Dogs groom their owners’ hair to show their affection. It is also a way for animals to tell you that they consider you a part of their pack. Other than these, dogs groom their owners when they feel stressed or simply bored. Sometimes dogs groom owners’ hair because they like the taste of it.
Before I had my own dog, I went to a friend’s house who recently adopted an adorable Jack Russell Terrier. At one point, the dog began licking his hair, and it was funny to watch. But I experienced the same thing after I had my Bruno. Which made me wonder: why does my dog groom my hair?
Dogs can lick their owners’ hair or groom them for various reasons. It is best to know the reasons behind this action so that you can tell if there is any abnormality.
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Why Does My Dog Groom My Hair?
Dogs grooming humans is not uncommon behavior. But they are not always a good sign. Here is a detailed explanation of why your dog grooms your hair.
1. The Dog Likes The Taste
Dogs like to lick on anything salty. So, if you are sweating or just got inside the home after a long walk or run, the dog is licking you to taste the salty sweat. But some dogs lick their owners’ hair after they walk out of the shower. Man, it is tough to keep up with a dog’s mood.
2. To Destress You
You may notice that animals like cats and dogs lick themselves a lot when stressed. They can sense that emotion in their human friends as well. So when they lick you, it means the dogs want you to get calm and relaxed. Well, it sounds like you no longer need a spa day to ease the stress.
3. Show Of Affection
Animals always show love and affection by licking, whether it’s another animal of their kind or a human. Licking is a part of sharing the beautiful bond between that human and the dog. But how do you know if it’s an affectionate licking? Let’s say you only have to feel it.
4. Emotional Support/Healing
Anyone who goes through a rough time knows what it’s like to have a furry friend at a time like that. Dogs are wonderful creatures and helpful as emotional support. They see you in pain and cuddle and lick you to send a positive vibe to help you heal.
Dogs have a natural submissive behavioral tendency toward the leader of the pack. And as an owner provides the dog with food and shelter, the dog considers the human a pack leader. So your dog might be showing a sign of submission by licking you.
6. Wants Attention
If you are ignoring your fur buddy for some time, it is time to get up and give some attention. The dog might be licking your hair as a way to tell you to play with it or give it its favorite toy. If you haven’t fed the dog for a while, maybe it is time to fill the bowls.
The lack of activities can make the dog groom you. If the dog is not getting enough game time or walking, it will become boring. So grooming you becomes its way to keep itself stimulated.
Dogs do not lick for your stress only. Sometimes, they groom you excessively if they are going through something or are stressed. If you notice your dog licking you more when you are about to go out, or there is a loud noise around, that could be the reason behind it.
9. Health Issue
If the dog is not getting enough nutrition or has any health issues, it will lick your hair. Aging dogs tend to do it more than younger ones. An ill dog often licks hair because their disease makes them want to lick random things.
How To Prevent Dogs From Grooming You Excessively?
So, is there a way to prevent or stop your dog from grooming you excessively? Yes, there are several ways to do that, and here they are.
- If your dog is licking you more than usual, just get up and leave the room. Ignoring the dog at the time will let your dog know that you did not like it.
- Train your dog not to lick you. Push your dog away when it comes to licking or use a clicker to discourage them.
- Try to divert your dog’s attention toward something else, like a toy or chewing stick.
- If you think boredom is the issue, take your dog out for a walk.
- And if it looks like the dog is stressed, pet him or her.
Frequently Asked Question
Q. Should I let my dog groom me?
There is no harm in letting your dog groom you sometimes or several times a day. But excessive licking is never good for both you and your dogs. Because dog saliva contains bacteria, too much licking can spread the bacteria and cause illness.
Q. Why does my dog push his head onto me?
It may look like the head, but the truth is, the dog is pushing its nose onto you. Dogs have scent glands on their nose and facial area. So when they push their head onto you, they are actually spreading their scents onto you to mark you as a pack member. In this way, they ensure other dogs stay away from you.
Q. Why does my dog lick hair off the floor?
Dogs usually lick their own hair or fur off the floor. They do it when they are stressed or nervous about something. It makes the dogs bite and pull their own hair and then lick it. Underlying diseases can also trigger such behavior.
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Animals cannot express everything like us. So they choose to lick hair or groom to say various things. If you are familiar with your dog’s typical behavior, you can spot the difference immediately and fix it. But if the behavior does not stop, it is best to consult a vet to check if there is an underlying cause.