We all have our own pet peeves.
Whether it’s someone who keeps their shoes on in the house or those who constantly use the word “like” when they talk, we can all relate.
But what about your dog?
If you’ve ever seen them lick the furniture, do you know why?
Or even if you don’t see them, do you still wonder if there is some reason behind it?
Reasons Why Dogs Lick
There are many reasons why dogs lick and here are a few of them.
1. They Are Bored
Whether it’s the dryness of the wood, the coldness of the flooring, or the lack of stimulation, dogs tend to get bored easily.
It’s common for them to do this as they try to keep themselves busy while waiting for their owners to return home.
If they feel that they are being left alone too long, they will often start to lick the furniture around them.
2. They Like The Taste
Dogs love to chew on things.
This is particularly true of bones which they can break into pieces and suck out the marrow from.
However, sometimes they might also like the taste of certain types of food.
This is especially true of fish heads.
They might not actually like the taste but they do enjoy chewing on it and they’ll probably start licking the carpet if they aren’t careful.
3. They Want You To Know Something
Sometimes however, dogs will lick the furniture because they want you to know something.
They might be doing this so you’ll pay attention to them, or they might just be curious about what you’re up to.
Either way, they won’t necessarily be happy with you paying attention to them.
4. They Are Trying To Tell You Something
This could be anything.
Sometimes they might be telling you that they need to go outside, or they might want to go for a walk.
Other times they might be trying to tell you that they are tired or hungry.
Whatever the case, they might start licking the furniture in an attempt to get your attention.
But if they can’t reach you, they’ll start looking for another way to let you know that they need your help.
The History of Dogs Licking
It should come as no surprise that dogs are naturally curious creatures.
They love exploring new things and investigating everything around them.
It’s often said that a dog will never stop learning.
This is especially true for puppies, whose curiosity is at its peak during this time.
And so, when a puppy starts licking anything that catches their attention – whether it’s a toy, a chair, or even a piece of clothing – it’s natural for them to want to investigate further.
In fact, dogs are known to be among the most curious animals out there.
So much so that they are sometimes considered to be one of the smartest animals on the planet.
So, where did the idea of dogs licking the furniture originate from?
Dogs and Their Sense of Taste
Before we go further, let us first understand how dogs perceive taste.
It’s a little different than humans but not too far off the mark.
Dogs have receptors for sweet, bitter, salty, sour, and umami (savory) tastes.
They also have receptors for carbon dioxide (CO2), which helps detect whether a food is fresh or spoiled.
They also have receptors that help detect oxygen, which is important for detecting freshness of meat.
This is why it is recommended that you always keep your meats covered with plastic wrap or put them in an airtight container before storing them at room temperature.
So we now know what your dog perceives taste-wise.
But why would they lick your furniture?
How to Stop a Dog from Licking
When it comes to dogs and their sense of taste, this one is pretty straightforward.
They are animals with an extremely keen sense of smell and taste.
They can detect things that humans cannot in their food, water, and air.
So when they lick their paws after walking around the yard, they are probably just trying to get rid of any unwanted bugs or other scents.
But sometimes, this behavior can be more than just a sign of boredom.
Here’s how to stop your dog from licking the couch:
1. Be aware of your dog’s body language
If you notice that your dog is licking their paws while they are lying down, then chances are they are getting bored.
2. Take away any distractions
If your dog is used to playing outside and has nothing else to do but lay on the couch, then they may start licking it out of boredom.
3. Offer them something else to do
This could mean taking them for a walk or giving them a treat.
You can also try using a small toy to distract them.
4. If all else fails, consider medication
There are certain medications that can help decrease anxiety, which can lead to excessive licking.
However, keep in mind that these medications can cause side effects, so consult your vet before making any decisions.
5. Give them a place to sleep
Finally, if you want to eliminate the problem completely, give them a place to sleep where they won’t have access to the couch.
A crate will work wonders here. It should make them feel safe and secure, which will prevent them from licking the couch at all.
Why Some Dogs Lick More Than Others
Dogs, just like humans, have different personalities and preferences.
While some dogs love to jump up on people, others prefer to stay at home with you while the rest of the family goes out for dinner.
And while some dogs enjoy lounging around on the sofa, others need a little more stimulation.
So what does this mean for your dog?
Well, depending on how much time they spend laying on the couch, they could either be enjoying a relaxing time or they could be getting bored.
In fact, according to Dr.
Stephanie Houghton-Smith, DVM, a veterinarian who specializes in animal behavior, some dogs will often choose to lick the couch as a way to keep themselves entertained.
“Some dogs are very tactile and will want to play with things that they can touch.
They will also be interested in food, toys, and water bowls, so they might start licking the couch to get attention.”
However, other dogs may not feel comfortable lapping up liquids, which can make them uncomfortable and cause them to lick the carpet instead.
So should you let them?
Let’s take a look at some reasons why your dog might be licking the couch, and whether it’s worth letting them continue doing so.
The Benefits of Letting Your Dog Lick
While dogs aren’t known for being clean animals, they do enjoy a good bath and clean hair.
However, as pets, they also enjoy a little affection at times.
Some owners let their dogs lick them, which means that they will get the chance to smell nice while their fur gets cleaned up.
Doing so allows your dog to feel relaxed and comfortable, which leads to better health.
This is because they get to spend time with you and feel loved, while getting a quick cleaning session.
So, how does this benefit your dog?
1. It Relieves Stress
When your dog licks you, it signals a way for them to relax and release stress.
It could also mean that they are feeling uncomfortable or lonely.
While it’s not always easy to figure out what your dog is thinking, you should note any signs that they might need help.
If they seem stressed, offer them affection by giving them a treat or playing with them to calm them down.
2. It Helps Them Feel Comfortable
Dogs love to be around humans, but sometimes they can become overwhelmed and scared.
When they start licking, it helps them feel more secure and less anxious.
You can help them by spending more time with them, especially if they are having trouble sleeping or acting aggressive.
By doing so, they will be able to feel more relaxed and understand what you want from them.
3. They Can Learn What You Want From Them
Dogs are smart creatures.
They learn from their experiences and learn from us.
That’s why it’s important to take the time to teach them what you want from them.
In turn, your dog will be willing to give you the same respect.
With that said, it’s important for you to communicate with them clearly.
For example, if you don’t want them to jump up on the bed, make sure to tell them no before they try.
Otherwise, they may think they can do whatever they want and expect you to accept it without saying anything.
There are several possible reasons why your dog might be licking the sofa or other furniture.
Here are a few of them:
- They have an itch and want to get rid of it.
- They want to mark their territory.
- They are bored.
- They are trying to communicate with you.
Whatever the reason, it’s important that you understand why they are doing it so you can help them find a better way to express themselves.