Why does my dog gently mouth my hand

Why does my dog gently mouth my hand

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Why does my dog gently mouth my hand with no warning? How do I stop my dog from licking my hand?

Answered by Dr. Janine Clayton, DVM (Michigan State University) on July 21, 2015 - 8:35 PM EDT

Q: My one year old female dog has this weird habit. She loves to gently mouth my hand or forearm, and it doesn't matter who I am with, or how she knows me. She likes to gently sniff my hand and then lick my hand, then she looks up at me and she gives me a look as if to say, "You want to eat this? This is good." It seems she does this out of the blue. What could be causing this? I don't know why she is doing this.

By Ann C. from California (Posted: 6/30/2013)

A: This sounds odd to me. Is your dog a puppy or an adult? How old is your dog? I think you need to find out a little more about your dog before you can do anything to stop it. For instance, is your dog a puppy? Is she a German Shepherd or a mixed breed? If it is a mixed breed, is she a Bernese Mountain dog? This would not be the same behavior as if she was a purebred Bernese. If this is a puppy, it could just be a puppy behavior. Some puppies like to explore, even if their owner is watching, by gently sniffing and licking or chewing on things. If it is an adult, it could be a behavior that she learned from another dog. Some owners will let their dogs know they don't want them to do that by giving them a gentle smack to get them to stop. A gentle smack does no good if it is being used by an owner who has been ignoring the behavior, or if it has been encouraged by another dog who has been doing this behavior.

By Anonymous on June 29, 2013 - 6:55 pm

A: Well to be fair your dog is not an adult yet. She is only 9 weeks old, so its understandable that she is sniffing and licking everything she comes into contact with. However, if she is getting this from another dog or another owner, you are in trouble.


By Anonymous from Indiana (Posted: 8/7/2012)

A: My German Shepherd dog also likes to explore with her nose.

By Anonymous from Ohio (Posted: 3/27/2012)

A: There is nothing I have read that allows dogs to do this. It is a puppy thing. I would ask your vet to call you with a plan of action.

By Anonymous on March 26, 2012 - 5:31 pm

A: She is really digging in to a spot on your couch, and she knows it. But she is digging in the same place over and over and there's no place to go!

A: I know, I see her do this too. It's not a good habit, but I think this is normal puppy behavior. I'll just be over watchful for the first few months, and hope she doesn't develop bad habits.

By Anonymous from San Diego (Posted: 11/26/2011)

A: It's a puppy thing, that's what my dogs do, it makes them feel safe, they can see and smell everything that's around them.

By Anonymous on September 11, 2011 - 5:53 pm

A: My male dog does this every morning. He's 5 months old. He licks the area between the door and the door latch to be sure that the door won't open. He's a good dog otherwise. He also likes to sniff around things to be sure that they're safe to chew on. I don't know if the problem is because we let him into the living room all the time, or he's just curious.

By Anonymous on August 19, 2011 - 9:31 am

A: My dog, a female, just started doing the same thing, and I think it is because of the other dogs who are in her house. I'm going to keep watching and hopefully she gets rid of the habit.

By Anonymous on June 1, 2011 - 2:44 pm

A: My dog does this and I don't think it is a good idea. He usually does it when he wakes up, when he gets a little tired, then when he goes to sleep. My advice, don't let him do it.

By Anonymous on April 25, 2011 - 5:53 pm

A: Mine does it as well. We think it's cute.

By Anonymous on April 20, 2011 - 1:26 pm

A: I think this is a good thing. I mean sometimes a dog can find something dangerous, and they have to take extra precautions. So, the fact that you dog can find something that would harm him is a good thing. But of course he must be leashed so he doesn't go to any kind of danger.

By Anonymous on April 14, 2011 - 9:40 pm

A: That's how he behaves. He can be quite an interesting one.

By Anonymous on April 14, 2011 - 4:40 pm

A: A little bit, I think it's pretty harmless.

By Anonymous on April 14, 2011 - 3:25 pm

A: It's pretty normal. He's just saying hi to the world.

By Anonymous on April 14, 2011 - 3:10 pm

A: That's how he acts. He's just saying hi to everyone in the house.

By Anonymous on April 14, 2011 - 2:25 pm

A: He's a little dog and he's only trying to be friendly with everyone in the house.

By Anonymous on April 14, 2011 - 12:48 pm

A: I have one, and I've been living with it for five years. I think he's cute.

By Anonymous on April 14, 2011 - 12:48 pm

A: You're welcome.

By Anonymous on April 14, 2011 - 11:39 am

A: This dog is friendly.

By Anonymous on April 14, 2011 - 11:39 am

A: That's all he's saying.

By Anonymous on April 14, 2011 - 11:36 am

A: A little bit, I think. He's trying to be friendly.

By Anonymous on April 14, 2011 - 11:34 am

A: Yes, I think it's a very nice gesture.

By Anonymous on April 14, 2011 - 11:34 am

A: He's only saying hi to everyone


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