Constant licking peoples hands, etc


My maltese just started this excessive habit of licking your hands to the point where it is embarassing. She just can't seem to stop even after several no's. She just started this about a year ago. She is quite nervous at times. Could this be another nervous habit? Is she craving salt? She is on a special diet for a bladder stone problem. My vet didn't seem to know this problem. I dread company coming over, she won't leave them alone!


My dog also seems to love to lick my hands and those of others. Some people do not like it at all. I think it's his way of communicating to us. I don't know how to curb it, except to say No and mean it!

Everyone who comes to my house hopes you get an answer to this problem! I'm not sure why, but Kirby has quit licking me except for an occassional kiss. Maybe it's because I quit petting/playing when she starts licking. If she wants the attention she craves, she doesn't lick. HOWEVER, my guests aren't so lucky! GOOD LUCK!

I'm also curious about this. My Clancy (our Rescue Maltese) has this habit of licking and licking (whoever happens to be holding her) particularly when she is in the car. She just doesn't stop. I'm very hesitant about correcting her behaviour, first of all because I encourage kisses (although this gets to be a bit much when your shirt sleeve is soaked after a short car ride). I also have a difficult time correcting her because as I've said she was our rescue and she gets so nervous at the slightest hint of someone being upset. If I correct Cloud (who I've been with since he was born) he runs to me to let me know he loves me and is sorry. I say no to Clancy, but I never do it in anything approaching a sharp voice, because she reacts so fearfully. Anyway, we thought at first she licked so much in the car as a sign of nervousness because she didn't seem to be used to car trips, but she loves them now and gives me "the look" whenever she and Cloud can't come with me. But she still licks and licks until whoever is holding her is terribly uncomfortable. Sometimes distracting her works, sometimes it doesn't. I would love to hear ideas about where this habit comes from.

It is so interesting and consoling to know that others have this licking problem too. You know, come to think of it, it did start in the car, I thought because she was so nervous. Now she goes crazy even went we are relaxing in bed, just before sleep. She certainly is relaxed at that point. But the licking is like a feeding frenzy, its so obsessive! Sometimes she can lick a toy for a hour!! Shes so cute, I have a hard time telling her no. And your right about the kisses. She isn't so free with them as she is with others. Probably because I'm the mean one with the comb and Brush!

My Amanda did a lot of licking all her life, but not as much in the past year or two. While at times it was irritating, I didn't look at it as something being wrong. Maltese are very loving, affectionate dogs. I read an article one time that dogs will tend to lick those that they like because they associate licking with care and attention and affection. Their mothers licked them a lot when they were little little ones, and therefore, this is the dogs' way of conveying loving warm fuzzy feelings to others, since they can't really verbally express themselves. My Amanda not only licked hands, she loved to wash your face and whole arm. Additionally when I got out of the shower she used to lick dry my legs for me. It is not only Maltese that do this. My rescued Yorkie-mix does the same thing, and when he lick dried my legs one day when I got out of the shower I couldn't believe it. So I figure, all these licks are just signs of affection from my kids and I am most fortunate that have something that cares enough to want to take care of me and "clean" me. Like people, some dogs are more affectionate than others. I'm just grateful that there are licks and not bites.

cathy brown
Lucy too is a big "kisser." She kisses me awake in the mornings...face, hands, etc. I read (here I think) that Maltese are known as "dog of a thousand kisses," so assume that the licking is part of their nature. I notice, too, that Lucy REALLY gets into licking face and hands after I've used hand lotion or face cream. Since it's already been soaked in, I assume she likes the smell. As for visitors, Lucy even kisses people she meets on her walks given the opportunity, and doesn't seem to mind if they aren't "into being kissed." Like Rebecca, I think it's wonderful to have so much love to share and be really straightforward about giving it to family and friends alike. I see this behavior as part of Lucy's charm. So far, all my friends seem to see it the same way, so I've had no "embarrassing moments."

Karen Kalamaras
My male hardly kisses at all, he'll lick you real quick and then turn his head as if to say"Kiss? What kiss.That wasn't me". On the other hand, my female, I should have named "FRENCHIE". All this pup wants to do is lick and she'll actually try holding whatever body part it is, down with her paws so you don't move. I absolutely think it's a sign of affection,I don't mind it. With company, she's not as intense but with my male(her husband)she can lick his ears forever; go figure! I'm the type of person, that when it comes to my dogs, if you don't like them or their behavior, then don't come to my house. My home is their "CASTLE"......

Pamela and Zsa Zsa
Zsa Zsa's daddy is a big licker. He will lick legs, pant-legs, shirts, bare arms, anything. So far Zsa Zsa (almost 16 weeks old) is a face licker only--she likes to give us a bath when we wake up in the morning. Biting my feet seems to be more of a problem in this household! I'm kind of looking forward to the point where she licks a little more and calms down a little. What a precious dog! She has stolen both my husband's and my heart. One note: putting her down when she starts biting hands, etc., as someone else suggested does help to get the point across.

This is the first time I've taken part in a discussion group on the net. And no one would be surprised that it's to discuss my Snowball, my beloved Maltese, who will be 12 years old in May. Snowball, too, loves to lick -- his toys, his paws, my knees. He could just lick for hours. When I ask him for a kiss, he jumps right up and licks my face. But when he's just sitting on the bed and licking nothing in particular, I just have to say to him, Snowball, no more lickies. And he stops. He's so cute. Aren't Maltese the best.

Joanne, welcome to this wonderful web site!!! And thank you all for your advice on this subject. I now know "Baby" is a normal wonderful Maltese as all ours are. And thank you Jay for giving us the opportunity to have these discussions!!!

Copyright 1996, 1997© Maltese Only All rights reserved