Why Do Boston Terriers Lick So Much? (& How To Stop Them)

There are few things as adorable as a Boston Terrier staring up at you with their big eyes and flat-faced smile, but the thing is, Boston Terriers are constantly staring at you and it is almost like you start to wonder if they have somehow morphed with your shadow.

Not only that – they lick! If you have spent more than an hour with a Boston Terrier, then you have probably asked yourself the following: Why do Boston Terriers lick so much? Let’s find out.

Why Do Boston Terriers Lick So Much?

Licking is not unique to Boston Terriers, but for some reason, Boston Terriers appear to be constantly licking something. It can often be your leg as you stand there trying to cook, and while it is kind of cute that your pup wants to spend time with you – having your leg full of dog slobber isn’t exactly ideal.

There are many explanations for your Boston Terrier’s excessive licking, and if you have ever been curious about the reason behind that non-stop moving tongue – you are about to find out everything you ever wanted to know about Boston Terriers and their licking habits. Let’s start by having a look at the potential reasons for licking.

Affection

Dogs lick when showing affection, something you might have noticed if you have ever observed the way dogs interact with other dogs. Moms lick their puppies, and dogs often lick each other in the corner of the mouth.

So, believe it or not, but your Boston might just think you’re the best person in the world, and use licking as a way of showing how much he (or she) loves you.

While this is an adorable idea, it doesn’t quite solve the inconvenience of being slobbered on 24/7, and you can always opt to get rid of this behavior with positive reinforcement training.

Distraction is one way to redirect your Boston Terrier’s licking. You can still spend time together without the slobber, and you can try holding onto a healthy chew for your Boston Terrier to work on! Holding it may help strengthen your bond, and make your Boston feel close to you without feeling the compulsive need to lick you.

Stress

Excessive licking could also be a sign of stress. A dog that is experiencing stress is likely to look for an outlet, and while some dogs resort to barking, digging, or chewing, it is not unusual for stress to present itself as excessive licking.

If your Boston Terrier has suddenly started licking more than usual, or if you know there has been some stress factors lately, such as a new addition to the family (dog or human), a new house, change in routine, or similar – stress could possibly be the explanation you have been so eager to find.

A stressed dog needs help, and it is recommended that you bring up the issue with your veterinarian, while also trying to reduce stress factors in the dog’s life. What can you do to make your Boston Terrier feel more relaxed and comfortable?

Boston Terriers are loving little dogs, but they also stress easily as they are very in tune with their owner’s emotions! Chances are you are feeling unsettled or stressed, and that your Boston Terrier is picking up on it. Sometimes, all it takes to reduce a dog’s sense of stress is to find ways to manage your own.

Discomfort

Pain or discomfort is another cause of licking, and if you start noticing your Boston Terriers licking a specific part of their bodies, it could be worth it to inspect that body part closer. Start by looking for any obvious signs of pain or discomfort, such as a cut, scrape, rash, tick, fleas, or something having gotten stuck to the dog.

If you can’t see anything and the dog continues to lick, consider an allergy! Allergies can cause excessive licking, but in these scenarios, the Boston Terrier will be licking himself and not you.

If the licking is focused on a specific area and if the dog has recently started doing it – try rinsing off your dog and drying him carefully, and especially if you have recently given your dog a bath as dogs can get itchy if you didn’t rinse out the shampoo properly.

Licking that has been going on for some time could also be allergy-related, but you will most likely be looking at a food allergy or an environmental allergy. Someone who suspects that their Boston Terrier may have allergies should make an appointment with a veterinarian to have it looked into.

Boredom

While licking can be a sweet way for your Boston Terrier to express love, it could also be a result of boredom. Destructive behaviors like excessive barking, digging up the backyard, howling, chewing on furniture, and more are all well-known for often being connected to boredom, but did you know that licking can also be boredom-related?

A dog that isn’t getting enough physical exercise or mental stimulation is going to try to find ways to entertain itself. Some dogs turn to chew on things, but others may not know how to properly channel their frustration and could end up licking. It could be licking their own body, or you, and neither is good if the cause is boredom.

Make sure your Boston Terrier gets walked every day, even if you have a big yard, as walking is an entirely different experience.

There are smells, sights, and experiences your Boston Terrier won’t get when cooped up in a yard, and you can take your pup on a “sniffari” – a slow walk where the dog is allowed to sniff as much as it wants.

Attention

Are you spending a lot of time in front of the computer or doing things unrelated to your dog? If so, pay special attention to when the licking tends to occur. Is it when you are busy doing something else? Your Boston Terrier might just be trying to get your attention so that you will put your phone down and pick up a ball instead.

Everyone who has ever had a Boston Terrier knows that they’re incredibly smart (even if they try to pretend they’re not sometimes, to get away with things), and regardless of what your reaction normally is when the licking starts – it fulfills its purpose by catching your attention.

Dogs know what they are doing, most of the time, and especially Boston Terriers.

Submission

There is some debate regarding this, but many experts believe that licking could also be a sign of submission. While the true alpha theory has been debunked, every pack tends to have a rank where some dogs lead and others generally follow.

Licking could be a sign that your Boston Terrier feels you are the leader of his pack, but you are most likely the best judge of this since no one knows your dog as you do.

Because You Taste Good

When it comes down to it, Boston Terriers are very simple creatures and they know perfectly well how to live in the moment. If your dog is continuously licking you, it could just be a sign that your skin tastes really good.

Don’t worry, it is not likely a sign that your Boston Terrier wants (or plans) to eat you, but just that your skin tastes good. This is especially common if you have been sweating, as dogs tend to be drawn to the saltiness of sweat, or if you are using some type of body lotion with a scent that attracts your Boston Terrier.

If this is the case, you should be able to notice an increase in licking right after putting on body lotion, or when you have been out and about.

A Combination of Two or More

Your Boston Terrier’s habit of licking you could be a result of one of the above theories, but it could also be a combination. Perhaps your Boston Terrier is feeling a little bored or anxious, and then, they discover that you also happen to taste really good! Licking at that irresistible taste could then develop into a coping method for the dog.

How Can You Stop Your Boston Terrier Licking?

Knowing how headstrong a Boston Terrier can be, you might not be able to fully get rid of the licking, but there are a few things you can try to reduce how often and how avidly your Boston licks (either himself or you).

Distraction is the most recommended method. When your Boston Terrier starts its little licking fest – bring out a toy, chew, or anything to divert his attention away from you.

As you may have noticed, saying “no” only works for a few seconds before the licking starts again, and that is why we recommend distracting the dog with something fun and entertaining.

There isn’t always time to play, go out or distract in big ways, but if your Boston Terrier is an enthusiastic licker, then you might want to keep a few chews close at hand. You can also prepare enrichment toys like Kong toys and the West Paw Toppl, where you can add goodies and freeze the toy for more long-lasting fun.

Activities like these may not solve the licking problem completely, but they will provide both you and your dog with a much-needed break and distraction.

Want To Train Your Boston Terrier With Peace Of Mind?

If you haven’t trained your Boston Terrier properly, then this is the perfect time to start. Whatever bad behavior your shepherd has, whether it’s barking at night or other bad behaviors, using the right training program is the key to having an obedient and happy pup.

The training program I love and highly recommend is Brain Training For Dogs.

With Brain Training For Dogs you’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort. Instead of banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why your dog won’t listen, you’ll follow a path that has been tried, tested, and most importantly, that’s given proven results. Not to mention the fact, you’ll be able to fit the course around your schedule, not fit your schedule around a trainer or obedience class.

So instead of worrying about whether they’re going to be well-behaved or not, you’ll only have to worry about how much fun you’ll have with them!

And in most cases it’s still going to be:

  • Cheaper than hiring a professional.
  • Cheaper than replacing everything they might break.
  • And definitely cheaper than a lawsuit against you, if they decide to bite someone.

Just imagine how great it will feel to finally be able to trust your Boston Terrier completely and never worry whether they’ll be naughty or not. Instead, you’ll have the peace of mind that you have a well-behaved pup, and the boundaries you set for them, will always be there, EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT. 

And the best part is it also has a 60-day money-back guarantee! So there’s no reason not to give Brain Training For Dogs a try!

So if you’re tired of your dog’s bad behavior, or how they react around other people and pooches, then give it a try! You’ll be amazed by the results!

(You can also check out a full review here, to learn exactly what the course has to offer!)

What Should You Avoid Doing

The real issue starts when you encourage licking. It is possible that you find it super cute when your 8-week-old puppy licks your arm, but will you find it just as cute when your Boston Terrier is a slobbery adult?

Never let a puppy engage in an activity that you won’t be okay with also when the dog is an adult, or you will be setting your puppy up for failure.

Don’t let your Boston Terrier lick your guests unless the guest is encouraging it (and you are fine with it), as not everyone wants to become covered in dog slobber. Your guests may be too ashamed to say anything, but if you notice too much licking going on when you have someone over – stop it by distracting your pup with something else.

FAQ

We all want to be the best dog owners we can be to our Boston Terriers, and licking is an issue for many people out there as they don’t quite know how to handle it. Should the dog be allowed to lick? For how long? We have put together a quick FAQ with the most common questions (and answers) related to Boston Terriers and licking.

Do All Boston Terriers Lick?

No, not all Boston Terriers are lickers, but for some reason – many seem to be. It is a very affectionate breed that likes being close to its owners, which could explain why licking seems so common among these dogs.

Is It Safe To Let Your Boston Terrier Lick You?

It is generally considered safe to let a Boston Terrier lick your skin, but avoid letting your dog lick your mouth, eyes, or any scratches or open wounds. Dogs do carry bacteria in their mouths, just like humans, but it is not harmful to your Boston Terrier to lick your skin. Slobbery, yes, and you should always wash your hands and the targeted body part afterward.

Do Boston Terriers Lick More Than Other Dogs?

The Boston Terrier’s licking habit is more of an individual thing than it is a breed thing, as not all Boston’s lick. They do appear more prone to licking than certain other breeds, but there is no scientific research to back this up.

Recap

It is very common for Boston Terriers to be lickers, and almost all Boston Terrier owners have probably experienced it at some point. Licking is considered normal and can be a result of wanting to show affection, demanding attention, stress, discomfort, and a few other things, and it is good to determine the cause of your dog’s licking first.

For those who want to stop the licking, the best strategy to work with is to provide a suitable distraction. Use dog-safe chews and enrichment toys, and offer your adorable little Boston Terrier an approved alternative to licking your arm, or themselves.

In a case where the licking starts unexpectedly, it is recommended that you book an appointment with your local vet for a checkup, to rule out any medical issue.

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