Pups often exhibit behaviors that we don’t quite understand or that we may not like. This is usually because dogs don’t communicate with words like we do, so they perform actions to try and convey a message to their parents!
It’s important, therefore, to try and understand what those actions mean.
One action that a good number of pups seem to engage in is licking their Mommy and Daddy’s feet. Some pup parents find it ticklish or somewhat exasperating, especially when it happens as they walk through the house. Still, it’s important that all odd or strange behaviors are dealt with patiently and compassionately!
Different dogs have different reasons for performing certain behaviors. Some believe that due to studies showing that pups can taste salt, pups lick their parents’ feet to lick the salt from their skin. Many have also postulated that the act is one of grooming or preening. But why would a pup groom their Mommy or Daddy?
One of the reasons, according to a study published in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology, is this. The study suggested that intimate behavior, like licking or grooming, is meant to act as a motivational tool in order to get someone to work towards a fitness goal. So when a pup licks your feet, they might want you to play with them or do some kind of physical activity with them.
There is, of course, another reason that grooming may occur – because it’s a familiar action. In pups, licking stimulates positive hormones which increase bonds and attachment between pack members and families. So the simplest reason your pup may lick your feet is because they feel safe with you and want to show you love!
Not a fan of your pup’s foot-licking habits? Distract them when they start to show this behavior and replace it with a different action that you would prefer them to do – like sitting or performing a trick! Reward the new behavior and you’re all sorted. Remember, never punish your pup for doing what feels natural to them. Do like and share this information with other pup parents!