why do golden retrievers lick so much

Why Do Golden Retrievers Lick So Much? Unraveling the Habit

Have you ever wondered why do golden retrievers lick so much? It’s quite a common behavior, but why do golden retrievers have this urge? Dive into the reasons behind the frequent licks!

The Licking Experts: Golden Retrievers

Golden retrievers are one of the world’s most beloved dog breeds, and it’s not hard to see why. These friendly, intelligent dogs have a lot to offer their owners, from their loyalty and affection to their playful energy and charming personalities. But there’s one behavior that golden retrievers are famous for that can be a little perplexing at times: licking. If you’ve ever owned a golden retriever, or spent any time around one, you know that these dogs love to lick. They’ll lick your face, your hands, your feet – pretty much anything they can get their tongues on. But why do they do it? Is it just a sign of affection or is there something more going on? At its most basic level, licking is simply a natural behavior for dogs. It’s something they do instinctively as part of their grooming routine – just like how cats groom themselves by licking their fur. In the wild, dogs will often lick each other as part of social bonding and grooming. So when your golden retriever licks you, it could simply be because they’re trying to take care of you in the same way. But there are also other reasons why golden retrievers might lick. For example, some experts believe that licking serves as a way for dogs to show submission or respect. If you’ve ever seen two dogs meeting for the first time and one starts licking the other’s face, this could be an example of this type of behavior. Another possible reason why golden retrievers might lick is because they’re seeking attention or affection from their owners. Dogs crave interaction with humans and are always looking for ways to connect with us emotionally. Licking can be seen as a way for them to communicate this desire – especially if they’ve been rewarded with attention in the past when doing so. So while there isn’t necessarily one single explanation for why golden retrievers lick so much, it’s clear that this behavior has deeper roots than just a simple expression of love. In the next section, we’ll take a closer look at the different types of licking behavior in dogs and what they might signify.

Why do golden retrievers lick?

Golden retrievers are known for their friendly and affectionate nature. One of the ways they show this affection is through licking. But why do they lick so much? Well, there are a few reasons.

Natural instinct for grooming and bonding

Licking is a natural behavior in dogs that stems from their instinct to groom themselves and others in their pack. When a mother dog licks her puppies, she is not only cleaning them but also strengthening the bond between them. Similarly, when a golden retriever licks its owner or another dog, it’s a way of bonding and showing affection.

Seeking attention or affection

Golden retrievers are social animals that thrive on attention and love from their humans. They often use licking as a way to get attention or show their owners how much they care. If your golden retriever is constantly licking you or following you around, it’s likely because they want your attention and affection.

Showing submission or respect

In addition to bonding and seeking attention, another reason why golden retrievers lick is to show submission or respect. When one dog licks another’s face, it’s a sign of deference and respect for the other dog’s dominance in the pack hierarchy. Similarly, if your golden retriever licks your face when you come home, it’s a way of showing that they recognize you as the leader of the pack. Overall, there are several reasons why golden retrievers lick so much – from natural instincts for grooming and bonding to seeking attention or showing submission. So next time your furry friend starts licking you excessively, remember that it may just be their way of showing love and affection!

Understanding the Different Types of Licking Behavior

Golden retrievers are known for their affectionate and friendly disposition, and licking is one of the many ways they show it. However, not all licking behavior is the same. Understanding the different types of licking behavior can help you better communicate with your furry friend and address any potential issues.

Social Licking

Social licking is a form of communication between dogs. This can include greeting each other with licks on the face or body, as well as bonding and appeasement behaviors. It’s a way for dogs to show respect for their pack leader or demonstrate submissiveness to other dogs. When it comes to humans, social licking can be a sign of affection and bonding between pet and owner. If your golden retriever approaches you with a few licks on your hand or face, it’s likely that they’re seeking attention or showing gratitude.

Anxiety Licking

Dogs often lick themselves or objects around them when they’re feeling anxious or stressed. This behavior is known as anxiety licking or self-soothing and can be triggered by various factors such as separation anxiety, loud noises, changes in routine, or being in an unfamiliar environment. If you notice that your golden retriever is excessively licking themselves or certain objects despite having no medical reasons to do so, it may be a sign that they’re feeling anxious. In such cases, it’s important to identify what might be causing their anxiety and provide them with appropriate support.

Medical Reasons

Sometimes excessive licking can also be attributed to underlying medical issues such as skin irritation, allergies, infections, or even digestive problems. Dogs may compulsively lick certain areas of their body if they’re experiencing itching or discomfort due to allergies. If you notice persistent excessive licking behavior in your golden retriever despite providing adequate training and stimuli, it’s important to rule out any potential medical issues. A visit to the vet can help identify and address any underlying health problems.


Licking is a natural behavior for dogs, but it’s important to understand the different types of licking behavior and what they might mean. Social licking is a way for dogs to communicate and bond with each other and their owners, while anxiety licking may be an indication that your pup needs additional support. Medical reasons should also be ruled out if excessive licking persists. By understanding your golden retriever’s licking behavior, you can better connect with them and provide the care they need. Remember to keep a watchful eye on your furry friend’s behavior and don’t hesitate to seek professional help if necessary.

How to manage excessive licking behavior

Training techniques to redirect behavior

If you’ve identified that your golden retriever’s licking is becoming excessive, it may be time to redirect their behavior. One option is to train them with positive reinforcement techniques. When you notice your dog starting to lick excessively, gently but firmly redirect their attention using a command such as “sit” or “stay.” Once they obey, reward them with praise and treats. Over time, this will help break the habit of excessive licking. Another training technique is to create a “licking boundary” for your dog. This involves placing a visual or physical cue (such as tape on furniture) that signals to your dog not to lick in that area. If they do start licking, use the redirection technique mentioned above.

Identifying and addressing underlying medical issues

Excessive licking can also be a sign of an underlying medical issue. If you’ve tried redirecting their behavior and it’s not working, consult with your veterinarian. They can examine your dog for skin irritations or allergies that may be causing discomfort and leading to excessive licking. They can also check for any other medical issues that may be contributing to the problem. If an underlying medical issue is discovered, follow your veterinarian’s recommended treatment plan. This could include medication for allergies or skin irritations, behavioral therapy, or other treatments depending on the root cause of the problem.

Providing mental and physical stimulation

Golden retrievers are known for their high energy levels and need for mental and physical stimulation. Without enough stimulation, they may resort to excessive licking as a way of self-soothing or relieving stress. To combat this issue, try providing more opportunities for exercise such as daily walks or trips to the park. You can also provide interactive toys such as puzzle feeders that require mental stimulation. This can help keep your dog entertained and mentally stimulated, reducing the likelihood of excessive licking. Another option is to provide more opportunities for social interaction. Golden retrievers are highly social dogs and thrive on interaction with their owners and other people or animals. Consider enrolling them in obedience training or taking them to a dog park to play with other dogs. Excessive licking in golden retrievers can be managed through training techniques, identifying underlying medical issues, and providing mental and physical stimulation. By understanding the root cause of this behavior and taking steps to address it, you can improve your dog’s quality of life while also keeping your furniture free from slobber!

Fun Facts About Golden Retrievers and Their Love for Licking

Golden retrievers are known for their love of water, and it’s no surprise that they often lick themselves dry after a swim. This breed was originally bred in Scotland to retrieve game birds from water, so their affinity for swimming and water-related activities is ingrained in their DNA. Not only do they enjoy the sensation of being in the water, but they also love to lick themselves dry as a way to clean off any excess dirt or debris that may have accumulated during their swim. Another interesting fact about golden retrievers is that they have an incredibly strong sense of smell. In fact, it’s estimated that dogs in general have a sense of smell that is over 10,000 times stronger than humans! Golden retrievers use their tongues not only as a way to taste food but also to gather information about the world around them. They often lick objects or surfaces to get a better sense of what they are interacting with and to gather information about other animals or people. Licking can also be a sign of happiness and contentment in dogs. When your golden retriever licks you or another person, it can be interpreted as a sign of affection because licking releases endorphins which help promote feelings of relaxation and happiness. Additionally, when your dog licks you after being apart for some time, it may be an indication that they missed you while you were gone. Overall, the licking behavior displayed by golden retrievers can tell us quite a bit about these lovable dogs. From their natural love for water-related activities to their keen sense of smell and ability to gather information through licking objects around them – it’s no wonder why this breed has become one of the most popular in America today!


After delving into the reasons behind why golden retrievers lick so much, we can conclude that it is a natural and instinctive behavior for these friendly dogs. Whether they’re seeking attention, showing affection, or self-soothing, licking plays an important role in their lives. It’s essential to understand the different types of licking behavior so that we can appropriately manage excessive licking in our furry friends. Training techniques like redirecting with toys or treats and providing mental and physical stimulation are effective methods for managing excessive licking. If you notice your golden retriever excessively licking themselves or objects around them, it could signal an underlying medical issue. Always consult with your veterinarian if you suspect any medical problems. Overall, understanding why golden retrievers lick will lead to a better relationship between owner and dog. As owners, we can provide the necessary attention and care to ensure our furry friends are happy and healthy companions. So next time your pup greets you with a wet kiss, embrace it as their way of showing love and affection towards you!

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