Why Do Flat Coated Retrievers Lick So Much?

by Jennifer Nelson

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You have made the decision to bring a Flat-Coated retriever home to be your new pet. This is a great decision as this dog is friendly and a lot of fun to have around the home.

But there is one habit that this breed can start to have, which can make it a little bit annoying. 

While a little licking is not a big deal, it is possible that your Flat-Coated retriever will start to lick too much and you may wonder why they are doing this. 

Why Do Flat Coated Retrievers Lick So Much?

Excessive licking in a Flat-Coated retriever is either a behavioral quirk or a sign of a health issue. Behaviorally, they may lick the people and objects around them to comfort themselves or as a social signal indicating dominance or possessiveness. They may also have a health issue like an allergy.

There are a lot of different reasons that the dog is going to lick and understanding why the dog is behaving in this manner will help you to get rid of the behavior when it starts to happen too much. 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons that your Flat-Coated retriever is licking so much. 

Why Do Flat Coated Retrievers Lick So Much?

Some dogs tend to lick more than others, and you may start to notice this kind of behavior right after you bring them home. 

It is important to teach the dog the behaviors that you see as appropriate for the dog, or they will continue with the licking. 

And while you may not mind this behavior a little bit, it can quickly become a problem if you are not careful with it. 

There are a number of reasons why your Flat-Coated retriever is licking so much. 

Some of these include:

They Have Behavioral Issues

Many times a problem with licking for your Flat-Coated retriever is going to happen when there is a behavioral problem that the owner needs to work with.

If the dog does not seem to favor licking just one thing and they will lick everything, this points to the problem being a compulsive habit or bad behavior.

This habit is not something that occurred overnight and it is going to take some work on the part of the owner to get it to stop. 

You need to notice that if your dog licks everything, they have been doing this for some time and it may now be one of their main ways to communicate with you. 

Some dogs will decide to lick out of boredom. 

If this is the case, you can keep the dog busy with games and exercise to help prevent them from licking as much anymore. 

Taking them on a few walks a day, playing fetch, grooming them, and doing some training projects can keep the dog from getting barred during the day and will avoid them from licking or destroying any of the other items around your home. 

If you find that there are some other behavioral issues with the dog, you need to work on training them to get it to stop.

It is good to talk to the vet ahead of time. They will be able to do a checkup on the dog to see if there are any underlying causes of the licking that you need to work on. 

If not, then it is a good idea to give the dog some training to get the licking to stop. 

They Have Health Issues

It is possible that your dog has a health issue, especially if they tend to lick at everything

It is often a sign that the dog has a gastrointestinal problem or an infection. 

If you do not think that the issue is tied back to a problem with their behavior, you need to take the dog back to the vet to see if there is another problem that could be addressed with some medicine or another option along the way. 

If you decide to ignore the licking behavior, it is only going to get worse.

It can lead to some issues with self-trauma, a secondary infection, or some destructive behaviors that you do not want to see with your dog. 

If you are worried that the dog has an infection or there is another problem that is causing all of the licking, you will need to discuss the problem with their vet to make sure they get the care that they need. 

Why Does My Flat-Coated Retriever Lick a Specific Thing?

There are times when the dog is going to decide to lick specific things that entice them, rather than licking everything that is around them. 

Some of the reasons that your dog is licking a specific item include:

They Lick People

It is most common that the dog is going to lick other people. 

They may take their natural inclination to groom and lick themselves and start to use it on their own owners. 

They like you as one of their favorite people in the world so they may do it as a way to show respect or love. 

This can get annoying quickly, especially if the dog finds a few crumbs of food on you and decides to keep licking, even when you ask them to stop. 

Your dog can also find that you have a bit of salty taste on the skin from your sweat, and this will entice them to keep on licking. 

They may also know that licking their owners is enough to get the attention that they need, so they will continue with this. 

You will need to distract them and do some training to make sure that they stop with this too. 

They Lick the Air

Some dogs are going to lick at the air because they are preparing for a new treat or a meal.

If it only happens on occasion, it is a sign that the dog is excited about a meal and there is nothing wrong. 

However, this can turn into excessive licking and may be more of a compulsive disorder. 

If you have not had the pet recently evaluated by the vet, it may be time for a physical exam.

Bring up this problem so that the vet has a chance to check whether this is a condition that they need to worry about or not. 

They Lick Furniture

Although it may seem a little gross to some people, the dog could go after the sweat that is left behind from the owners or any food that is left on the furniture. 

Dogs may lick at some of your furniture to help explore some of their surroundings and to survey to see if there is something new for them to lick and enjoy. 

To help prevent this from happening, take the time to train your Flat-Coated retriever so they know that licking is not allowed and keep the furniture as cleaned off as possible. 

They Lick the Flooring

It is possible that your dog is going to lick at the carpet or other flooring. 

This can be done on occasion to clean up a mess, but it could lead to some destructive behavior where the dog is destroying or eating things. This licking can turn into a compulsive habit. 

To prevent this from happening, you will need to distract your dog when they start to lick at the flooring and make sure that the floor is clear of any food that would attract the dog to take a lick in the first place. 

They Lick Their Toys

You may notice that your dog starts to lick their toys all the time. 

If there is a tasty covering on the toys, this may be the main reason that the dog is licking the toy. 

It is more likely that the dog is going to lick the toy because it provides a soothing sensation, especially if they lost a toy and finally got it back. Finding comfort in a familiar toy and their surroundings can help the dog feel calmer than before. 

You can let them have some time to lick their toys to make sure that they get some of the comfort that they need. 

Understanding Why Your Flat-Coated Retriever Licks Items

There are different reasons why the Flat-Coated retriever is going to lick everything around them. 

Sometimes it is a single item that they will try to lick and other times it can be everything that they will want to lick. 

Understanding what causes them to lick the items around them and learning how to prevent this when it tends to get obsessive can make it much easier to live with your Flat-Coated retriever in the home. 

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