Why Does My Jack Russell Lick Me So Much?

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Different dog breeds have varying characteristics and personality traits depending on their gene combinations. If you have adopted a JRT, you might have realized that it loves licking its owner. So, why does my Jack Russell lick me so much?

Why Does My Jack Russell Lick Me So Much?

JRTs lick their owners so much because of their loyal and dependent nature towards their family members, making them lick to show affection or capture their attention without being aggressive. Keeping in mind that dogs explore the world using their mouths and noses, Jack Russell might also lick you due to the salty taste of your sweat.

However, if your JRT is licking you excessively, it could be a result of health issues, stress, or anxiety. Although it’s natural and expected for puppies to lick as they explore the world, the following reasons might make even adult JRTs lick you so much.

White and black dog looking at a camera

Anxiety

Although the hunting instincts of JRTs make them brave and ready to face challenges, they can fear and be anxious when they hear sudden loud noises such as fireworks or a storm. JRTs are also prone to an anxiety disorder that usually requires canine medication.

Since JRTs are dependent on their owners, they tend to seek comfort from their family members when they feel frightened. One way of getting this comfort from their owners is by licking them, as this helps release endorphins. In most cases, the dog will lick you shortly after the sound causing the fear.

Boredom

JRTs are highly energetic dogs and need regular exercises to help them use the excess energy. In most cases, they expend their energy by playing with interactive toys or running around in the backyard chasing small prey.

The dog can get bored if you are living in an apartment and there are no toys to play with. If the dog is well-trained, it will start licking you to let you know it needs exercise rather than developing destructive behaviors.

Salty Taste

Although it is not advisable to add salt to dog food, dogs naturally love salty tastes. However, Jack Russells don’t sweat like humans, so they can’t lick themselves to get the salty taste of sweat.

On the other hand, the human sweat is naturally salty and the skin lickable, making you a favorite salt lick.

The best way to know whether the dog is licking you for salt is if it licks you more when you come from an intensive workout such as hiking or jogging. However, if it immediately licks you when you come from a shower, the dog might not be licking you for salt.

Hunger

Most hunting dog puppies lick their mothers’ lips to demonstrate their thirst and hunger when their mothers come back home after a hunt. Keeping in mind that JRTs were originally bred as hunting dogs, they still have these instincts.

The difference is that you are their owner, and they depend on you for food. As a result, the dog will lick you to let you know that it is thirsty or hungry.

Affection

JRTs are one of the most loyal and dedicated dogs. The affectionate nature of JRTs might make them lick you as a sign of respect, love, and submission. In most cases, JRTs will lick you out of affection when you come home from your workplace, as a sign that they are happy to see you back home.

Tips to Prevent a JRT From Licking 

Although JRTs have no ill-intentions when licking you, the licking can cause skin issues or even expose your dog to bacteria that might be on your skin. Although you can’t completely prevent JRTs from licking, use the following tips to prevent excessive licking.

White and black dog showing tongue
  • Spray yourself with bitters: If the dog is licking you due to the salty taste of the sweat, you can prevent this behavior by spraying yourself with bitters such as Fooey Licking Deterrent.
  • Physically restrain the JRT: Consider holding its muzzle and then gently push it away. Usually, this lets the dog know that you are not happy with the licking.
  • Engage the dog in exercises: If the dog is licking you due to boredom, consider taking it for jogging, a long walk, or hiking.

Related Questions

What Makes My JRT Lick Me When I Stroke It?

In most cases, JRTs understand stroking as a sign of attention, love, and care, and respond by licking you as a sign of affection to affirm that the feeling is mutual.

What Makes My JRT Lick Me in the Morning?

The JRT might be licking you in the morning to greet you. Usually, you will not have spent the night together, and the dog will have missed you. The dog might also lick you in the morning before you shower due to the salty taste of the oil and sweat secretes.

Final Thoughts

JRTs are loyal and affectionate dogs, and will lick you to demonstrate their love and submission to you. They can also lick you due to boredom, anxiety, and nervousness. However, excessive licking can expose you and your dog to bacteria and health issues, so you should discourage it.