You’re cozied up on the couch, dog at your feet, a good book in your hands, and then a wet tongue rakes across your toes. Bleh. Why on Earth does your dog think this is a good idea? You love your dog, but you also love dry feet. You want to nudge them off the couch so they’ll stop, but you also love their companionship. You’re in a pickle.
We feel you. We’ll explain why dogs lick feet and how you can lovingly get them to stop. Cough. Some dogs might not stop, but we’ll give you some tips to ward off the licky tongue and show love to your dog in return.
Why Do Dogs Like to Lick Feet?
Dogs have a sensory organ called Jacobson’s organ that connects the roof of the mouth to the nasal cavity, allowing your dog to taste and smell simultaneously. This provides a wealth of information for your dog.
It also encourages them to use their tongue to communicate. Dogs lick to show:
So if your toes are inviting them to taste a sensory explosion while getting your attention, that’s a twofer.
Even the cleanest feet are a smorgasbord of pheromones that communicate biological information to your dog. And let’s be honest, dogs can be gross occasionally and love a sweaty, stinky, salty foot. It’s delicious to the taste. After your spin class, who can blame them?
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Is it Okay to Let Your Dog Lick Your Feet?
If you’re into it, then to each their own. But if your dog’s licking becomes a bit compulsive or excessive, you may want to have them stop because it can be an attention-seeking behavior or behavioral problem. Occasional licks? Fine. Constant licks? You may want to help your dog get its foot fetish under control.
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How To Stop Your Dog From Licking Your Feet?
Naturally, having your foot involuntarily licked may cause a compulsive reaction to kick at whatever is licking your toes. Fight that urge. Your dog isn’t trying to annoy or gross you out. And you should punish them with a kick to the face for trying to love you.
Instead, you’ll want to use positive reinforcement training techniques to train your dog not to lick feet:
Any reaction, unfortunately, will turn feet licking into a game that gets them attention. So this method will take a lot of willpower. You’ll want to ignore the behavior other than giving the command, “No Licking.” Then you’ll want to walk away from the dog so that they learn that licking your feet gets an isolating result.
Then if your dog goes to lick your feet later, try to give the command before their tongue reaches your toes. If your dog stops, reward them with praise or a treat. Be patient and consistent. Eventually, they will learn to stop.
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Offer a Favorite Toy or Treat
If your dog goes to lick your feet, give the command, “No Licking.” Then offer your dog a favorite toy or treat to occupy their mouth. Your dog will then learn to stop the behavior when they hear the command with not licking. If your dog stops licking before its tongue reaches your feet, be sure to praise them with lots of love.
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Wear Shoes or Socks
The best defense is a shoe or a sock. The dog can’t get to your feet if it can’t see them. It’s an out of sight, out of mind strategy. Sure, it’s a bit obvious, but also, it works. If you prefer to be barefoot, suffer in silence.
Call Your Vet or Trainer
Yes, this is a bit of a cop-out, but also legit. If you’ve tried all the tips and your dog still has a hankering for sweaty, salty toes, then you’ll want to talk to your vet or dog trainer. They may have some other strategies you can try to curb the feet licking.
Why is My Dog Obsessed with My Feet?
If you have an obsessive foot-licking dog, there could be some contributing factors:
- Your feet are particularly smelly and tasty to your dog.
- Your reaction when they lick your toes is very entertaining and becomes a game.
- Your dog may see your feet as prey or a toy.
- Your dog needs your attention, and they know licking your feet gets an instant response.
If it is a constant problem, you may want to call your vet or trainer right from the get-go. This may be a tougher habit to break, and you’ll need the help of an expert.
Whether you decide to fight or embrace your dog’s foot fetish is a personal choice. If you choose to stop your dog from licking your feet, just remember to use positive reinforcement strategies and never physically hurt your dog for giving you love.
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