Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.
Today, we’re going to tackle a rather awkward but important topic – how to stop your dog from licking other dogs’ privates.
Now, I know this isn’t exactly a subject we discuss over dinner parties, but let’s face it, it’s a common problem that many pet owners face.
I remember the first time my dog decided to give her new furry friend a not-so-friendly lick.
I was mortified!
I couldn’t help but wonder what the other dog’s owner was thinking.
Was he judging me for not training my dog better? As embarrassing as it was, it was a wake-up call that something needed to change.
So, if you’re dealing with a similar situation, fear not!
In this post, you will learn more about this unusual dog behavior and figure out how to prevent it in the future.
- Is It Normal for Dogs to Lick Each Other's Privates?
- Why Do Dogs Lick and Smell Each Other's Private Areas? 7 Reasons
- Why Do Male Dogs Lick Other Male Dogs' Privates?
- Why Do Female Dogs Lick Other Female Dogs?
- When is Your Dog Licking Other Dog's Privates a Problem?
- How to Stop Your Dog From Licking Other Dogs' Privates?
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- In Conclusion: How to Stop Your Dog From Licking Other Dogs' Privates?
Is It Normal for Dogs to Lick Each Other’s Privates?
Surprisingly, yes, it is normal and natural for your dog to lick other pups’ privates.
Your dog uses this behavior to communicate and show affection towards other dogs, and animals.
Dogs may also lick each other’s private areas due to curiosity, to show respect or submission, and when they meet a new dog.
However, if your dog’s licking behavior becomes excessive or there is a sudden increase in licking incidents. In that case, it may indicate a health problem like a urinary tract infection.
So, it’s worth monitoring and consulting with a vet if you notice these behaviors.
Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Why do Havanese lick so much?
Why Do Dogs Lick and Smell Each Other’s Private Areas? 7 Reasons
It’s common to see dogs sniffing each other’s private areas.
But why do they do it?
The reasons are many.
Below covers why dogs lick and smell each other.
Curiosity is the primary reason behind this licking and smelling behavior.
Your dog is a naturally curious creature, and they will often sniff or lick the private areas of other dogs.
They are trying to learn details about their fellow canines, such as their emotional and reproductive status.
Also, this is typically not always a sign that your dog has any sexual interest in the other animal. Instead, it’s part of their natural curiosity about everything around them.
2. Natural behavior in dogs
Your dog licking and smelling other canines plays an important role in socialization and communication.
They naturally engage in this behavior to get to know one another.
Think of it as another medium of communication, since dogs cannot speak.
They learn more about the other dogs and exchange information about themselves when licking each other’s faces and genitalia.
Habit is hard to break, and dogs are no exception.
Your pup develops a habit of licking each other’s genitals as puppies. This behavior can continue into adulthood.
If you notice your dog licking another pup who is already a family member, they are not trying to learn anything new about the dog but acting instinctively.
They get used to examining everything, even genitalia.
This is common in dogs raised together.
4. Health issue
Your dog may be licking another’s private area to clean an injury or infection around another dog’s rear end.
Additionally, if your dog is persistently licking or smelling another dog’s private area, it could indicate an underlying medical issue such as allergies or infections.
Incomplete expression is another health issue that could cause a dog to lick or smell another dog’s private area. It occurs when the anal glands do not empty correctly, leading to discomfort and irritation.
Other possible causes of excessive licking or smelling include dietary issues such as a low-fiber diet or anatomical issues like anal sac abscesses.
5. Social interaction and communication
Your dog uses its excellent sense of smell to socialize and communicate with another canine.
When interacting, your pet often sniffs each other’s faces and private areas, such as the groin, and often leaves marks.
Experts call it scent marking, and it serves two purposes:
- It helps them identify who belongs to what pack or group.
- It tells them about the health status of their peers.
For example, if your dog is ill and has an infection, its body releases chemicals or scents into the air.
These unique scents are then picked up by other dogs nearby, who can use them to alert people to potential threats.
It is why dogs often sniff at each other’s genitals. By doing so, they can learn about the other animal’s health status and whether it is safe to approach.
6. Grooming and cleaning behavior
Some dogs occasionally lick one other’s private parts, especially when they have a tight attachment.
Mother dogs will meticulously lick the genitalia of very young puppies to encourage urination and defecation.
In these situations, licking can be a gesture of affection and assistance in grooming the other dog. It also helps dogs deepen their bonds with one another.
So while it may seem strange to us, this behavior is integral to a dog’s grooming and cleaning behavior.
7. Pleasure and emotional states
Your dog licks and sniffs other pups’ private areas because it is pleasurable and helps them communicate emotions.
Your dog frequently licks the mouths or behinds of other dogs when they are eager as a play move.
This communication signals that they are happy to see each other and want to play together.
Their gesture says,
“I am happy to see you”
“I like how you smell.”
It is why some vets say dogs “smell” each other when they lick their private parts. It’s more than just an action that feels good – it’s how they communicate affection and pleasure.
Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Dog humping pillow
Why Do Male Dogs Lick Other Male Dogs’ Privates?
Your male dog can be pretty territorial creatures, and as a result, they often feel the need to establish their dominance.
It can involve licking another male dog’s genitals, known as a scent or urine marking. By doing this, they essentially claim their territory and assert their social status.
Licking another male dog’s genitals can also communicate that the dog is the alpha in the pack. It helps prevent any other male dogs from trying to take over their territory or mate.
Interestingly, when male dogs lick another male dog’s genitals, it can also signify affection and bonding.
This behavior usually happens in male canines that have established close bonds.
It is a way for dogs to express their dominance and friendship.
Why Do Female Dogs Lick Other Female Dogs?
If you have two female dogs, you can see how licking conveys various messages.
For example, when two dogs first meet, they may lick each other to check each other out and see if they like each other.
It’s like a doggy handshake!
If one dog doesn’t like the taste of the other, she may stop licking and walk away.
But licking isn’t always a friendly gesture.
If you live with two female dogs long enough and one of them licks the other, she might be attempting to assert her dominance over the other dog. It could arise if one dog is younger or weaker.
On the other hand, if a mother dog licks her puppies, it’s a sign of love and affection. She wants to keep her babies clean and safe.
And when your dogs lick you, it’s a way for them to show their love and care for you too!
Hey there, sorry to interrupt but I wanted to tell you about an online vet service I’ve been using for years.
An in-person visit with one is great, but it’s not always an option.
Now, thanks to technology, you can speak to one without leaving your home.
Alternatively, a vet can come out to you instead (exclusive to our readers: use THEVETS15 for 15% off).SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT HERE
Thank you. The rest of the article continues below.
Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Why does my dog cuddle my shoes?
When is Your Dog Licking Other Dog’s Privates a Problem?
If your pet licks other dogs’ private parts excessively, this could indicate something is wrong.
Some believe it is a means for canines to convey their readiness for mating.
While this interpretation may be accurate, it could indicate something is wrong with your dog.
In many cases, excessive licking of another dog’s private parts indicates a problem.
- Aggressive behavior
Licking another dog’s private parts and making growling or snapping sounds could indicate aggressive behavior in your dog.
It means that your dog is territorial and feels threatened. It can turn into a fight if you don’t handle this behavior.
- Transmit diseases
If your dog frequently licks another dog’s private area, it could spread infections to the other dog.
This is true if your dog has an infection or open wound. It could easily spread to other dogs through saliva.
- Obsessive behavior
Dogs with OCD may engage in repetitive actions like excessive licking or biting.
It can be stressful for another dog they were licking, and it could interfere with their daily activities, such as eating, drinking, and sleeping.
- Inappropriate behavior
Inappropriate licking behavior can also indicate a lack of socialization or training in your dog.
Unsocialized canines may lack the ability to recognize proper boundaries when interacting with other dogs and exhibit improper behavior.
- Uninvited gesture
If your dog licks another dog’s private parts without the other dog’s permission or invitation, this may cause problems.
They may react aggressively if a dog feels threatened by another dog who tries to lick their privates.
It may result in a dog fight. It is especially true if the other dog isn’t in the mood to play.
Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Dog mouth quivers after licking
How to Stop Your Dog From Licking Other Dogs’ Privates?
If you’re concerned about your dog licking other dogs’ privates, there are several ways to stop it.
Here are some tips:
Train the “leave it” command
Training your dog to obey the “leave it” command effectively stops them from engaging in undesirable behavior, such as licking other dogs’ privates.
Start by offering your dog a treat in one hand while holding another treat in your closed fist.
When your dog tries to get the treat in your closed fist, say “leave it” and wait for them to stop trying.
Once they stop, reward them with the treat in your other hand.
Repeat this exercise until your dog constantly stops trying to get the treat in your closed fist when you say, “Leave it.”
Distract with toys or treats
Offering a toy or treat is a great way to distract your dog from undesirable behavior like licking other dog’s private parts.
You can also use this opportunity to train your dog with interactive toys like puzzle feeders or chew toys.
These toys give mental stimulation and can help to redirect your dog’s focus away from the other dog’s private area.
When using treats as a distraction, choose a treat that your dog loves.
Treats like pumpkin or small pieces of cooked chicken are often a hit with dogs.
Remember, you’re more likely to put in effort if you’re rewarded with something you really enjoy. The same goes for your dog!
Ensure you’re doing enough to feed your dog, so adjust their meals accordingly if you’re using treats as a distraction.
Note that offering your dog a toy or treat is a short-term solution.
Training your dog to obey the “leave it” command and providing enough exercise and mental stimulation is your priority to reduce their desire to engage in the behavior.
Redirect attention to another activity
Engage your dog in a different activity, such as playing fetch or walking, to divert their attention.
It can help distract your dog’s attention away from the behavior and break the fixation cycle.
Additionally, this can reinforce positive behavior and help to reduce the occurrence in the future.
By consistently redirecting your dog’s attention to other activities, you can help your dog focus on appropriate behaviors and avoid licking and sniffing other dogs’ rear ends.
Use a leash or physical restraint
Keeping your pet on a leash in public places or around other dogs can prevent them from accessing another dog’s private area.
Moreover, a harness or crate can help train your dog and prevent this behavior.
Reinforce positive behavior with rewards
Positive reinforcement is an effective pup training method, and rewards can come in various forms, including treats, toys, praise, or playtime.
When your dog displays the desired behavior, such as ignoring another dog’s private area, offer them a treat or verbal praise.
It will help create a positive connection and encourage them to continue exhibiting that behavior.
Training takes time and consistency, but with positive reinforcement, you can help your fur baby become a well-behaved pet.
Provide enough exercise and mental stimulation
Dogs are naturally active animals. They need plenty of exercise and mental activity.
Ensure your pet gets enough exercise and mental stimulation to reduce undesired behavior.
- Daily walks or runs
- Fetch or tug-of-war
- Obedience or agility training classes
- Puzzle toys
- Scent work activities
Also, regular exercise and mental stimulation can reduce your dog’s stress and prevent boredom.
Seek professional help if necessary
If your dog continues to exhibit licking behavior despite addressing the issue, seeking help from a vet or behaviorist may be necessary.
These experts know how to identify the cause and develop a custom training plan.
A vet can rule out any underlying health conditions contributing to the behavior, such as a urinary tract infection or hormonal imbalance.
They can also offer your advice on medical interventions, such as medication, that may help manage the behavior.
An animal behaviorist can identify the behavior’s root cause and develop a training plan for your dog’s needs.
They can give you guidance on positive reinforcement, address any anxiety or fear issues, and offer tips on managing the behavior in different situations.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why does my older dog lick my puppy’s privates?
Older dogs lick puppies to clean them and bond with them. It is an instinctual behavior that teaches the puppy how to clean themselves and express affection. It also provides comfort and a sense of security to puppies.
Why is my dog making a face after licking another dog?
Dogs may scrunch up their faces after licking another dog due to the taste or smell. If your dog continues to make this expression or exhibits discomfort, it could be because of the other dog’s unappealing taste, upset stomach, or a scent on the other dog’s privates.
Why does my dog lick other dogs’ pee?
Dogs communicate with each other through urine, and licking it can help them in gathering information about the other dog. The urine has specific chemicals and pheromones that differ from dog to dog, providing insight into their sex, reproductive state, health, and diet.
In Conclusion: How to Stop Your Dog From Licking Other Dogs’ Privates?
By following the tips we’ve discussed, you can now confidently take your dog out in public without worrying about them getting a little too friendly with other dogs.
Remember, training your dog takes time and effort, but the payoff is totally worth it.
So, don’t give up, and keep working towards better behavior for your furry friend. Happy training!
Craving more pup-tastic tales? Check out these articles too:
You’ve made it to the end, but I hope it’s not the end of our journey. We want to hear your voice! Share your thoughts, problems, suggestions, or anything related to your dog in the comments section. And don’t forget to join our newsletter today too.