SLURP! A fresh lick from a sizeable wet tongue is a feature some Goldendoodle owners are not expecting.
SMEAR! A back windshield or a car or truck covered in smeary Goldendoodle saliva is not super pleasant to clean.
All sized of Goldendoodle from teacup to standard can be mad for licking. From faces to paws to the back windshields of cars – don’t be shocked if your Goldendoodle gets its tongue out every opportunity it gets.
There can be normal licking levels, problems expressed by licking, and sometimes just plain strange behavior by your otherwise bright and beautiful Goldendoodle.
Why does a Goldendoodle lick? The good reasons
There are plenty of common and positive reasons why your Goldendoodle might go to town with excessive licking.
It starts with… grooming.
- Goldendoodles don’t carry around a stainless steel comb or slicker brush
- They don’t use natural healthy Goldendoodle shampoos in nature
- The tongue is the best (and free) resource they have to groom and look after their own fur
- The behavior can be taught early by other dogs or by their mothers
- Sometimes when your Goldendoodle licks you they are simply being helpful and getting you looking fly with some friendly grooming!
Licking to get attention
Some of our Goldendoodles LOVE to be the center of attention. Sometimes this is a personality trait, other times, it is an understandable old survival instinct.
Licking to get attention from the Goldendoodles mother is an excellent way to get food, warmth, and other resources. It is a natural tendency that many Goldendoodles have. Sometimes they don’t shake it into adulthood.
If your Goldendoodle gives you a big lick unexpectedly – almost all of us then lavish the dog with attention. It is a super-effective strategy to get attention.
This is why many Goldendoodles lick to say hello.
As a sensory tool or to avoid using the teeth
Some Goldendoodles will lick to explore. The tongue and taste are like another set of eyes. Curious dogs sometimes go lazily, exploring with their tongue, looking for excitement.
Some dogs lick other dogs or when playing with you as a way of play fighting without using their teeth. The tongue acts as almost a substitute for biting or using the teeth, which might elicit an unwanted reaction.
Wouldn’t you rather a happy play lick than reprimand a Goldendoodle for mouthing a little too hard during play?
This licking trait is actually especially useful for play with children. Goldendoodles are good with kids, but we should remember they can be high energy and sturdy dogs with a firm bite ability. Not all kids will love the Goldendoodle face lick, particularly if unexpected.
Normalize the behavior with the child and reassure. Some kids have sensory processing issues that mean this can be a real problem or cause younger kids to panic or even lash out. Be mindful and careful with introductions of any puppy to a child.
Why does a Goldendoodle lick? The bad reasons
There are some problematic reasons why your Goldendoodle might be licking. Let’s compare to barking. All dogs bark and all dogs lick. We know, though, that there is usually a trigger or problem that needs to be addressed if there is excessive barking.
The same goes for licking. Some Goldendoodles will just lick heaps. If the licking is truly getting out of hand, is causing problems in your household, or you suspect that there may be a health issue?
A great test to consider is After a deliberate distraction, does your Goldendoodle immediately return to the problem licking behavior.
If the answer is yes, it may be time to seek advice from a pet health expert or Veterinarian.
Bad reasons that Goldendoodles lick
Issues with the paws can cause constant licking
Dogs will lick their paws, and Goldendoodles are no exception. Dirt or debris can get caught, requiring self-grooming. Sometimes it just feels right to the Goldendoodle. However, repetitive, excessive paw licking is a sign something is off.
Excessive paw licking for a Goldendoodle can be due to
- Physical damage (burns, cuts, scrapes)
- Irritation due to allergies
- Parasites, Ticks, or Bacteria
- Boredom or a behavioral issue
- Dry skin
We have an in-depth article detailing excessive paw licking for Goldendoodles and how to specifically address each concern.
Something is hurting the Goldendoodle
A Goldendoodle has limited ways of expressing that something is wrong. Sure, sometimes they love to bark – but physical communication through licking is common.
There can be something caught in the fur, a problem with the skin, an underlying sprain, or trouble with a limb.
If the onset is rapid and the licking is intense, do a full body check looking for issues.
If the onset is delayed, consider allergies, nausea, or even under or overfeeding. Making sure the Goldendoodle diet is spot on can fix a surprising amount of medical conditions that can initiate excessive licking.
There is something wrong with the Goldendoodles’ mouth
Dental health is often overlooked for dogs. Even from puppyhood, some things can go wrong that can cause pain or discomfort in a Goldendoodles’ mouth.
Like humans, puppies have a set of baby teeth and then an adult set that comes. This starts from around 6 months of age. If some baby teeth fail to fall out (happened to my Labradoodle Max) – there can be discomfort.
There might not be intense pain – but trouble in the mouth can be expressed by excessive licking.
Dry mouth caused by dehydration or food allergy is also common. Even hunger can present as excessive licking.
There is a mental problem causing excessive licking.
OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) can present in dogs (Research study). There can also be a cognitive decline (mental challenges) as your Goldendoodle ages. Some medical conditions also cause the Goldendoodle brain to send confusing signals.
A quality Veterinarian will be able to exclude other causes and figure out a treatment plan if there is a brain issue with your Goldendoodle. There may be no cure, but the Vet will recommend coping strategies.
How to stop Goldendoodle licking
The biggest challenge with excessive Goldendoodle licking is that it can be a challenging behavior to stop. Unlike other actions, the problem rarely gets bad enough to cause issues. For many owners, accepting licking as usual and concentrating on the rest of the puppy’s development is the right solution. If you do need the licking top stop read ahead.
If the cause is one of the medical reasons (bad causes), you actually have a better chance of stopping the lick tsunami.
- It's harmless to dogs and doesn't leave a stain, but the powerful taste deterrent sends a strong message to your dog.
- The perfect spray to stop chewing during curious behavior, anxiety, or boredom.
- It can also be sprayed directly on your dog to discourage hair chewing and hot spots..
- Suitable for all dogs, including teething puppies and dogs with hotspots or wounds.
If there are surfaces you want to stop being licked – a natural solution like a sour apple spray is useful. Goldendoodles eventually catch on (they don’t like the taste).
If the cause of Goldendoodle licking is directed towards humans and is attention-seeking, you will face a challenge.
The trouble that we have with innocent intent Goldendoodle licking to seek attention – is that diverting such behavior is… a bit of a nightmare.
- You need to correct the excess licking of humans using diversion.
- You also need to let the dog know that the behavior is inappropriate
- The trouble lies in that part of licking is appeasing/submissive kindness from the dog
- The dog can want to lick you as an apology for whatever made you mad (the licking)
- This is a circular problem that can be hard to break
Don’t give eye contact or a verbal response to licking ever if you need it to stop. You will need to admonish the dog using a verbal cue (UH UH, or AH! – not “no”). Sometimes you can gently push against the dog muzzle to stop the licking as it happens.
Be consistent, and the dog will eventually pick up and see some behavior change.
A reminder: Just like barking – it is normal for a Goldendoodle to lick. It would be rare to find a Goldendoodle that does not lick… pretty much everything. Ensuring the licking comes from a positive place, and there is no distress behind the action.
For many, the battle against excessive licking is never won. It can be best to embrace the slobber lifestyle and roll with the punches (licks).