February 28, 2024
Shah tzu Care

Shih Tzu licking me.

Reasons Why Shih Tzu Lick, Their Owners

Affection and bonding

Shih Tzus are known for their loving and affectionate nature, and licking is one of the ways they express their love for their owners. When a Shih Tzu licks you, it is a sign of affection and bonding. This behavior is often seen when they greet their owners after a long day apart or want to show their love and appreciation.

Shih Tzus are pack animals and have a strong need for social interaction. Licking is a way for them to strengthen the bond with their owners and establish themselves as part of the family. It creates a sense of trust and loyalty between both parties.

Social behavior and communication

Licking is also a form of social behavior and communication for Shih Tzus. In the wild, wolves and dogs use licking to establish hierarchy and show submission. When a Shih Tzu licks their owner, they show respect and acknowledge their owner’s role as the pack’s leader.

Furthermore, licking can be a way for Shih Tzus to communicate their needs or feelings. They may lick you to get your attention, ask for food or water, or tell you they are anxious or stressed. It is important to pay attention to their body language and other cues to understand the message they are trying to convey.

In conclusion, the reasons why Shih Tzus lick their owners are rooted in their affectionate nature and need for social interaction. It is a way for them to express love, strengthen the bond, and communicate their feelings. As an owner, responding to their licking behavior with patience and understanding is essential, as it is their way of connecting with you.

Understanding Shih Tzu Licking Behavior

Instinctual and hereditary traits

Shih Tzus are known for their adorable and affectionate nature; one expected behavior they exhibit is licking. This behavior can be traced back to their instinctual and hereditary traits. Shih Tzus are descendants of wolves and dogs, who also engage in licking for various reasons. This instinctual behavior has been passed down through generations and manifests differently regarding Shih Tzus.

Various motives behind licking

There are several motives behind why a Shih Tzu may lick their owner. One of the primary reasons is affection and bonding. When a Shih Tzu licks their owner, it is a way for them to express love and establish a deeper connection. It is often seen when they greet their owners after a long separation or when they want to show appreciation.

Another motive behind licking is social behavior and communication. Like their wolf ancestors, Shih Tzus use licking to establish hierarchy and show respect to their owner as the pack’s leader. It is also a way for them to communicate their needs or feelings. They may lick to get attention, ask for food or water, or indicate feeling anxious or stressed.

In conclusion, understanding the reasons behind Shih Tzu licking behavior helps owners develop a stronger bond with their furry friends. The instinctual and hereditary traits play a significant role, and by recognizing the various motives, owners can respond better to their pets’ needs. So, the next time your Shih Tzu licks you, remember that it is their way of expressing love, respect, and communication. Embrace it patiently and enjoy this unique aspect of your pet’s affectionate nature.

Health Concerns Related to Excessive Licking

Allergies and Skin Irritations

Excessive licking in Shih Tzus can lead to allergies and skin irritations. When a Shih Tzu constantly licks their paws, it may indicate that they are experiencing itching or discomfort. This could result from allergies to certain foods, environmental factors such as pollen or dust mites, or even contact dermatitis from substances they come into contact with. The constant moisture from licking can further irritate the skin and lead to inflammation and redness.

Shih Tzu owners must monitor their pet’s behavior and look for signs of allergies or skin irritations. If the licking becomes excessive or you notice any changes in your pet’s skin, such as rashes or hotspots, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian. They can perform tests to identify the specific allergens and recommend appropriate treatments or dietary changes to alleviate the symptoms and prevent further discomfort.

Dental Problems and Oral Health

Another health concern related to excessive licking in Shih Tzus is dental problems and poor oral health. Constant licking can signify dental issues such as tooth decay, gum disease, or oral infections. The saliva from the licking can create a moist environment that promotes the growth of bacteria, leading to plaque buildup and bad breath.

Regular dental care is essential for Shih Tzus to prevent these issues. This includes brushing their teeth regularly with pet-safe toothpaste, providing dental chews or toys for them to chew on, and scheduling regular dental check-ups with a veterinarian. It is crucial to establish a dental care routine early on to ensure the overall oral health of your furry friend.

In summary, excessive licking in Shih Tzus can have health implications. Allergies and skin irritations can arise, causing discomfort and inflammation. Furthermore, poor oral health can result from constant licking, leading to dental problems and bad breath. Being vigilant and proactive in addressing these concerns through regular veterinary care and proper oral hygiene can help keep your Shih Tzu healthy and happy.

Shih Tzu licking
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Training and Managing Shih Tzu Licking

Shih Tzus are known for their affectionate nature, and licking is one way they express their love and affection towards their owners. While it may initially seem cute and endearing, excessive licking can become problematic. It can lead to health concerns, such as allergies and dental issues, and can be quite bothersome for the owner. Here are some techniques to train and manage Shih Tzu licking behavior positively and effectively.

Positive Reinforcement Techniques

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool in training any dog, including Shih Tzus. Instead of scolding or punishing your Shih Tzu for licking, focus on rewarding them for desired behavior. Whenever your Shih Tzu refrains from licking or redirects their attention, praise and reward them with treats or affection. This will help them associate the absence of licking with positive outcomes and reinforce the desired behavior.

Redirection and Distraction Methods

Another technique to manage excessive licking is redirecting your Shih Tzu attention to an alternative behavior or activity. When you notice your dog about to start licking, offer them a chew toy, puzzle toy, or a bone to keep them occupied. Engaging their mind and stimulating their senses with interactive toys can distract them from licking.

Additionally, you can teach your Shih Tzu alternative commands or tricks, such as “sit” or “down,” to redirect their focus. By providing mental and physical stimulation, you can help reduce their inclination to lick excessively.

Consistency is key in training and managing your Shih Tzu licking behavior. Be patient and persistent in applying positive reinforcement techniques and redirection methods. If the problem persists or worsens, it is always advisable to seek professional help from a qualified dog trainer or behaviorist who can provide personalized guidance and support.

By implementing these training and management strategies, you can balance curbing excessive licking and maintaining a loving and positive relationship with your Shih Tzu.

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Addressing Anxiety and Stress-Related Licking

Shih Tzus are known for their affectionate nature, and licking is one way they express their love and affection towards their owners. However, excessive licking can become a problem when it is triggered by anxiety or stress. If your Shih Tzu displays this behavior, addressing the underlying causes and implementing techniques to help them relax and feel more secure is important.

Identifying Situational Triggers

The first step in addressing anxiety and stress-related licking is to identify the situational triggers. Certain noises, visitors, or changes in the environment could make your Shih Tzu anxious. Observe their behavior closely and take note of any recurring patterns or triggers. You can minimize or eliminate the triggers from your dog’s environment by identifying them.

Implementing Relaxation Techniques

Once you have identified the triggers, it is important to implement relaxation techniques to help your Shih Tzu cope with anxiety and stress. One effective method is to create a safe and comfortable space for your dog, such as a designated area with their bed, toys, and familiar scents. This will provide them with a sense of security and help them relax.

Additionally, you can introduce calming activities such as gentle massages or aromatherapy using soothing scents like lavender. These techniques can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation in your Shih Tzu.

Ensuring your Shih Tzu gets enough physical exercise and mental stimulation is also important. Regular walks, playtime, and puzzle toys can help release pent-up energy and relieve stress.

Remember, addressing anxiety and stress-related licking requires patience and consistency. It is always advisable to consult with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist who can provide tailored guidance and support based on your Shih Tzu specific needs.

By identifying situational triggers and implementing relaxation techniques, you can help your Shih Tzu feel more calm and secure, reducing their inclination to engage in excessive licking due to anxiety or stress.

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Grooming and Licking Connection

Cleaning rituals and self-grooming

Shih Tzus are known for their luxurious coats, and grooming is crucial in maintaining their overall health and appearance. One exciting aspect of grooming is the connection between grooming rituals and licking behaviors displayed by Shih Tzus.

Licking is an instinct for dogs, and it serves various purposes, including cleaning themselves. When a Shih Tzu licks their fur, they engage in self-grooming behaviors. This helps them remove dirt, debris, and loose hair from their coat, keeping them clean and healthy. It’s their way of maintaining their overall hygiene.

Moreover, licking also offers a soothing effect to dogs, especially when feeling anxious or stressed. The repetitive licking motion can be comforting and provide a sense of security to Shih Tzus. It releases endorphins, which help them relax and reduce their stress levels.

Proper grooming practices for your Shih Tzu

To address excessive licking behaviors, it is essential to establish proper grooming practices for your Shih Tzu. Regular brushing removes loose hair and prevents matting, reducing the need for excessive self-grooming. Aim for gentle and calming grooming sessions, making it a positive and enjoyable experience for your furry friend.

Maintaining their hygiene by regularly cleaning their ears, trimming their nails, and brushing their teeth will also contribute to their overall well-being and reduce the need for excessive licking.

In conclusion, the licking behaviors exhibited by Shih Tzus have a solid connection to their grooming habits. Understanding this connection and implementing proper grooming practices will promote a healthier and calmer environment for your Shih Tzu, reducing their inclination to engage in excessive licking.

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Encouraging Appropriate Licking Boundaries

Setting limits and boundaries

While licking is a natural behavior for Shih Tzus, it is important to set limits and boundaries to ensure appropriate and hygienic interactions. Shih Tzus may tend to lick their owners to show affection, but it is crucial to establish boundaries to prevent excessive licking.

One way to set limits is by redirecting their behavior. Whenever your Shih Tzu starts licking you excessively, gently remove yourself from the situation and redirect your attention to a toy or another appropriate activity. This helps them understand that excessive licking is unacceptable and redirects their need for affection.

Another effective method is to create a “no licking” command. This can be taught by using a consistent phrase or gesture whenever your dog starts licking. With time and patience, your Shih Tzu will associate the command with the behavior and learn to stop licking on the command.

Teaching alternative forms of affection

To encourage appropriate licking boundaries, it is important to provide your Shih Tzu with alternative forms of affection. This can be achieved through regular bonding activities, such as gentle petting, cuddling, or playing interactive games together.

By engaging in these activities, you are fulfilling their need for affection and attention more suitably and hygienically. Encouraging positive interactions will strengthen the bond between you and your Shih Tzu, reducing their inclination to engage in excessive licking.

Remember to always reinforce positive behavior with praise and rewards. By consistently enforcing limits and teaching alternative forms of affection, you can create a healthier and more balanced dynamic with your Shih Tzu, promoting appropriate licking boundaries and a happier relationship overall.

Seeking Professional Help for Excessive Licking

Consulting with a veterinarian

If your Shih Tzu excessive licking persists despite your efforts to set boundaries and redirect their behavior, it may be time to seek professional help. Consulting with a veterinarian is an important first step to rule out any underlying medical issues that could be causing the excessive licking.

A veterinarian can thoroughly examine and run necessary tests to determine whether health issues contribute to the behavior. Conditions such as allergies, skin irritations, or gastrointestinal problems could be causing discomfort or itching, leading to increased licking. Treating these conditions will help alleviate the urge to lick excessively.

In addition to addressing medical concerns, a veterinarian can guide behavior modification techniques specific to your Shih Tzu licking behavior. They may recommend using deterrent sprays or chewing toys to redirect their focus and discourage excessive licking. They can also advise on proper grooming techniques and hygiene practices to maintain your Shih Tzu skin health.

Utilizing the expertise of a professional trainer or behaviorist

If the excessive licking persists or is related to behavioral issues, it may be beneficial to seek the expertise of a professional trainer or behaviorist specializing in dog behavior. They can assess your Shih Tzu behavior, identify underlying triggers, and develop a customized training plan to address the licking behavior.

A professional trainer or behaviorist can guide you to reinforce appropriate boundaries, teach your Shih Tzu alternative behaviors, and implement positive reinforcement techniques. They can also address any underlying anxiety or stress contributing to the excessive licking.

With their expertise and guidance, you can work towards modifying the behavior and establishing a healthier dynamic with your Shih Tzu. Remember to be patient and consistent in implementing the professional’s training techniques.

Seeking professional help can provide invaluable insights and support in addressing excessive licking behaviors in your Shih Tzu. Working with a veterinarian or professional trainer ensures your beloved pet receives the necessary care and guidance to overcome this issue and lead a happier, healthier life.


Addressing excessive licking behavior in Shih Tzus is important to ensure their well-being and maintain a harmonious bond with their owners. Seeking professional help from a veterinarian or a professional trainer/behaviorist can provide the necessary guidance and support in addressing this issue.

Embracing the bond formed through licking

While excessive licking may be problematic, it is also important to recognize that licking is a natural behavior for Shih Tzus. It is a way for them to show affection and strengthen their bond with their owners. Rather than eliminating licking, it is possible to establish boundaries and redirect the behavior effectively. By understanding the underlying triggers and utilizing positive reinforcement techniques, owners can embrace the bond formed through licking while managing it appropriately.

Establishing a harmonious balance between affection and behavior management

To address excessive licking, it is crucial to establish a harmonious balance between affection and behavior management. This involves setting boundaries and redirecting the behavior when it becomes excessive or inappropriate. Owners can encourage alternative behaviors and reinforce positive actions by incorporating the training techniques that professionals recommend. Maintaining consistency and patience throughout training is essential to ensure long-lasting results.

By understanding the reasons behind excessive licking and using professional guidance, owners can provide a happier and healthier life for their beloved Shih Tzu. Remember, each dog is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Monitoring their behavior, seeking professional assistance, and embracing the bond formed through licking will lead to a positive and fulfilling relationship between owners and their Shih Tzus.

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