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Why Does My Dog Lick My Clothes? What’s Happening + How to Stop!

Noticed your dog licking your clothes or even licking your pants specifically? It’s a behavior that can seem cute at first but then quickly becomes bothersome or raises concerns about underlying issues. Dogs lick your clothes for many reasons, including showing affection and trying to relieve anxiety. Understanding what’s happening is the first step to addressing it correctly.

In this article, we’ll explain why dogs lick clothes and what it signifies, including how to tell it’s a sign of affection or anxiety. We’ll also discuss the implications of excessive licking and then teach you how to stop your dog from licking your clothes. Whether it’s your pants they’re after or any piece of fabric you wear, we’ll guide you through this problem. Let’s begin!

Why Does My Dog Lick My Clothes?

Why Does My Dog Lick My Clothes?

Your dog licks your clothes for a range of reasons, from the simple pleasure of the taste and smell to more complex behaviors related to affection, anxiety, or even boredom. This behavior is quite common, but understanding why your dog is licking your clothes can provide insights into their emotional state and help you address any potential issues.

Dog Licking My Clothes: Affection or Anxiety?

Determining whether your dog licks your clothes out of affection or anxiety involves observing their overall behavior and context.

Signs your dog licks your clothes for affectionate reasons include a relaxed body posture, wagging tail, and occasional licks during moments of calmness or greeting. Conversely, signs of anxiety may include constant licking accompanied by other stress indicators such as pacing, whining, or showing signs of restlessness.

Affectionate licking is a dog’s way of showing love and comfort, while anxious licking can be a coping mechanism for stress or nervousness.

Why Does My Dog Lick My Clothes Excessively?

Your dog licks your clothes excessively for a variety of reasons, including seeking attention, the comforting scent of their owner on the clothes, or underlying health issues such as anxiety or compulsive behavior.

Excessive licking can also be a learned behavior; if your dog notices that they receive attention (positive or negative) for licking clothes, they might continue this behavior. Identifying the root cause is important for dealing with this behavior.

How to Stop Dog Licking My Clothes

To stop your dog from licking your clothes, training them with a command like “leave it” can be highly effective. Here’s how to train your dog with the “leave it” command:

  1. Begin with a treat: Hold a treat in your hand and let your dog sniff it, then close your fist and say “leave it.”
  2. Wait for your dog to back off: As soon as your dog stops trying to get the treat and moves away, praise them and offer a treat from the other hand.
  3. Practice with your clothes: Place a piece of your clothing near your dog and use the “leave it” command when they start to lick. Reward them with a treat from the other hand when they obey.
  4. Increase the challenge: Practice in different situations and with various clothing items to ensure your dog understands the command in all contexts.

Training your dog with the “leave it” command helps redirect their attention away from your clothes and towards a behavior that you desire. This not only stops the unwanted licking but also reinforces your dog’s obedience and understanding of boundaries.

While a dog licking your clothes can be a sign of affection or anxiety, identifying the cause is key to addressing the behavior. You can then treat the underlying behavioral issues (anxiety, overprotectiveness, etc.) that were causing all of this to begin with. Until you address those, any positive changes you see will only be temporary.

“Well, how do I make these changes last?”

By getting your dog to truly choose to follow your direction, that’s how. I tried many times to write out how you can do that before deciding it made more sense to just link you to the free video series that explains it better than I’d ever be able to.

The series is by a man named Dan who is one of the world’s leading dog obedience trainers. In it, he teaches you how to put an end to things like your dog licking your clothes and all other problematic behavior using his fast and easy-to-follow methods.

In the first video, Dan will reveal to you why the two most common methods of dog training only doom you to failure. You can watch the video now by clicking here. Follow the proven system he’ll show you in his series and you’ll never have to spend another second worrying about why your dog licks your clothes ever again!

Why Does My Dog Lick My Pants?

Why Does My Dog Lick My Pants?

Your dog licks your pants for a variety of reasons, such as the taste of the salt from your skin, the texture of the fabric, to soothe anxiety, or simply as a gesture of affection or seeking attention. This behavior is quite common among dogs, but understanding the underlying cause can help ensure it doesn’t become excessive or a sign of underlying issues.

Why Does My Dog Lick Fabric?

Your dog licks fabric because of the intriguing textures and scents it carries. Fabrics, especially those you wear, absorb smells from the environment, your skin, and anything you’ve come into contact with, making them a treasure trove of interesting scents for your dog and their powerful nose.

Additionally, some dogs lick fabric because they find it soothing, which can be a self-comforting behavior. In these cases, you may also see your dog licking your ankles or licking your knees. Learn how to control the behavior and also treat the underlying cause by going back to the first section now.

Is It Bad for Dogs to Lick Your Clothes?

Licking clothes is not inherently bad for dogs, but it can be a concern if it becomes obsessive or is a result of anxiety, boredom, or nutritional deficiencies. Excessive licking can also lead to the ingestion of fibers or chemicals from the fabric, which could be harmful.

Watching their behavior and understanding what’s causing it is key to ensuring it remains a harmless habit.

How to Stop Dog Licking My Pants

To stop your dog from licking your pants, teaching them the “leave it” command is effective. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Introduce the command: Hold a treat in your hand, let your dog sniff it, then close your fist and say “leave it.”
  2. Reward obedience: Wait until your dog stops trying to get the treat and looks away, then praise them and give them a treat from the other hand.
  3. Practice with your pants: While wearing the pants your dog tends to lick, use the “leave it” command when they start to lick. Reward them for obeying with a treat from the other hand.
  4. Increase difficulty: Practice in various scenarios and with different clothing to generalize the command’s application.

Teaching your dog the “leave it” command not only stops them from licking your pants but also reinforces positive behavior and obedience, making it a useful command in various situations.

In summary, while dogs licking pants is a common behavior driven by curiosity, affection, or the desire for attention, it’s important to monitor and understand why your dog engages in this behavior. Through training and understanding, you can ensure this habit remains harmless or redirect it as needed to maintain a happy and healthy relationship with your pet.

I’m sure you’re ready to get started now that you have all of your questions about your dog licking clothes answered, so I’ll let you get going on things. Best wishes, and thank you for checking out our article “Why Does My Dog Lick My Clothes? What’s Happening + How to Stop!”.

The Author

KB Williams

KB Williams

Hey there! I'm a dog behavior expert and lover of travel. Since 2016, I've been sharing my knowledge of dog training and behavior while exploring the Pacific Northwest with my two rescues.