Why Does My Border Collie Lick Me So Much? Explained

Border Collies are renowned for their intelligence, agility, and unwavering loyalty. These remarkable dogs are not only exceptional herders and workers but also cherished companions in countless households. One intriguing behavior that many Border Collie owners have observed is their tendency to lick excessively. 

While this affectionate gesture may seem endearing, it often leaves owners pondering the question: “Why does my Border Collie lick me so much?” 

In this article, we delve into the various reasons behind this behavior, shedding light on both the biological and emotional aspects. Join us as we explore the adorable habit of excessive licking and uncover the hidden meanings that lie behind it.

The Nature of Canine Communication

Before delving into the specifics of Border Collie licking behavior, it’s important to understand that dogs communicate through a combination of body language, vocalizations, and behaviors. 

Licking is just one of the many ways dogs express themselves and interact with their human counterparts. Dogs use licking as a multi-faceted tool for communication, affection, grooming, and more.

Exploring the Reasons Behind Excessive Licking

Affection and Bonding: One of the most common reasons Border Collies (and dogs in general) lick their owners is to show affection and strengthen their bond. Licking is reminiscent of the grooming behavior seen in packs, where dogs would lick each other to reinforce social bonds and establish trust.

Grooming Instinct: Dogs have inherited grooming instincts from their wild ancestors, which they express through licking. When your Border Collie licks you, they might be instinctively grooming you as a way of displaying their caretaking role within the family unit.

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Sensory Exploration: Dogs explore their environment through their senses, and their sense of taste is no exception. Licking their owners allows Border Collies to gather information about their humans, such as detecting scents, tastes, and even emotions through the chemical signals present on the skin.

Attention-Seeking Behavior: Border Collies are highly intelligent and intuitive dogs. If your furry friend realizes that licking elicits a positive response from you, they may engage in this behavior to capture your attention and affection.

Stress and Anxiety: Just like humans might engage in nervous habits when anxious, dogs may resort to excessive licking as a coping mechanism. If your Border Collie is experiencing stress or anxiety, licking can provide a form of self-soothing.

Medical Considerations: While licking is usually a harmless behavior, it’s important to rule out any underlying medical issues that might be causing excessive licking. Skin irritations, allergies, or other discomforts could be driving your Border Collie’s behavior.

Decoding Your Border Collie’s Licking Patterns

Understanding the underlying reasons for your Border Collie’s excessive licking can help you respond appropriately and strengthen the bond between you and your furry friend. Here are some strategies to decode and manage your Border Collie’s licking behavior:

Observation and Context: Pay close attention to the situations in which your Border Collie engages in excessive licking. Is it after playtime, during moments of relaxation, or when they’re seeking attention? Contextual cues can provide valuable insights into the motivation behind the behavior.

Positive Reinforcement: If your Border Collie licks you for attention, consider redirecting their behavior toward an alternative, positive action. Reward them for engaging in activities like sitting, fetching, or playing with a favorite toy.

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Regular Grooming Routine: Fulfill your Border Collie’s grooming instincts by maintaining a consistent grooming routine. Regular brushing and cleaning can help satisfy their need for grooming, potentially reducing excessive licking.

Creating Distractions: Provide mental and physical stimulation through engaging activities and toys. Puzzle toys, interactive games, and outdoor adventures can divert your Border Collie’s attention away from licking.

Consulting a Veterinarian: If you suspect medical issues are contributing to your Border Collie’s excessive licking, consult a veterinarian. A thorough examination can rule out potential health concerns and provide guidance on managing the behavior.


The endearing habit of excessive licking in Border Collies is a multi-faceted behavior with roots in their evolutionary history and their unique bond with humans. Whether it’s a display of affection, a grooming instinct, or a subtle form of communication, your Border Collie’s excessive licking carries various meanings. 

By understanding the reasons behind this behavior and taking appropriate measures, you can enhance your relationship with your beloved furry companion. Remember, every lick is a gesture of love, a connection that deepens the remarkable bond you share with your remarkable Border Collie.