Licking other dogs in the mouth is a behavior common to most dog breeds, especially friendly and sociable dogs like Dachshunds. Aptly nicknamed hotdog, sausage dog, or wiener dog owing to their long slim bodies, Dachshunds are quite popular in many homes because they are child-friendly and get along with other dogs. One of the many ways that Dachshunds interact with other dogs is by licking them in the mouth. Due to their amicable disposition, it might be natural to assume that licking means they are playing. But while this is a possible reason, depending on the context of the licking and the relationship between your Dachshund and the dog being licked, the behavior could have varying meanings. To figure out why your pooch is licking other dogs in the mouth, keep reading below.
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The Root of the Behavior
As mentioned above, Dachshunds are playful, friendly, and sociable dogs, even more so during puppyhood. If your Dachshund is still a pup, his age might be the most likely reason why he is licking other dogs in the mouth. While licking even among dog circles is not considered proper etiquette, adult dogs are tolerant of it when it comes from pups. Even breeds of dogs that are thought to be intolerant and ferocious cannot deny a puppy the need for a lick or other playful behavior like ear biting or climbing all over an adult dog’s head and back. It is almost as though adult dogs are aware that puppies don’t know any better, so they give them extra attention and allow them the leeway to learn and mature. Once your dog is past puppyhood, however, the dog being licked might not be as tolerant of the behavior and might even react aggressively. Licking other dogs in the mouth may also be a behavior born out of instinct. Like all other puppies, Dachshund puppies lick the mouths of their mothers. The licking encourages mother dog to regurgitate into the mouth of her young ones, thus providing them with solid foods.
Dog experts believe that this instinct does not disappear hence when you see your Dachshund licking another dog in the mouth, it may be just out of instinct and nothing more. Arden Moore, a television personality, author, and dog behavior consultant, explains that a dog will lick another dog’s mouth as a way of displaying peaceful intent such as when one dog is more dominant and the other one submissive. If your dog is the submissive one, licking is his way of telling his companion that he understands and respects the pecking order. Dachshunds are small dogs and when in the company of large dogs, they may exhibit submissive behavior. The dominant versus submissive dynamic can also happen with other Dachshunds, whereby if your Dachshund feels submissive, he will lick his more dominant counterpart. Arden Moore also says that this behavior is common among dogs that have had a long relationship. Therefore, if your Dachshund has had other dog companions for a while, licking could just be his way of showing camaraderie.
Encouraging the Behavior
To decide whether you want to encourage or discourage your Dachshund licking other dogs in the mouth, consider the following factors: Is he a puppy? Is he well socialized? Is he safe? Is he licking obsessively? Puppyhood is a stage of exploration and licking other dogs is your pup’s way of bonding with his adult clan and learning his environment. This should be encouraged. However, if it is not safe, you should not encourage your Dachshund, whether puppy or adult, to lick another dog in the mouth.
Some dogs have a sour temperament and will growl, snap, or even bite if they don’t want to be licked. If you notice such signs, separate the two dogs at once. Obsessive licking is not normal, especially in adulthood, and it could mean that your dog is not well socialized or that he is bored. If your Dachshund is a rescue, he may not have been trained on how to interact with other dogs and boundaries may be a foreign concept to him. He may find that other dogs are not appreciative of his licking. Training methods that incorporate a positive interrupter can help him to stop licking and to replace the behavior with other behaviors that you choose to reinforce.
Other Solutions and Considerations
Some dog experts believe that canines that have a bond of trust mind each other’s welfare. Dog consultant, Arden Moore, for instance, believes that dogs can detect disease or discomfort in other dogs so obsessive licking may be your dog’s way of telling you that his companion needs to see a vet. The discomfort may be caused by a cut, tumor, or other illnesses. Normal licking is different from obsessive licking because it is brief and the other dog doesn’t seem to mind it. When you try to stop the behavior, your Dachshund may stop for a while only to resume shortly after. Another indication that the other dog is sick is if your Dachshund seems to have started licking only recently. You should act immediately by taking the other dog to the vet to rule out any medical issues.
Only by observing your Dachshund keenly can you tell for sure why he is licking another dog in the mouth. If you determine that the licking is playful or about socialization, you have nothing to worry about. But if the licking is too frequent or prolonged, there could be medical or behavioral reasons at play and you should consult the appropriate dog experts.