If there’s one behavior we immediately associate with dogs, it’s licking. They lick our faces. They lick themselves and other dogs. But when they start licking our furniture-- like our chairs and sofas-- and other non-dog items around the house, it can be a problem.
But dogs use their tongues for more than just tasting. They don’t have fingers, so they use their tongue to interact with the world.
They use it to clean themselves and show emotions such as submission or affection. However, you might have noticed your pup recently licking the furniture and thought, “Hey, why does my dog lick the couch?”
In this article, we’ll cover why your pooch is giving the sofas and couches a taste test and a few ways you can curb that behavior.
Why Is My Dog Licking The Couch?
There are a few reasons why your dog is licking the couch, and we’ll go over each one from most common to least. As such, the solution to these will from simple to more difficult-- some things that might require professional help.
They Enjoy The Flavor
Enjoying something that tastes good on the couch is typically the easiest answer for why your dog is licking the couch. If you often eat while sitting down, then there’s likely food debris and splashed drinks across and around the couch.
Your dog’s heightened sense of smell makes it easy for them to pick up on these little scraps of leftovers. And it’s not just food you need to worry about-- you also leave behind your smell which brings comfort to your pup. Even the cleanest people leave behind smells and scents that a dog can sniff out.
To fix this, clean the couch well or stop eating there all together.
They’re Probably Bored
Dogs require a lot of physical and mental stimulation throughout the day, especially the younger they are. If not, they will get bored and this is when you’ll see behavior like licking and chewing on items and furniture, becoming rambunctious and less attentive, and a whole host of other things you don’t want them doing.
The best way to deal with this is to give your doggy plenty of exercise and things to do. This can include going for long walks to tire them out, playing with them using chew toys and other toys you have for them, and teaching them new commands like “sit” and “shake.”
Some breeds and individual dogs will require different amounts of play and exercise. Just be sure not to overwork them because that can lead to health issues in the long run.
Your Dog Is Stressed
If your dog is anxious or stressed, it could manifest itself through excessive licking of the sofa or other items around the house. And just like when a dog is bored, you could also see them acting out in other ways.
In addition to that, anxiety and stress can show up in other behaviors that are common in dogs. These can include things such as chewing, spinning in circles or chasing their tail, and biting.
According to the American Kennel Club, those behaviors and excessive licking release endorphins which help to alleviate some of the anxiety the dog is feeling.
A good way to figure out if it’s stress or boredom is to see if you can distract them from the licking. If they easily draw their attention to you or the new toy, then it’s most likely they’re bored. However, if they are bent on licking the couch, then you need to find the source of the stress.
Some dogs can get so anxious that they might try to escape and run away. That’s where it’s important to have a GPS collar like those provided by Fi. With FI, you can find your dog fast and also keep track of their routine with 24/7 activity monitoring. Want to learn more? Visit here.
New animals or people in the environment can raise a dog’s anxiety levels. Also, a break in their regular routine can do the same. If you feed them normally at 7:00 AM and now it’s 9:00 AM and they haven’t had a bite-- something like that will stress a dog out too.
It’s Just A Bad Habit They’ve Learned
This is actually an easy one to solve but is down here because you might need some outside help depending on how ingrained this behavior has become.
As Smart Dog Owners points out, it could as simple as the dog licked the couch one day and loved it. Now, they do it all the time because it wasn’t stopped early.
One way to try and stop this is by adding a bitter-tasting (but harmless!) compound to the couch. Something like a lemon spray works well for dogs. Also, you can try to distract them with other items like a chew toy or a treat (which could be part of “training” them not to do it).
If that doesn’t work, then it might be time to call for help. A good trainer can teach them (and you) to stop the couch licking. However, it might be something else going on, which brings us to our final reason...
Your Dog Might Have Some Underlying Health Issue
The conditions that might cause your dog to lick the couch can range from minor issues to complicated mental issues like OCD.
A good way to know is if the couch licking is new, spontaneous behavior. When dogs break from their normal ways, that can be their way of telling you something is wrong. The French Bulldog Owner says that it can be as simple as a toothache to something more serious like a pituitary gland disease.
In these cases, you will need to seek professional help from your vet. They will be able to diagnosis the dog and advise you in the best ways to help them.
If your dog licking the furniture is getting out of hand, then it’s best to nip it on the bud now for the sake of your couch (and wallet) and for their own benefit too. While it could be something as serious as an obsessive compulsion, these tips and tricks should help you get down to the bottom of it.