Question: I just moved into my aunts house where she has this blue heeler. He loves to constantly come by and lick my legs. I was told maybe its the salt that we carry. He not only does it to me but everyone he can lick. Why does he do this?
Answer: Dogs are normally oral. They use their mouth to taste things, check out texture, carry stuff, pick things up, groom themselves, and love on you. Licking is equivalent to kissing, and some dogs are more affectionate than others.
Dogs particularly like salty things – like sweat – and lotions, soaps, perfumes, and oils. Coming out of the shower and staying clean and dry is always hard if your dog gets a whiff of you first. Chances are he’ll be all over you trying to lick the soap, water, oil, lotion or what have you.
Licking his own body parts could be part of his grooming, or trying to cure an affliction, but it can also mean love or submission.
You’ll notice that a more dominant dog – or even a person – will put a dog in his place by yelling or growling, and the dog will respond by submitting, cowering, and trying to lick the muzzle of the aggressor.
The cause for licking, as you see, varies, but if the licking bothers you, you can always train your dog not to lick. Keep in mind though that if it’s a sign of affection, you’ll have to allow him some outlet like sitting close to you, jumping up to you (that’s like a hug), etc. so you don’t turn him away completely. A dog that is just trying to be nice or is super submissive could have much worse habits like urinating every time he sees you!