When I Howl My Dog Licks Me?

Why Dogs Howl

Howling is a natural form of communication for dogs. Dogs howl to express various emotions and communicate with others.

According to the AKC, howling is a primitive behavior that dogs have inherited from their wolf ancestors, who howl to assemble the pack. Dogs often howl to express emotions like loneliness, excitement, seeking attention, or communicating their location.[1]

Dogs may howl when left alone as a cry for companionship. Some dogs howl when they hear certain high pitched sounds like sirens, music, or other dogs howling, as a way of communicating back.[2] Howling can also indicate distress, such as separation anxiety.

Overall, howling is a natural communication behavior for dogs that allows them to express themselves and connect with others.

Why Dogs Lick Humans

Dogs lick humans for a variety of reasons. One of the most common is as a sign of affection. Licking is a natural way for dogs to show care and connection. It likely stems from puppyhood when puppies would lick their mothers to ask for food or show submission. Many adult dogs continue to lick humans they love as a way to show affection, greeting, and bonding.

Another reason dogs lick is to gather information. A dog’s sense of taste and smell are very powerful. When dogs lick skin, they are able to pick up chemical signals about identity, emotional state, and overall health. Licking provides them with useful data about their human companion. It helps them learn more about someone they care about.

Overall, licking in dogs is a social behavior that allows them to show care, affection, and interest. It helps strengthen the bond between a dog and human (Why Does My Dog Lick Me?).

Licking as a Calming Signal

Dogs will often lick themselves or other dogs as a calming signal and self-soothing behavior. This is due to the fact that the act of licking releases endorphins in the brain which help to relieve stress and produce a calming effect [1]. When dogs are anxious, stressed, or fearful, licking helps them regulate their emotions and return to a more relaxed state.

Licking can also be a gesture designed to calm down another individual. When dogs lick each other’s faces or their owner’s hand or face, it often signals an intent to alleviate tension or worry. Puppies will lick their mother’s mouth to stimulate a regurgitation reflex and obtain food, so face licking between adult dogs taps into these instinctual calming associations from puppyhood. By licking each other in times of stress, dogs are communicating affection while also triggering the release of brain chemicals to induce calmness [2].

Overall, licking as a calming signal demonstrates the self-soothing nature of dogs and their ability to comfort each other through instinctual behaviors deeply rooted in their biology and early development.

Licking as a Response to Howling

When a dog howls, it can sometimes sound like the dog is in distress or anxious. As a result, your dog may respond to your howling by licking you as a calming signal and an attempt to reassure you. The licking is your dog’s way of communicating that everything is alright and there is no need for distress.

According to Canine Companions, licking is one of the main ways dogs try to calm and reassure each other, especially during stressful situations [1]. When you howl, your dog likely perceives it as a sign of anxiety or unease, even if you are just having fun. So their natural response is to try to comfort you by licking as a calming signal.

The licking is your dog’s attempt to soothe your perceived distress caused by the howling. It’s their way of communicating reassurance and trying to calm you down from the anxious state they believe the howling indicates. The intent is to stop the howling by providing a calming lick. So the licking behavior directly responds to and aims to cease the howling through reassurance and comfort.

Other Reasons for Licking

A dog may lick its human for reasons other than in response to howling. These include:

Interest/curiosity about sounds – Dogs have very sensitive hearing and may be intrigued by sounds their human makes, including singing or howling. The licking behavior may signify the dog’s interest and attempt to further investigate the sound.

Mimicry – Some dogs observe and imitate their human’s behaviors and sounds. Licking in response to howling could be the dog’s way of mimicking the vocalization.

Medical reasons like nausea – Excessive licking can sometimes indicate a medical issue like nausea or gastrointestinal discomfort. If accompanied by other symptoms like vomiting or changes in appetite, it’s a good idea to consult a veterinarian.

Overall, licking in response to human-initiated sounds is usually a sign of a dog’s affection, attention, and social bonding. But other causes like curiosity or illness should be ruled out if the licking seems excessive or out of the ordinary. Frequent two-way communication strengthens the human-canine bond.

Encouraging Positive Behavior

While howling and licking behaviors can sometimes become excessive, it’s important not to punish your dog for these natural canine behaviors. Instead, focus on encouraging positive alternatives and redirecting unwanted behavior.

When your dog licks you in response to your howling or singing, reward this with praise, pets, and treats. This positive reinforcement will encourage your dog to continue offering calming licks. Avoid scolding or punishing your dog for howling, as this may simply increase their stress. If excessive howling is an issue, distract and redirect your dog to another activity instead.

Overall, be patient and aim to strengthen your bond through positive communication. Reward the behaviors you want to see more of. Manage unwanted behavior by redirection rather than punishment. With time and consistency, you can shape your dog’s behavior in a humane and effective way.

For more tips on managing howling and licking, check out this helpful guide: https://www.petcoach.co/question/?id=97678

Discouraging Excessive Licking

While licking is a natural canine behavior, excessive or constant licking can become problematic. There are some tactics you can try to discourage overzealous licking:

Redirect with commands: If your dog starts licking you excessively, redirect their attention by asking them to sit, stay, or perform another simple command. Giving them something else to focus on can interrupt the behavior.

Identify and address causes: Stress, anxiety, boredom, and medical issues like allergies could drive excessive licking. Try to pinpoint the cause and take steps to address it, like more exercise or a vet visit.

Use deterrents if needed: For stubborn lickers, gently discourage the behavior by using pet-safe deterrents like bitter apple spray on your hands or clothing. This gives them an unpleasant taste cue to stop excessive licking.

With consistency and by addressing any underlying issues, you can curb problematic licking behaviors in a humane way. But be sure to still reward good behavior and reinforce the bond with your dog.

Discouraging Frequent Howling

Howling can become excessive and frequent due to underlying issues like separation anxiety. According to the ASPCA, “Punishment won’t resolve the anxiety that underlies most repetitive howling. If your dog howls when alone, he needs help learning to cope with this stress.”

Try using distraction techniques like food puzzles or chew toys when you leave to keep your dog occupied and less likely to vocalize. Providing background noise from the TV or radio can also help calm anxious pups. Anti-barking devices that emit high frequency sounds when barking occurs may deter some dogs from howling as well.

Ultimately, addressing the root cause of frequent howling through training, behavioral modification, or anti-anxiety medications may be needed. Consulting with a veterinary behaviorist can help determine the best approach for discouraging excessive vocalizations.

Strengthening Bond Through Communication

Howling and licking can help build understanding and strengthen the bond between dogs and their human companions. When a dog howls and their human howls back, it creates a shared emotional experience that meets the dog’s need for connection. According to one Reddit user, their dog seems to enjoy when they howl together, seeing it as similar to when wolves howl together as a pack for social bonding.

Licking in response to howling can also serve as a calming signal and indicate the dog is seeking reassurance. By providing this comfort through licking, the dog is building an emotional connection. Positive shared experiences like communicating through howling and offering affection through licking helps meet a dog’s needs and deepens the bond with their human.

Overall, howling together and sharing positive moments of connection through licking allows for mutual understanding. Meeting each other’s emotional needs builds trust and strengthens the relationship between dog and human.

When to Seek Help

While occasional howling and licking are normal canine behaviors, there are times to watch for signs that something more may be going on with your dog. Seek the advice of a veterinarian if your dog exhibits the following:

If your dog is exhibiting any of these symptoms frequently or to excess, consult your veterinarian. They can perform an exam and recommend treatment options to provide relief.

Scroll to Top