If your Maltipoo is a big licker and your face is often the target, you’ll likely either find it flattering or just plain baffling. It’s normal for dogs to lick, but what if your Maltipoo is doing it excessively? It could be that your Maltipoo simply thinks the world of you and wants you to know, but dogs sometimes lick their humans to communicate other feelings.
Let’s dive into the reasons your Maltipoo might be licking you so much and how to stop them from doing this if it’s not really your thing.
The 8 Reasons Why Your Maltipoo Licks You So Much
It’s quite common for dogs to lick you to let you know they love you or as a friendly greeting. If your Maltipoo is licking you an awful lot while wagging their tail, showing a “happy” or “smiley” expression, jumping up at you, or wiggling their body (signs of contentment in dogs), it might be because they’re just really excited to see you.
Your Maltipoo may also lick you when you pet them as a way of communicating that they’re happy to receive the attention and happy in your presence. Licking can also be a sign of submission and respect.
Since dogs have such a powerful sense of smell—more specifically, between 10,000 and 100,000 times better than a human’s—your Maltipoo might be licking you like crazy because you’ve just eaten something tasty, and they can smell food on your face and hands.
According to Dr. Mary Burch (animal behaviorist), dogs may also lick you after exercise because sweating causes the skin to become salty.
Experts have explained that puppies lick their mother’s lips to get them to regurgitate food that they can then consume themselves1. So, as gross as it sounds, if your dog is licking your face, it’s possible that they’re trying to get you to do the same!
It’s normal for dogs to lick things out of curiosity as a means of understanding more about the animal, person, or object. If your Maltipoo licks you a lot, it might be that they’re trying to get information about you to get to know you better—it’s a form of exploration.
If your Maltipoo is due a feed or a nice, long walk in the park, they may lick you to nudge you into action. They may also just want to play or are asking you to pet or cuddle them.
Dogs sometimes lick excessively when they’re feeling stressed, anxious, or bored—it’s a way for them to release their pent-up energy and/or seek comfort from you.
Other symptoms of canine anxiety to watch out for include going to the bathroom inside the house, destructive behavior, restlessness, drooling, panting, barking or vocalizing excessively, and compulsive behaviors among other things. In some cases, dogs with anxiety can become compulsive lickers—this is a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
It’s possible that if your dog is stressed out due to a health issue or injury that’s causing them pain or discomfort, they might lick you as a way of seeking comfort and/or signal to you that there’s a problem.
Dogs are very in tune with our emotions and may lick you as a way of empathizing with you or comforting you when you’re sad. One study asked participants to pretend to cry to gauge dogs’ responses. It was found that dogs are more likely to nuzzle and lick people who are crying than they are people who are humming or talking. The study did note, however, that this might simply be learned behavior.
How To Stop Your Maltipoo from Licking You
We all love our dogs, but for some people, receiving love in the form of big slobbery licks just isn’t their cup of tea. If this sounds like you, here are some things you can try to stop the licking.
In short, dogs lick to communicate emotions and send signals to their owners. Your Maltipoo could be licking you as a means of showing affection, excitement, contentment, or respect, but they could also be licking you to signal that they’re not feeling well or are bored, stressed, or anxious.
If you’re concerned about your Maltipoo’s excessive licking or are having trouble getting them to stop, please consult your vet for advice.
Featured Image Credit: Olga Moreira, Shutterstock