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Why Is My Boston Terrier Licking So Much? 5 Likely Reasons

Written by: Krystal Facey

Last Updated on April 10, 2024 by Dogster Team

happy boston terrier dog with tongue out

Why Is My Boston Terrier Licking So Much? 5 Likely Reasons


Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca Photo


Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca


The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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The Boston Terrier is a small breed characterized by their pointy ears, tuxedo-like coat, and quirky behavior. They give off an air of confidence and majesty when you interact with them, but they will be affectionate toward their owners. Also, they have their own personalities and are predisposed to certain behaviors that are easily spotted.

With Boston Terriers, one of those behaviors may be impulsively licking you! Keep reading to dive into a few reasons why they may be acting this way.

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The 5 Reasons Your Boston Terrier Is Licking So Much

1. Reminds Them of Their Younger Days

Call it instinct.1 Puppies will lick their mothers for a few different reasons, so Boston Terriers may continue to express this behavior with their owners. Now, they are not the only breed to do this since it’s related to being young (which all dogs were at one point!). Puppies are known to lick their mothers’ faces or mouths to indicate hunger. Back in the wild, young wolves and some wild dogs would lick their mother returning from a hunt and the mother would regurgitate the meat to give to their pups that are too young to hunt on their own. They may also lick their mothers or other puppies in their litter to show affection and bond. Boston Terrier is a breed you may find doing this to their owners because now YOU are their parent.

2. A Means to Communicate

Boston Terriers may also use licking as a sign of communication, and this can be with other dogs or with people they feel friendly with. The communication may be affection but it can also be a sign of letting someone know they are feeling other behaviors too. These feelings can be something like happiness; they might start licking your face because they are very excited about going for a walk or seeing you after a long period of time. Or they might start licking you because they’re alerting you to something like an empty food bowl or they are not feeling well such as suffering from infection, inflammation, or pain.2

Believe it or not, they might be even telling you that they like your taste! Dogs like something salty and they might find your taste interesting especially when you’re sweating.

boston terrier puppy dog on man's shoulder licking his ear
Image Credit: Mary Prentice, Shutterstock

3. Submission

Since Boston Terriers and other dog breeds may lick their mothers when they are young, they might also be licking you to show you that they recognize you as their leader. It could also be a sign of respect for you as their owner.3 They will lick you to show submission in the sense of giving you the power, so to speak, in the pet/owner relationship. These dogs are prone to licking behaviors, so you will notice that they start licking your face or even your arms and legs to show you that they know who the leader is in the household.

4. Seeking Attention

Another reason Boston Terriers might begin licking you incessantly is that they feel bored and need stimulation.4 If you notice that your dog is licking you a lot, and maybe it has been a few hours since their last walk, it might be time to take them outside. They might have nothing else to play with and a lot of pent-up energy. They are trying to get your attention, and getting right up in your face and licking you is the best way they know how.

boston terrier dog licking or sniffing vet's nose
Image Credit: Ground Picture, Shutterstock

5. You Are Encouraging the Behavior

Something to think about when you notice your Boston is licking you a lot more than normal may be to look at yourself too. What this means is that you could be encouraging your dog’s behavior as well. This is especially important if you notice a behavior that you find negative or destructive that accompanies the licking. Even a negative reaction from you as long as they got your attention might be encouraging to them.

You should observe what it is that your dog is doing that might be accompanying it. For example, if you come home and let your dog jump on you and lick your face, you could be encouraging it.
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As always, if you notice your Boston Terrier is licking you way too much that it may be affecting their ability to be a well-trained dog, it’s important to understand where the behavior is coming from. Try to note what it is that makes your dog lick and try to avert that behavior.

Be observant as well if there are accompanying signs of health problems, such as drooling, oral problems, nausea, vomiting, tremors, or seizures. Always seek the help of a veterinary professional or animal behaviorist if your vet diagnoses a behavioral problem.

If you could be encouraging bad behavior, it’s important to stop it to put your dog in the best space possible. It’s also important to know that Boston Terriers are highly active and may need a lot of attention and playtime; without it, you might notice them being the not-so-cute dogs they are known to be!

Featured Image Credit: Zakharova_Elena, Shutterstock

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