Why Does My French Bulldog Keep Licking Me? And How To Stop Them

As a French Bulldog owner I like to think that I’m being licked as a sign of affection, doggy kisses.  But sometimes I wonder why does my Frenchie keep licking me?

The common reasons for French Bulldogs licking their owners are because:

  • Your dog likes the salty taste of human skin 
  • As a sign of affection
  • Your dog is in season and feeling amorous
  • Your dog is bored or anxious
  • You dog simply finds it soothing

Scientists do not totally understand what a dog licking its owner actually means. What we think is affection might actually be your dog encouraging you to regurgitate your last meal for them which is something they learnt as a puppy.

So, if you are wondering why your Frenchie keeps licking you, one of the following reasons is most likely to be the answer, which will help you work out how to stop constant licking if you find it more annoying than cute.

11 Reasons why your French Bulldog Keeps Licking You

Your Frenchie licking you can have several meanings and what they might be will depend on the rest of your dog’s body language and situation.  The following explanations might help you to understand their motives and give you an indication as to how you might stop them excessively licking you.

Your French Bulldog is mothering you

When your dog was a puppy their mother would be constantly licking them. This behaviour is a form of communication and stimulation for a puppy. It’s the first thing that happens when they are born as the mother will lick the pup to stimulate them to breathe.

To show you affection

We Frenchie owners dote on our dogs, and quite rightly so. Po isn’t a massive licker, but I like to think that she is showing me how much she cares and appreciates me when she gives me some doggy kisses.  Licking is a pleasurable activity and releases endorphins into your dog’s blood which makes them feel calm and comforted.

Alexandra Horowitz, Head of the Horowitz Dog Cognition Lab at Barnard College suggests that licking has become a ritualised greeting for many dogs, including Frenchies. In the wild, dogs will lick family pack members to welcome them home.  So those really are kisses to show you that your Frenchie is happy to see you.

French Bulldogs love the taste of salt

Even if you haven’t just come in from a 10 mile run, the salt on your skin from normal perspiration could be what’s attracting your Frenchie to give you a lick. 

Licking because they are anxious

If your French Bulldog constantly wants to lick your hands, feet or they are licking themselves all the time, then there may be something bothering them.  French Bulldogs can be little worry worts and suffer from stress and anxiety, just like you. 

Frenchies are known for being very dedicated and often too clingy ( think velcro dog) to their owners. As a way of coping with their anxiety if they feel separated from you they may begin compulsively licking their paws. Unfortunately this behaviour can lead to a yeast growth and other infections so keep an eye on your pooches paws for stinky feet from too much licking.

Licking to comfort you at times of stress or sadness

We know that our Frenchies are highly intelligent (and stubborn) and they can definitely sense our emotional state. If you are feeling stressed or nervous your dog knows and their way of helping you reduce stress is to do what they would do to help themselves, lick you. 

They only want to show their support as they apply their rough tongues to your hands, face and feet if you’ve taken your socks off. And yes, they don’t care if your feet smell. 

Frenchie lick you to ask for food

You know the look. You’re just tucking into your tasty ham sandwich and you know you’re bring watched.  Ears like radars trained on your every move, a little pink tongue flicks out and licks at their own lips and maybe they are drooling a bit. Your Frenchie gets closer with every bite you take, tilts their head and then starts licking your hand. Yup, they want your food. 

Puppies instinctively lick their mother’s face and chin to ask for food. Studies suggest that this is a behaviour that was shaped when dog ancestors would have to travel far for food and the only way to bring it back was to eat it. When they returned to their pups the pups would lick their mother’s face which triggered the mother to regurgitate the food. So maybe your clown companion is just asking you to share your last meal ( as if you didn’t already). Or perhaps they think they didn’t get a fair portion? Who knows.

You have leftover food on your chin

Well this reason is a bit obvious, but your Frenchie is going to naturally want to share every meal with you. That also means any bits you may have smeared round your mouth whilst eating. They want to clean it up for you. Po likes nothing better than a bit of salty butter dribbled from a crumpet to lick up.

French Bulldog’s lick you to get your attention

Frenchies are smart, despite what other people might think. If licking you got the desired results in the past, like a mouthful of sandwich or a game of tug then they are likely to do it again. Why? Because unintentionally you have positively reinforced this behaviour. To your dog licking you = get what I want.  

French Bulldogs’ Tongues are their sensory tool

Paws are not much use when examining objects so your Frenchie will use their tongue. Tongues have millions of sensory receptors and can distinguish between salty, bitter, sour, and sweet tastes.  Although their sense of taste is not as good as a humans it still gives them information to process. 

Licking you gives your Frenchie the lowdown on where you’ve been, what you’ve been doing and who you’ve been with. 

Licking you is a sign of submission – you’re the boss

Reading your Frenchies body language when they lick you can tell you what they are thinking. If they’re holding their ears back, avoiding your direct gaze and gently licking your outstretched hand then you would know that they are feeling submissive. If they had a tail it would be tucked between their legs. 

Your Frenchie wants to play

If your Frenchie is leaping about and rolling around on the floor whilst licking you when you try and stroke them you know they want to play. This often happens when I come back in from shopping. Yes, Po is pleased to see me and probably relieved that I have safely returned. Now she wants my attention and to play. Either that or she’s just bribing me to open the shopping bags and share some of the haul because she knows there’s something for her in the bag somewhere. 

How To Stop Your Frenchie Licking You to Death

Had enough of being licked all the time?  Then you need to address the behaviours in each of the situations. Pushing your Frenchie away everytime they dive in to lick you won’t work because they will think you are engaging in play. 

I taught Po some key commands, one is ‘kiss’ where I captured the licking behaviour and put it on cue. The other command I taught her is the peace sign which I make with both hands. This causes her to immediately stop whatever she is doing and sit still, waiting for the next command. You could just use the word stop and a flat palm, this would work too.

Teach your French Bulldog to ‘kiss’ on command

  1. Pick a quiet time and have a handful of tasty treats ready.
  2. Say ‘kiss’ and allow your dog to lick your hand ( or face) once. Give her a treat.
  3. Repeat 5 times.

You could also teach an alternative behaviour in situations where you don’t want a kiss, such as when you return home. In these scenarios you can teach your dog to give you a paw shake, instigate a game of tug or teach your Frenchie to do a little greeting trick ( like a spin)  when you return.

Change your body scent

We’ve all been there, you’ve had a shower, you’re lovely and clean so what you need is a good licking. This might be because your shower gel or body lotion tastes good to your Frenchie. So think about changing it for something unscented or a scent that your dog won’t like.

Keep your Frenchie occupied

Licking as I’ve mentioned above is a way of playing for your Frenchie. If you provide a variety of enrichment activities to keep your dog engaged then you will be able to reduce the amount of licking you receive. Toys, games and going for a walk are a good start. 

French Bulldog Licking FAQS

Why does my Frenchie lick the couch?

A dog may lick the couch or furniture as a way to alleviate boredom. Obsessively licking furniture may also indicate that your dog is suffering from anxiety and finds the licking behaviour self soothing. 

Why does my dog lick the bedspread?

The bedspread will smell of taste of your bodily fluids which your dog may find appealing so they will lick the fabric.

Why does my dog keep licking the floor and furniture?

Spilled food, scents from other animals of products may attract your dog so they will lick at the spot to taste the particulates.

Why does my dog lick pillows and blankets?

Your dog will lick your bedding because they like the salty taste. The fabric of your bedding will contain sweat, hair and skin cells which your dog will find appealing. 

Why won’t my dog stop licking her bed?

A female dog will lick her bed to keep it clean, especially if they are in season. A dog compulsively licking their bed may indicate they are suffering from severe boredom and require enrichment to provide mental and physical stimulation.

Why does my dog lick where I sit

Your body excretes odours and sweat and your dog will use their tongue to lick at where you have sat to taste these excretions to understand your state of mind and health.

Why Does My French Bulldog Lick My Trousers

You may have spilt some food on your trousers or your dog is licking to taste the salt from sweat.

Does a dog have an antiseptic tongue?

A dog’s tongue is not antiseptic. Their mouth contains bacteria and the tongue does offer some antimicrobial and healing properties for wounds.

Mother of Frenchies

I’m Sarah-Jane White, an Animal Behaviourist and Trainer and one of my degrees is specifically in Canine Behaviour and Training. I’m a supporter and occasionally foster for the Phoenix French Bulldog Rescue and French Bulldog Saviours. I have grown up with bullbreeds and currently have one fawn pied French Bulldog called Dolly, her nickname is Po, after Kung Fu Panda because she loves noodles and has some great ninja moves.

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