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Why Does My Golden Retriever Lick Me So Much? The Interesting Answer!

You might be a dog lover, but are you a fan of all the kisses you get? Some people don’t mind a bit, while others find it pretty irritating. If you have a Golden Retriever, you already have a dog that just loves you so much. One way that your dog might communicate with you is by licking.

So we’ll go over why your dog might be licking you and even themselves. You probably have guessed some of these already, but we’re going to additionally address when licking might even signal a problem. As an owner, knowing what to look out for is always excellent. So here we go!

divider-paw4 Reasons for Licking

You can probably guess most of the reasons why your dog might be licking you. But hopefully, this helps you put your finger up once and for all!

1. Attention

a beautiful girl with golden retriever in a park
Image Credit: Standret, Shutterstock

Your Golden might be trying to score some attention. After all, you’re probably not giving them enough for their liking, and they feel very left out, right? If that’s the case, they might need you, lick you, and do just about anything to grab your attention.

We all know that some golden retrievers can be big-time attention hogs. You might notice your Golden Retriever licking you a lot more if they have another canine or feline around that’s hogging attention.

Yes, this is normal competition. If it is an issue, you can try behavioral tactics to calm the situation.

2. Affection

Licking is one of the ways dogs say, “I love you.” If your Golden Retriever is giving you lots of kisses, they’re probably trying to show you some affection. And, if they’re licking you more than anybody else, you can smile and know you were the favorite.

Often, this is comparable to us petting them out of love. They’re trying to return the favor.

3. Taste

golden retriever dogs lying on the floor
Image Credit: Tatyana Vyc, Shutterstock

Did you know that our bodies excrete many pheromones and other signals that dogs can smell but can’t? Our dogs learn several things about us based on smell alone.

Taste and smell are two ways your dog picks up on the cues around them, learning more about their environment. If your dog is licking you, they might enjoy the salt on your skin or simply the smells you excrete. Maybe that’s gross to us, but they totally welcome it.

4. Grooming

If you’ve ever noticed how dogs behave in the wild, then you’ll know that they lick each other to groom one another. This is a bonding practice in the wild, mainly between a mother and her pups. The same extends to your canine companion.

They might be licking you as a form of grooming, strengthening their connection to you. Obviously, you shower on your own and might not enjoy the extra bath, but they are definitely willing to give you extra cleaning.

divider-dog pawWhen Is Licking a Concern?

Licking is usually nothing to worry about. It’s incredibly normal dog behavior; some do it much more than others. It really just depends on the individual. But if the behavior is sudden or it seems like one of many additional symptoms are noticed, an underlying factor could be more serious.

Golden retriever puppy playing and bite owner hand
Image Credit: Damix, Shutterstock


Usually, licking is a very ordinary dog behavior, so how do you know if it’s a problem? Some Golden Retrievers can be a bit more neurotic than others. If your dog has high anxiety, licking might be a coping mechanism or compulsive behavior. Usually, this kind of anxiety can come with other indications as well.

Here are a few signs of canine anxiety:

  • Trembling
  • Pacing
  • Whining, whimpering
  • Destructive behavior
  • Separation anxiety

Health Conditions

Another reason that your dog might be having issues is that there could be an underlying medical condition. Excessive licking is often a sign of pain or discomfort. And if something medical is the underlying reason causing frequent licking, it might be time to schedule a vet appointment to see if your vet can look them over.

So if you noticed that your dog is licking itself incessantly, it might be time to make a vet appointment to get down to the bottom of it. It could be something as simple as allergies or something as serious as a chronic health condition.

If you are worried about your dog’s behavior or if there’s any sudden change in the way that they act, it’s time for testing. The earlier you catch any underlying health issue, the more likely you can solve it.

Golden Retriever licking nose while walking in snow
Image Credit: In Green, Shutterstock

Teaching Your Dog Not to Lick

Teaching your dog not to lick can be really challenging. After all, this is a very typical form of communication for them. But there are some cases where it can be pretty excessive and invasive. It’s understandable to want to ward off these kinds of kisses.

After all, your dog’s mouth can contain many germs you don’t want in sensitive areas like your eyes, nose, ears, or mouth. Rather than any negative association, like yelling or spanking, you can simply redirect your dog’s attention or teach them basic commands.

Working with your Golden Retriever shouldn’t take very long for them to learn proper manners. There is a time and place for everything, and this particular dog breed knows it quite well.


So now you know several reasons your Golden Retriever might be licking you. One of the most common reasons is affection, but it can really stem from any kind of stimulation. It might be gross to think that when you’ve been out sweating all day, your Golden Retriever wants to lick the salty residue from your skin, but they agree to disagree. You can redirect the behavior with basic command training if the licking is a problem. If you notice that this might cause any underlying health condition, make sure to make an appointment with your veterinarian for further evaluation.

Featured Image Credit: archimede, Shutterstock

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