Why Do Dachshunds Lick Your Face?

Is your dachshund constantly trying to lick your face? Do you love it or hate it? And what does it mean? Most people think it means kisses and love – but there are actually a number of different reasons your dachshund might be licking.

Why do dachshunds lick your face? Dachshunds will lick your face to show you affection. Other reasons include: showing their submission, enjoying the taste of your skin or wanting to groom you. Obsessive licking can also be your dachshund’s way of letting you know when something is wrong. 

Dachshunds are well known for licking just about anything, including themselves! They might lick your clothes, arms, chairs, blankets, the floor, and even poop! They’re curious dogs – they want to explore everything and they’ll jump in nose (and tongue) first. It’s not unusual for them to try and give your face a lick, as well as everything else, but it’s good to know what these licks might mean.  

Why do dachshunds lick so much?

This is why your dachshund licks so much:

  • Your dachshund is being affectionate
  • Your dachshund is being submissive
  • Your dachshund is following his natural instinct
  • Your dachshund is trying to tell you something

This is what you need to know:

Why Do Dachshunds Lick Your Face? Dachshund with tongue out licking lips
A dachshund licking his chops

Your dachshund is being affectionate

Dachshunds are affectionate and sociable dogs with big hearts. They like being surrounded by family and love showering you with affection. Basically, your sausage dog loves you – and that love comes in the form of saliva!

It’s normal for dachshunds to try to lick your face when welcoming you home. Even if you’ve only been out for a couple of hours, he might give you a warm, slobbery greeting just to show you how much he’s missed you.

Licking your face can also give dogs a rush of endorphins, so it can be very comforting. Just like when people hug each other, sausage dogs feel cosy and relaxed when they’re giving and receiving affection. He might also think you taste really good and enjoys licking your salty skin!

Your dachshund is being submissive

Dachshunds are pack animals – they were originally bred as hunting dogs – so they’ve got pretty strong pack instincts. In a pack, the lower ranking dogs would lick the mouths of higher ranking dogs as a form of submission. Licking around your mouth could be your dachshund’s way of submitting to your leadership.

Your dachshunds is following his natural instinct

Mother dachshund with four puppies sat on a fluffy rug
Dachshund puppies copying the behaviour of their mum

Dachshund puppies lick their mum’s mouths when they’re very young because they want mum to regurgitate solid foods into their mouths (yep, it’s gross). So licking your mouth might just be a natural instinct for him.

It’s also instinctive for dachshunds to lick members of their pack to keep everyone clean. So he might think he’s doing you a big favour by giving you a much-needed groom!

Your dachshund is trying to tell you something

Dogs often communicate with each other through licking. So, if your dachshund is licking your face, he might be trying to tell you something. Maybe he wants to show you how much he loves you, or maybe he’s trying to show you something’s wrong. Understanding his messages can be hard, but it’s definitely worth checking he isn’t injured and he’s got enough water and so on.

How do you stop a dachshund licking your face?

This is how to stop your dachshund licking your face:

  • Don’t reward your dachshund
  • Turn around or leave the room
  • Train your dachshund to lick on command
  • Give your dachshund exercise

If you don’t enjoy your dachshund licking your face, this is what you need to do:

Why Do Dachshunds Lick Your Face? Dachshund licking a woman's face
A dachshund licking her owner’s face

Don’t reward your dachshund

When your dachshund starts licking you, don’t give him any treats, hugs, or pats. If you do, he’ll think that licking your face is a way to get rewards!

Turn around or leave the room

If you leave the room or ignore your dachshunds when he licks your face, it shows him you’re not happy with that behaviour. Let’s face it, he’s probably only licking you to get your attention anyway. So, if he doesn’t get what he wants, he won’t be so keen on licking you in the future.

Train your dachshund to lick on command

If turning your back or walking away from your dachshund isn’t something you want to do, that’s OK. You can train him to know when it IS and ISN’T okay to lick you with a simple command like ‘Kisses!’ Only let him lick you when you tell him to, and reward him when he gives you a kiss and does the right thing.

Whenever he’s trying to lick your face without permission, say ‘No!’ or ‘Ah-Ah!’ in a calm but firm voice. Yes, sometimes it might be tempting to just let him show you slobbery affection, but the more consistent you are with training (in every area), the quicker he’ll understand when it is and isn’t OK to lick you.

Give your dachshund exercise

Dachshund with lots of energy being exercised on a walk
A dachshund being exercised on a walk

Your dachshund might be licking you all the time because he’s over-excited with too much pent up energy. Dachshunds need daily exercise. Take him out for a walk or play with him at home to calm him down and get that tongue under control!

Why is my dachshund licking excessively? 

This is why your dachshund is licking excessively:

  • Anxiety
  • Skin condition
  • Injury
  • Ageing joints
  • Health

This is what you need to know:

Anxiety

Excessive licking could be a sign of anxiety. If he’s stressed he might start licking you or himself – like humans bite their fingernails! Check there’s nothing going on which he could find scary. Has he become overprotective recently? Are you leaving him alone too long during the day? Dachshunds are very loyal and love being around people. If you leave him alone or mollycoddle him too much, he could struggle with separation anxiety.

Anxious looking dachshund laying on the sofa
A stressed looking dachshund

Skin condition

Your dachshund could also have a skin condition. Part his fur with your hands, especially if he’s licking one spot in particular. Is the skin raw, red, bleeding or scabby? Can you see any ticks or fleas that could be irritating his skin? Is there any matted fur that needs grooming? Have you changed his food or shampoo recently? Dachshunds are prone to allergies and skin conditions which you can read about in more detail here. If all seems OK, it may be an idea to give him a bath to make sure any irritants are removed from his skin. You should also check when he had his last flea treatment and get into a regular routine.

Injury

Your dachshund could also have an injury. Check him over with your hands, especially if he’s licking one spot over and over again. He might have something sharp stuck in his paw or skin. He may have cut himself or hurt one of his legs. Give him a thorough check and, if you’re concerned, take him to the vets.

Unwell dachshund asleep on a blanket
Check over your dachshunds paws

Ageing joints

Senior dachshunds might lick painful ageing joints. They’ll try to lick the pain away but it’ll actually make things worse. Keep an eye on him and, if he’s in any discomfort, or you find any bleeding, scabbing, redness or raw skin, make an appointment to see the vet.

Health

If your dachshund is licking you or himself obsessively, he might be trying to tell you he’s unwell. Pay attention to his behaviour, and, of course, take him to the vet if you have any concerns about his health and well-being.

Should I let my dachshund lick my face?

No, you shouldn’t really let your dachshund lick your face because it’s not that hygienic. Dachshunds like licking you, but they also eat poop and other gruesome things from the garden. Think carefully before allowing your dachshund to lick babies or young children.

Why Do Dachshunds Lick Your Face? Dachshund with his tongue poking out
A wore-haired dachshund with a big tongue!

If you’re a healthy adult and don’t mind your dachshund licking your face, then it probably won’t do you much harm. But steer him away from your mouth, lips and nose because that’s where saliva germs are more easily absorbed. For health reasons, it may not be a good idea to encourage licking as a regular behaviour, but each to their own!


So, there you have it. The main reason your dachshund licks your face is to give and receive comfort and warmth from his pack. He wants to show you his love and this is the best way he knows how!

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