Have you noticed your dog licking you after you have had a shower or a bath?
Do they lick your legs, your feet, or anywhere on your body they can reach?
Does this behavior seem weird to you?
Would you like to know why your dog behaves in this way?
While there is no one reason dogs lick people when they get out of the shower, a few are the most likely.
Let’s take a look…
Why Does My Dog Lick Me After a Shower?
Your dog licks you when you get out of the shower because your skin tastes interesting, they want to give you some affection, to groom you, or they are checking you are OK after being locked in the (scary) shower cubicle.
Dogs licking people, especially their owners, is very normal.
If they do it most often when you get out of the shower, there is something about showering triggering the behavior.
Here are the most likely candidates:
- Your skin tastes nice (or interesting) after a shower.
- They missed being close to you and wanted to give you some affection.
- They were worried about you as you showered and wanted to check if you were OK.
- The dog likes drinking the water off your legs.
- They are grooming you.
- To put their scent on you.
OK, so now, let’s look at each of those reasons in more detail.
1. Your Skin Tastes Nice (or Interesting) After a Shower
Dogs explore and understand the world around them with their noses and mouths much more than humans do.
The lotion, gel, and or shampoo you use when you shower could be attractive to them, and they want to understand why your skin smells different, so they give your legs a lick.
Or it could just be as simple as something in the products you use in the shower makes your skin tasty, so they enjoy licking it.
2. They Missed Being Close to You and Want to Give You Some Affection
Most dogs love being close to their owner. Licking can be a sign of affection.
If you go into the bathroom, shut the door, and the dog has to sit outside, wishing they were inside with you.
They might be licking you to express how happy they are that you are back with them, similar to them licking you after you come home from work.
NOTE – You may find this post interesting. It looks at the question – why do dogs go crazy after a bath?
3. They Were Worried About You as You Showered and Wanted to Check if You Were OK
Some dogs can be very protective of their owners, and we must remember that dogs don’t understand what showers are.
They might feel anxious when you disappear into this hot, noisy, steamy contraption.
So when you finish your shower, they want to make sure you are OK, and they do this by licking your legs and smelling your skin.
4. The Dog Likes Drinking the Water Off Your Legs
Often, but not always, the most straightforward explanations for a dog’s behavior are the most likely.
When you get out of the shower, your skin is wet. Your dog may well just enjoy lapping it up.
5. They Are Grooming You
From a very young age, puppies learn the practice of mutual grooming with other dogs from their mothers.
This is called social grooming. They do it with other dogs but also with humans.
So yes… When you get out of your shower all nice and clean, your dog might be trying to clean you some more by covering you in their saliva!
NOTE – You might like to read this post looking at the question: why do dogs like drinking beer so much?
6. To Put Their Scent On You
Scent and smell are incredibly important to your dog, much more so than for humans.
Before you go into the shower, you will have your dog’s scent on them. Then, when you come out, you will have washed it all off.
It may be that your dog licks you after a shower to make sure you have their scent on you as part of the way they maintain a social bond with you.
Why Do They Lick Your Legs After You Shower?
As far as we know, there is no hard and fast reason why your dog licks your legs after you have a shower, rather than any other part of your body.
The most obvious and likely answer is they do it because your legs are the easiest part of you to reach.
There is a fun and easy way to determine if this is the case.
Next time you get out of the shower.
Lie down on the floor and see if they lick your legs or if they lick all over your body.
If they stick to licking your legs, then there is something they like about them, and you should probably consider this a compliment.
(You might have to get back in the shower and wash off all the dog saliva depending on how slobbery your dog is).
Before we go any further, you might find this short video interesting.
It shares some reasons why a dog might lick their owner as they hop out of the shower.
Just click to watch:
Is it OK to Let Your Dog Lick You After a Shower?
There is no definite answer here, but there are some useful points to consider.
(If you decide you don’t want your dog licking you after a shower, coming up next are some tips on how to prevent it).
Is Letting Your Dog Lick Your Skin After a Shower Risky for You?
The main risk of letting your dog lick your skin is that a dog’s saliva can have all sorts of nasty bacteria and parasites in it.
However, the chances of you being infected from this are unlikely unless your skin is damaged by a cut, scab, insect bite, rash, or something similar.
Are There Are Risks for Your Dog?
Your dog has minimal risks if they lick you after you shower.
The only possible risk is if the products you have showered with are toxic to dogs.
But even then, you would have rinsed most of it off, and any traces left on your skin are unlikely to harm your pet pooch.
How to Train Your Dog Not to Lick You After a Shower
Before we talk about training, a really easy method of stopping your dog from licking your legs after a shower is to keep them in a separate room until you are dry and have some clothes on.
In most cases, this will make it much less likely that the dog will want to lick you.
If that doesn’t work or isn’t convenient, then you need to train them out of this behavior.
When trying to train a dog not to lick, we first need to remember that licking is a perfectly natural behavior for them.
This means it might be hard to eliminate licking entirely, and you should only try to do so with good reason.
With that said, there is a simple two-step process that should be very effective with most dogs:
- Use the “No” command to stop the licking.
- Use distraction and praise to redirect the dog’s attention.
Let’s look at each step more closely:
Training and Using the “No” Command
If you have not already trained your dog to obey the no command, you should prioritize it.
Select a behavior you want them to stop doing – in this case, licking you after you have had a shower – you need to catch them in the act of doing so, say “No” in a firm voice, and physically stop them from doing it.
For example, if your dog were licking your legs or feet, you would push them away and say the “No” command clearly and firmly.
Once they understand the “No” command for licking your skin, it will be much easier to train them to understand it in a different context, such as barking or jumping up at people.
So you should work through a few different behaviors until they understand that “No” means stop what they are doing, whatever it is.
Using Distraction and Praise to Encourage A Different Behavior
After successfully using the “No” command to stop the dog from licking, you should reward and distract them.
Give them a treat, pet them, or give verbal praise, so they associate stopping with feeling good.
Then play with them, let them go outside, move them around the house, or do something similar to distract them from returning to the licking.
If you keep up with this simple two-step process, you will notice a reduction in their post-shower licking behavior.
Not only that, but if they do carry on with the licking, you will be able to stop them much more quickly.
Please note that if you struggle to stop your dog from licking, it may be because they are doing so due to stress, boredom, or a medical condition.
If this might be the case, you should do your best to fix the underlying cause and, if need be, take the dog to the vet to get checked out.
If you were struggling financially and worried about vet bills, this website lists places you can contact for help.
(If you do not live in the USA, you can use Google to search for similar help near you, there is a lot of support out there for dog owners in difficulty).
Why Do Dogs Lick People?
- Social grooming.
- Showing affection.
- Expressing empathy.
- Some humans have tasty skin.
- To gain attention.
In the same way, dogs engage in mutual grooming with other dogs. Of course, they also do so with humans.
So, yes. If your dog is licking you, it might be because it thinks you are unclean!
But it could also be a way of bonding with you. You can decide for yourself which it is!
Dogs will lick and nuzzle humans to express affection towards them.
While this may leave you covered in unpleasant and slimy dog saliva, at least it was well-intentioned!
Dogs are very smart. They can often tell when humans are sad, sick, or in pain.
What is even more awesome is they will often try to alleviate the suffering and express empathy by licking the person who is sad or sick.
Some Humans Have Tasty Skin
Dogs often lick humans because their skin tastes nice.
It might be that the person has just eaten some tasty food, or possibly that they have been sweating, and the dog likes the taste of the salty sweat.
To Gain Attention
Most dogs love getting attention from their owners, and they are clever enough to learn ways to get that attention.
If they try to get your attention by licking you and you respond by stroking them, they will learn to repeat this action in the future when they want to be petted.
(You might not realize it, but your dog is training you to behave in certain ways, just like you teach them).
Final Thoughts On Why Your Dog Licks You After a Shower or Bath
Every dog is different, and there is no hard scientific data on this question, but if your dog likes licking your skin when you get out of the shower, the most likely reasons why are:
- Your skin is tasty.
- They missed you.
- They felt anxious as you showered.
- The dog likes the water on your skin.
- They are cleaning you.
- They want to share their scent with you.
There is minimal risk to you from them doing this as long as you don’t have broken or damaged skin.
There is little to no risk of the dog being harmed by this behavior.
So it is up to you if you are happy to let them carry on doing it.
If you want them to stop, the easiest way is to keep them away from you until you are thoroughly dried and clothed after the shower.
Or you can train them not to lick in this way, but it might take a while for the training to be effective as this is a natural instinct your dog has.
Tim is a proud, vetted, and experienced dog foster carer for a charity helping dog owners escape domestic abuse.
He has years of experience training and caring for dogs, both his own and other people’s.
He is an expert in canine behavior and is highly skilled in dealing with all dogs but specializes in the difficult ones that other people may struggle with.
When he isn’t fostering dogs, he is making friends with other people’s pups!