How To Understand Why Rottweilers Lick So Much

Does your Rottweiler’s tongue seem to constantly sweep across your face in loving, yet slimy licks? Do you find your furniture soaked in slobber no matter how many times you wipe it down?

There’s no doubt about it – Rottweilers are professionally devoted lickers. Their affectionate kissing leaves our cheeks damp and arms drenched, though we can’t help but smile at their dedication.

But why do Rottweilers lick so much in the first place? Is frequent licking normal or a sign of concern?

While a small amount of licking is simply a Rottweiler being a Rottweiler, excessive licking can stem from a physical or mental issue needing attention.

Before breaking out the bitter spray, let’s unpack the science behind why this breed is programmed to lick everything in sight.

We’ll explore the roots of Rottweiler licking, when it warrants a trip to the vet, and actionable ways to curb obsessive slobbering before your home turns into a slip-and-slide. So grab a towel and get ready to dive into the dripping world of Rottweiler licking!

Reasons for Frequent Rottweiler Licking

Rottweilers don’t just lick for the sake of licking – there are concrete reasons behind their drooly obsession. Let’s explore some of the main motivators behind a Rottie’s slobbery kisses:


Showing Affection

For Rottweilers, licking is the equivalent of humans hugging, kissing or holding hands with loved ones.

Their licks are meant to show affection, attachment and fondness. Rottweilers will happily lick their owners, family members, other dogs in their pack, and even themselves without restraint.

Some signs your Rottweiler is licking for affection:

  • Licks your hand, face or body while cuddling.
  • Covers you in sloppy kisses when you get home.
  • Gives kisses while you pet or play together.


Licking serves an important bodily function for Rottweilers – grooming! Just like cats, Rotties rely on their tongues to keep their coats sleek and shiny.

Their licks spread protective oils across their fur. Licking also enables Rottweilers to remove debris, dirt or pesky parasites from their coats.

Mama Rotties will also lick their puppies as part of grooming and caring for them.

Some perks of a Rottie’s licking for grooming:

  • Removes knots and tangles from fur.
  • Distributes skin oils for a healthy coat.
  • Detaches ticks or fleas.
  • Keeps their beds and personal space clean.


For Rottweilers, licking goes beyond just a physical sensation – it’s an important communication tool.

Subtle licks can express things like greeting, affection, solidarity, playfulness or even appeasement during times of conflict.


Licking is soothing and self-calming for Rotties, helping diffuse stressful or tense situations.

Some communicative reasons behind Rottweiler licking:

  • Licking gently when greeting humans or other dogs.
  • Quick licks to signify they want to play or are happy.
  • Licking to say “I’m sorry” or restore peace after a spat.
  • Licking in response to scolding or discipline.

Exploring Their World

Curious Rottweiler puppies explore the world around them in part through licking behaviors.

A Rottweiler’s tongue has up to 17,000 taste buds compared to a human’s 9,000! Their tongues are packed with sensory receptors, allowing them to pick up nuanced information from their environment.

Ways licking aids a Rottweiler’s exploration:

  • Licks surfaces like floors or walls to gather taste and scent signals.
  • Learns about textures through licking – both pleasant and unpleasant.
  • Samples objects by licking before biting or chewing them.
  • Analyzes scents and chemical compounds.

Stress Relief

Studies show that licking releases feel-good endorphins in a dog’s brain – acting as a natural stress reliever.

The physical sensation and repetitive motion of licking can have a self-soothing effect for anxious Rottweilers. It’s almost like their version of stroking a worry stone or squeezing a stress ball.

Clues that a Rottie’s licking is anxiety-related:

  • Licking paws or flank repeatedly.
  • Increased licking during fireworks, thunderstorms or separation.
  • Intense licking of a blanket or toy for comfort.

So in summary, Rottweilers lick to bond, groom, communicate, learn and de-stress. Their tongues are working overtime for some very legitimate reasons! Next we’ll cover when this natural licking behavior warrants a trip to the vet.

When to Be Concerned About Excessive Licking

Rottweilers spend a good portion of their day licking as part of their normal behavior. But at what point does their licking become excessive and problematic?


Here are some red flags that your Rottweiler’s licking habits are beyond the norm:

Constant, Repetitive Licking

It’s natural for Rottweilers to self-lick during grooming sessions. But nonstop licking in the same spot over and over again could signal an obsession and anxiety. Repetitive licking can stem from boredom, stress or a neurological disorder.

Signs of obsessive licking:

  • Licking the same spot on their body for 30+ minutes at a time.
  • Intense nighttime licking that disturbs their sleep.
  • Licking the air or furniture in a trance-like state.

Licking That Causes Physical Damage

Most licking is harmless. But excessive licking on areas like paws, tail or back can cause hair loss, irritation, reddened skin and even bleeding or infection. This damage results from their rough tongue abrasively rubbing the same spot endlessly.

Physical damage to look for:

  • Visible thinning fur or bald patches.
  • Red, inflamed or bleeding skin.
  • Oozing skin lesions or hot spots from infection.
  • Ingrown hairs or thick callouses from friction.

Licking Tied to Stress Responses

Rottweilers may lick more when stressed, but it becomes unhealthy when it turns into a destructive obsessive habit.


If you notice increased paw, flank or carpet licking during events like boarding, vet visits, new people in the home or your absence, anxiety may be a contributor.

Stress-related licking behaviors:

  • Pacing and licking when left alone or pre-separation.
  • Intense licking of paws or genitals.
  • Licking floors, carpets or furniture only when stressed.

Licking Paired With Other Behavior Changes

Sometimes excessive licking accompanies other shifts like increased aggression or passivity. Sudden differences in temperament like new reactivity or fear could stem from an underlying physical or mental condition requiring treatment.

Behavior concerns to have checked out:

  • New aggression when areas like paws, ears or tail are licked.
  • Lethargy and loss of interest along with increased licking.
  • Irritability, crankiness or food guarding emerging.

If your Rottweiler’s licking has advanced beyond brief daily grooming, take notes on the context, areas licked, duration and your dog’s body language.

Also track any associated behavior changes. This will help your vet pinpoint the root cause during their exam.

Tips for Managing Rottweiler Licking

It’s tough to keep a Rottweiler’s tongue at bay completely – after all, licking is in their DNA! But you can take steps to curb excessive licking using these training and management techniques:

Provide Plenty of Exercise and Mental Stimulation


A tired dog is a well-behaved dog! Make sure your Rottie gets adequate physical and mental exercise to prevent boredom. Boredom leads to behaviors like obsessive licking for sensory stimulation.

Ways to tap their energy:

  • Daily long walks, runs or hikes.
  • Interactive toys that dispense treats or require puzzle solving.
  • Training sessions focused on commands and tricks.
  • Socialization at parks to engage their minds.

Manage Potential Stress Triggers

If you notice licking ramps up during stressful events, minimize triggers when possible to avoid anxiety building up. For example, ease separation stress by avoiding prolonged alone time.

Tips for lowering stress:

  • Keep routines consistent for a sense of normalcy.
  • Use calming aids like a Thundershirt during storms.
  • Crate train to create a safe den-like space.
  • Play calming music to muffle noisy triggers.

Reward Alternate (Incompatible) Behaviors

Redirect your Rottweiler’s licking urges onto more positive outlets like chew toys. Offer praise and treats when they lick toys instead of their paws or furniture. This incompatible behavior training curbs unwanted licking.

Alternate behaviors to reward:

  • Licking puzzle toys smeared with peanut butter.
  • Gnawing on bones or rubber chew items.
  • Playing with interactive food toy dispensers.

Check for Underlying Physical Issues

Schedule a vet visit to identify if allergies, anxiety, nausea, mouth pain or other conditions could be the motivator. Medical intervention may be needed alongside behavior training for obsessive licking habits.

Physical causes a vet can diagnose:

  • Allergy testing and allergen avoidance.
  • Anti-nausea or anti-anxiety medication.
  • Pain medication for mouth/dental issues.
  • Antibiotics and antifungals for infections.

Use Deterrent Sprays and Bitter Tastes

Anti-lick sprays provide a brief bad taste that deters licking of hot spots or problem areas. Some use lemon, apple cider vinegar or aloe flavors dogs dislike. Always monitor to ensure your Rottie doesn’t ingest anything toxic.

Effective taste deterrents:

  • Grannick’s Bitter Apple Spray
  • Veterinarian’s Best Bitter Cherry Anti-Lick Gel
  • ChewFix Anti Lick Strip

Try an Elizabethan Collar

These cone-shaped collars prevent your Rottweiler from accessing problem spots while they heal after injury or surgery. They allow air to circulate while blocking contact between tongue and wounds. Introduce the collar positively with praise and treats so your dog doesn’t resist wearing it.


Consider Behavioral Therapy for Compulsive Licking

For hard-to-break obsessive licking habits, consult a trainer or veterinary behaviorist. They can design a customized conditioning program using techniques like counterconditioning and desensitization to retrain your dog’s behavior. It requires diligent practice but can yield great results.

With some creativity and persistence, you can curb your Rottweiler’s extreme licking. Be patient during this process, as retraining engrained behaviors takes time.

If licking remains problematic, work closely with your vet to get to the bottom of the underlying issue.


Rottweilers’ tendency to lick everything in sight is both endearing and a little gross. While small amounts of licking are perfectly natural, excessive licking can be disruptive and point to medical or behavioral issues needing attention.

To recap, Rottweilers lick to show affection, self-groom, communicate, explore their surroundings and self-soothe.

But repetitive, obsessive licking that leads to wounds or is paired with other behaviors like aggression warrants an evaluation.

Anti-lick sprays, puzzle toys and training can help manage minor licking habits. But if it becomes compulsive despite your best efforts, a vet’s oversight is key.

With time and consistency using positive reinforcement and incompatible behavior training, you can temper extreme licking.

Meet your Rottweiler’s needs for exercise, mental engagement and stress relief. And shower them with praise when they lick approved toys instead of your face!

Accepting some slobber is part of coexisting with this loyal breed prone to profuse licking. Just keep plenty of towels handy, embrace your damp fate, and cherish each drooly kiss.


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