Borders and Licking
Why do dogs, including Border Terriers, lick?
Your dog licking you, especially on your face and mouth can easily be thought of as a loveable kiss from our affectionate Border Terriers. This is true as licking releases endorphins to the dog which can act as a form of comfort and calming mechanism for them so in a way if is a form of affection.
But there can also be many other reasons for licking....
As soon as a puppy is born it's mother instinctively licks them to clean them and stimulate them to help them breathe and also to bond. This means dogs are familiar with licking from the beginning of their lives.
An obvious reason is also for taste, the dog likes the taste of your face, it will have a salty taste and if you have just eaten there may be a crumb or two to snaffle too!
Licking could also be a sign your dog is trying to tell you something. It could be that their water bowl is empty or they want to go outside, they may be licking to try to pass you a message.
If your dog has injured themselves they may also be licking to encourage a wound to heal. A dogs saliva is extraordinary as it contains enzymes. These enzymes can kill bacteria and help wounds to heal naturally and germ free.
Dogs do like to keep themselves clean and they do this by licking to groom themselves, they may have a little mud stuck in their paw pad or on their fur, licking, not jumping in the bath like we would, keeps them clean. Just be aware that this licking can become obsessive and in excessive cases can cause sore patches.
If a dog is anxious or stressed licking can, again, be a source of comfort but in this case some help from a professional would be best to discourage the licking and to help the dog feel better about what is causing the anxiety and stress in the first place.
If you do not want your dog to greet you by licking your face when you come home for example, as with all behaviours you do not want, to discourage this, each time your dog starts to lick, move away and ignore the behaviour.
Ignore behaviour you don't want and reward the behaviour you do with treats or play or a favourite toy.