Why Does My Dog Lick My Pants? (9 Causes And Solutions)
I’m no amateur when it comes to dogs. I grew up with dogs and have had them most of my adult life. But let me tell you… When I adopted my dog Duke I had no idea just how rambunctious dogs could be! He was the first dog I actually took to dog training classes – and even the professional was blown away by how wild and full of energy he is.
Fortunately, he uses all that energy for good. Yes, he can be a handful, but at least he helps keep me young! When we have time and it’s nice out, you can find Duke, (our other dog) Bella, myself, and usually most of my family somewhere outdoors, hiking around.
And while most of us get a bit tired by the end of the day, Duke will still be running circles around us. Without a care in the world and with a huge smile on his face! That’s the kind of joy that is contagious and I love every minute that I get to hang with him.
But being a responsible pet owner goes far beyond taking a dog that’s full of energy on hikes and making sure he’s well-trained enough to not knock people over. We dog owners also need to pay attention to our good boys’ behavior and always try to understand why they may be acting a certain way. Noticing patterns or odd behaviors can help determine whether something is just silly mischief, or if there are underlying problems that might need expert intervention.
So, what about a dog that won’t leave your pants alone? Why does my dog lick my pants? The quick and easy answer is that your dog is probably licking your pants because of one or more of these reasons:
- Greeting you
- Asking for pets
- Telling you something
- Your pants have something good on them
- To learn about your day
- To relieve boredom
- Anxiety or stress
- Old habit
Dogs absolutely love to be reunited and say ‘hi’. In fact, they love to say ‘hi’ even when you haven’t been apart! Especially when they’re greeting the people they care about the most – like you!
When your good boy decides to greet you with a lick of your pants, he’s giving you a sincere and (and probably overly excited) hello.
To Get Love
Everyone loves getting some extra attention and affection, especially dogs! By licking your pants, your dog might be hoping to get some extra belly rubs and love from you.
Telling You Something
Your dog has probably already mastered the art of telling you when he needs to go potty or when he’s hungry. But what if there’s something else he wants to tell you…something he’s never been able to tell you before?
Then he’ll need to come up with another way to express himself. Licking your pants might just do the trick!
Your Pants Are Delicious!
Are you always on the move? Do you have lunch on the go and wipe your hands on your pants afterward? Or maybe you work some intriguing (to dogs) products that you brush up against and now your pants smell delicious to your good boy.
There’s also a good possibility that there’s some kind of scent in your detergent that just screams “yummy” to your dog and now he has to give your pants a lick!
Your dog learns a lot about his world through taste and scent. By licking your pants, he can gain information about what kind of things you’ve been up to recently. Pretty cool huh?
Sometimes our four-legged friends get bored or need more physical activity and mental stimulation. If they don’t get it, then boredom can have them resorting to odd behaviors to entertain themselves. Like licking your pants!
So keep an eye out for signs that your good boy needs a bit more activity in his life.
Stressed Or Anxious
Just like us, dogs also feel stress and anxiety. Different things stress out and cause anxiety in different dogs. Loud noises, being left alone for too long or the presence of a new puppy in the house are all things that could stress out your pooch.
When dogs do get stressed or anxious, they might try to self-soothe. And licking things (especially something comfortable and familiar) is a strategy many dogs will try.
You Trained Your Dog To (Say What?)
It’s possible that you may have trained your good boy to do it without even noticing. If every time he licked your pants, you patted him on the head or said: “good boy!” (even as you pushed him off) then naturally this behavior will become associated with positive reinforcement in his mind.
Now he thinks it’s what he should do. And what’s more? He thinks it is something that pleases you.
It’s Become A Habit
As you now know, there’s a variety of reasons your dog might lick your pants. So, maybe your dog had a good reason to lick your pants at one point.
But it could be that now that reason is long gone and licking your pants has just become an ingrained habit for him!
Why Did My Dog Suddenly Start Licking My Pants?
It can be alarming when your dog suddenly has a new and strange behavior. Hopefully, I can help shed some light on what’s going on.
Sickness or Injury
When dogs are ill or injured they’ll often try to hide it from the world. It’s part of their pack instinct, they don’t want to be seen as a burden to the others – even you!
However, an injured or ill dog’s behavior will often change as a result of his suffering. Many times dogs start acting strange.
If your dog has suddenly started licking your legs, watch for other clues (including other new strange behaviors) that your dog is ill or injured. And if necessary, get him to the vet as soon as you can!
Something Has Changed
Earlier, I went over the most common reasons your dog will lick your pants. It might be that one of those reasons just recently showed up in your dog’s life.
Dogs have sensitive noses and can easily pick up on these types of changes. Did you recently change detergents? Maybe you hug your new boyfriend a lot?
These are the types of changes that could make your pants smell good to your dog, or they could make your dog want to lick to investigate further.
Needs More Attention
Have you been busy with your family and your work lately, leaving less time for playtime with your good boy? There’s no doubt, that try as we might, all of us have probably fallen short for a day or two.
Your dog could just be missing interacting with you and looking for a bit more cuddles.
A New Stressor Or Cause Of Anxiety
Making big changes in the household can cause some stress and anxiety in dogs. Did you get a new puppy? Or maybe there’s been some new loud noises from the neighbors? Or your kids suddenly decided to play rough with each other and your dog?
If any of these or other stressors suddenly appeared, your pup might find comfort in licking your pants.
Is It Okay For Dogs To Lick Pants?
It’s understandable to be unsure if it’s okay for your dog to lick your pants. After all, dog saliva isn’t the most pleasant thing!
But the answer depends on why your pooch is doing it. If it’s because of stress or anxiety, then it’s probably not okay. And you’ll want to look into what’s causing this anxiety so you can help him out.
However, if your beloved pooch has accidentally been trained over time then it’ll be perfectly fine. Of course, you have to be okay with it too. I know I don’t like it when my dog, Duke, licks my pants or even worse, my bare legs!
Fortunately, he only does this a few times a year, if he did it more often I think I’d be grossed out by constantly having dog slobber all over my pants!
How Do I Get My Dog To Quit Licking Pants?
If you’re like me and don’t appreciate your dog licking you, you probably want him to stop ASAP. Check out these tips below. You should be able to find a good method or two to help you teach your dog that you don’t want him to slobber on your pants.
Find Out The ‘Why’
If you want to get your dog to stop licking your pants, the first step is to figure out why he’s doing it. I went over a variety of reasons your dog could be licking your pants.
Depending on if your dog is hoping for something tasty from your pants, trying to get an ear scratch or suffering from anxiety, or has a different reason altogether; understanding the ‘why’ will help you determine which way(s) you should use to get your dog to stop.
Use What Your Dog Already Knows
You know your dog the best and which standard commands he already knows standard, like ‘no’ and ‘off’.
Be sure you use them consistently every time your dog attempts pant-licking and be sure you’re firm when you’re doing so.
Train New Commands
It might be a good idea to teach your pup a specific command related to pant-licking, like ‘no lick’ or ‘no pants’.
This way, there should be no doubt in his mind that you don’t want him to go for your pants. Just teaching your dog this new command will help him understand what you want.
Keep Your Pants Clean
If whatever is on your pants is just too tempting for your dog then I’d suggest going for the easy and obvious solution. That would be to keep them clean! No wiping food or other intriguing things on your pants to tempt your good boy!
Give Your Dog Love And Attention
If your pup is after love and affection (or just bored!), then make sure that there are plenty of opportunities throughout the day for him to get his fill of cuddles and playtime.
Punishment isn’t usually a very effective way to train a dog. Instead, focus on positive reinforcement techniques!
Get Some Professional Help
We all hit stumbling blocks every now and again. If it feels like you have tried everything and still aren’t having success, don’t be afraid to reach out for professional help. Getting personalized advice might be the best thing for you and your dog.
So, if you feel that it’s necessary, don’t be embarrassed to reach out to your vet or hire a dog trainer who can give tailored recommendations based on their experience with dogs in similar situations!
Summary: Why Do Dogs Like To Lick Pants?
Your dog might be licking your pants for a variety of reasons. He may be trying to greet you, get some extra love, tell you something, or he may have picked up a scent that is interesting to him. It could also be due to boredom or anxiety. It’s possible that you trained him to do so without even realizing it or it may have even become a habit!
If your good boy has suddenly started, there could be a variety of reasons why, including sickness or injury. It’s also possible that something has changed in the environment like the smell of your pants, or there is a new stressor.
Remember, if you’re worried, keep an eye out for other strange behaviors, and make sure to get him to the vet if necessary!
If you want your dog to stop his pant-licking ways, start by figuring out his underlying motivation. Then, use the commands that he already knows, train him with a new command related to pant-licking, and keep your pants clean.
Finally, make sure you give your dog plenty of love and attention so that he doesn’t feel the need to lick your pants for attention or affection. Punishment isn’t necessary. If you’re having trouble getting your dog under control then don’t be afraid to reach out for professional help!
With patience and persistence, you’ll be able to get your pup off those pants in no time!