pleasant experience for a human. However, Border Collie saliva is unlikely to cause any problems. Vets recommend that you avoid letting your Border Collie lick your mouth, eyes, nose, and any open wounds as this may increase the chances of an infection or illness.
Some people prefer their dogs not to lick them, so distracting them with another behavior such as petting and rewarding for that will reinforce the dog choosing this form of affection instead. Just remember some Border Collies have a strong instinct to use their tongue; it may take time before you consistently get him redirected away from licks altogether.
Why does my Border Collie lick the floor?
Your collie is like a four-legged hoover. They will happily scour the carpet for any lost crumbs. On the other hand, if your carpet is super clean, they may be licking the carpet out of frustration or boredom. Border Collies require a lot of mental stimulation. As mentioned above, licking the floor may also be a sign of them suffering from separation anxiety so keep an eye out for this sort of behavior.
If you have been gone from your Border Collie for a long time, it might be that their tongue is reaching out to smell and touch you. This behavior can also be seen as a sign of affection so if he licks the floor after greeting you, this is likely due to genetics and how they were trained as a Border Collie puppy.
Is there an issue if my Border Collie is excessively licking?
It is difficult to define when licking becomes excessive. There are some likely scenarios however where excessive licking might be linked to a more significant problem.
If your Border Collie’s licking becomes inappropriate or they are constantly licking you, themselves, or other house objects – you should consider it might be one of the scenarios we mentioned above. Licking themselves too much could cause formation of sores on their skins. Excessive licking of the floor could be an indication that they are bored or unwell, so it is important to get them checked by a vet.
How do I stop my Border Collie from Licking?
The best way to stop your Collie licking is by identifying the cause. For example, if he does so when eating or resting then you can work on modifying those behaviors instead of trying to change what they are doing at other times like playtime. Monitoring whether this obsessive licking behavior happens at a certain time of day or for certain periods of time would be a good idea.
Try giving rewards for when he is not licking. This will reinforce the idea that constant licking of the floor at other times is undesirable and you should be able to notice if his actions change.
Border collies are some of the most intelligent dogs in existence, and it’s easy to see why with their ability to learn new tricks quickly. It may take some work on your part at first, but eventually, you’ll find that rewarding these creatures for doing what they know how can get pretty addicting – you can use this to train them from not licking excessively if it looks like it is becoming an issue. Your body language is important in letting them realise that the licking behavior is not ideal.
Do Border Collies lick more than other dog breeds?
Collies are generally considered a ‘licky’ breed. They love to lick their owners because unlike other dog breeds, Border Collies form such a deep and strong connection with their humans they will do anything to feel close to them, both physically and spiritually. Whilst many will not have a licking habit that verges on obsessive licking, Border Collies are ‘lickier’ than other breeds for sure.
If you feel your Border Collie is guilty of excessive licking, it’s worth monitoring the behavior to see if this becomes a habit as excessive licking may be an indication of some potential allergies or wounds that they’re nursing. However, in most cases where Border Collies lick their humans, there are other reasons for doing so such as showing affection and sometimes boredom! Make sure you can recognize these different types of licks and how they might change over time – and delve further if you think this might be a sign of them not being mentally stimulated enough or anxious.