Why does my dog lick me so much

Why does my dog lick me so much

Let’s face it, dogs can do a lot of weird stuff. Like following us into the bathroom, staring intently at us for no apparent reason, and sleeping on top of us in the night. But one question comes up over and over: why does my dog lick me so much?

Dog experts say there could be a number of reasons dogs lick so much

Sure, one reason dogs lick us so much is simple affection. It’s what dogs do. Short bursts of lots of licks usually mean love. That’s the most common reason for face licks. (More about love licks on this post.)

Heart symbol

But other reasons for a lot of licking can include:

  • obsessive or compulsive behavior
  • it could be stress or anxiety
  • because we taste good (sweaty and salty)
  • he’s grooming you
  • or he’s letting you know that he’s trying to avoid conflict.

OK, so why DOES my Morkie lick me so much if it's not love?

Compulsive licking

Licking a lot can be a sign that there’s something else going on with your dog. Something has caused a compulsion or even obsessive-compulsive behavior.

It’s not that likely that licking YOU ‘too much’ is caused by obsessive or compulsive behavior problems though. Dogs who lick compulsively tend to lick themselves, or some strange object like a pillow or even the wall.

Stress or anxiety licking

If he’s licking you, the couch or something else for more than a few of licks, it can mean he’s looking for stress relief. And licking can be soothing.

Maybe he hasn’t had enough exercise and is bored, or something else is causing him stress. What’s changed recently in his environment?

The yummy lick

Dogs love the taste of salt, so if we can seem like a tasty treat sometimes.

Maybe you’re just out of the shower and all of a sudden you feel that familiar little tongue on your legs. That’s a sign he’s trying to help you dry off, plus he may like the novel taste of soap. (Sometimes big dogs will actually steal soap and run off to eat it!)

Grooming licks

Like nearly all animals, dogs will groom one another as a sign of submission. Your Morkie might be showing you he’s no threat and that you’re the boss, or he might just like grooming you.

The OK now leave me alone kiss

Putting your face right up to your dog can seem aggressive to a dog; sometimes dogs will give you a quick lick or two because they know from experience, you’ll leave them alone then. It’s a passive, appeasing response.

Over-the-top dog kisses

 Want your Morkie to stop licking you so much?

Try to distract him as he approaches for kisses. His favorite toy or a little treat might do it. However, as Certified Professional Dog Trainer Nick Hof says, you DON’T want to inadvertently reinforce the licking behavior with a treat or chew. That could actually increase the licking.

One simple way to kick your dog’s licking habit is to simply to walk out of the room  when he starts. He’ll soon understand that licking too much means you’ll leave. And that’s the last thing he wants.

Two other kinds of licking: paws and the air

Paw licking

Dogs licking their feet a lot usually signals an allergy, to either food or the environment. Allergies to flea bites can also be the trigger, or a new diet. Vets say that dogs who lick or chew their paws a lot are probably dealing with allergies.

Try wiping down your Morkie’s paws with a damp cloth when you come in from outdoors to get as much pollen off as possible, and consider switching to a low-allergen food like lamb and rice.

If your Morkie is still licking his paws like mad, it’s time to talk to your Vet about allergies or some other cause.

Read more: why does my Morkie lick her paws?

Air licking

When a dog licks his own lips and looks away, or constantly flicks his tongue out, it usually means he’s stressed.

But he might lick at the air for other reasons. 

A little bit of licking can mean he’s hungry; a lot of air licking could mean gastrointestinal problemsIn fact, dog constantly licking the air could be suffering from nausea.

Or, your Morkie may lick the air or his own lips a lot to signal that he needs your assurance.

Now it’s up to you to find out the cause.


Wait, are dog kisses even SAFE?

The jury is out on this; some say they’re just fine and others are worried about dog kisses.

John Oxford, professor of virology and bacteriology at the Queen Mary University in London, warns that a dog COULD pass along bacteria, viruses, and germs of all sorts. Plus, ringworm can be passed to people from dogs fairly easily.

Common sense takes over: if your dog looks sickly or he hangs out by the garbage cans in an alley, then no, don’t do kisses on the mouth. And definitely discourage children from dog kisses since kids are more vulnerable to picking up something.

Read more about what worms you could catch from your dog: Symptoms of worms in dogs

Now there’s an app for that!

Called Dog Decoder, this app for iPhones and Androids is amazing. It can definitely help you figure out what your dog’s saying and is recommended by Vets and animal behaviorists.

The app was developed by Jill Breitner, who has spent almost 40 years studying canine body language. And bonus — it features the adorable illustrations of Lili Chin.

Why your Morkie is NOT a hybrid dog

Why your Morkie is NOT a hybrid dog

Someone’s trying to tell you that a Morkie or other designer dog is a hybrid dog? Don’t listen. Morkies and other designer pooches  are NOT hybrid dogs and they’re not necessarily any healthier thanks to “hybrid vigor.” Here’s why.


Hybrids are different species

Dogs are all the SAME species

Dogs are all the same species: Canis lupus familiaris

In the scientific world, all dogs are members of the genus Canines. Check out the direct line from the grey wolf to our dogs today.


where dogs fit in the animal kingdom


Are designer dogs HYBRIDS?

Well, actually…..There’s really no such thing as a hybrid dog… unless you’re crossing a dog and a cat.

A mule is a hybrid animal since it comes from breeding a donkey and a horse which are two different species.


donkey plus horse equals a mule

The Myth of Hybrid Vigor

Are designer dogs actually healthier?

Some fans of the mixed breed believe that the offspring of two different breeds are actually healthier than purebreds.

The theory goes that mixed breeds with their deeper gene pool – are less likely to have common genetic disorders found in virtually all purebreds. By combining two different breeds, these problems in effect, cancel one another out. But in reality, combining two different breeds can result in the problems doubling!

For example, both Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese dogs can be prone to collapsed trachea or windpipe. It’s important when breeding Morkies, that the breeder watches for this tendency in either parent.


All dogs are the same species

No matter how different they look from one another, all dogs are the same species: Canis familiaris.

All originate from the grey wolf.

Thousands and thousands of years ago, there were five distinct types of dogs:

  1. Mastiff
  2. Wolf-like dogs
  3. Greyhounds
  4. Pointer-type
  5. Sheepdogs


Over the centuries, interbreeding, genetic mutation and man’s desire to ‘refine’ certain qualities in some dogs, resulted in the 400+ distinctive dog breeds we know today.

Morkies: Designer dog or mutt?

Morkies: Designer dog or mutt?

Truth be told, the combo of a Yorkshire Terrier and a Maltese dog is a mixed breed dog or as we used to say, a MUTT. But what’s wrong with that? And why do some people insist that a Morkie is a designer dog? Or even a hybrid? What’s the difference?

yorkie plus maltese dog equals a morkie

First, let’s meet the parents

Purebreed dogs

A purebred dog is the result of 2 pure breeds from the same breed, mating. Pretty simple. This is planned, and the parents are usually carefully selected to avoid certain hereditary problems common to that breed. 

The puppies are identical in almost every way, to the parents. Everyone knows what to expect.

Purebred dogs are often registered with that country’s Kennel Club:

  • in the USA, it’s the AKC or American Kennel Club
  • Canada, the CKC or Canadian Kennel Club
  • Great Britain, it’s simply The Kennel Club

Among other things, these clubs exist to uphold the breed standards of dog. For example, the AKC standards, approved in 1964, call for: 

General Appearance: The Maltese is a toy dog covered from head to foot with a mantle of long, silky, white hair. He is gentle-mannered and affectionate, eager and sprightly in action, and, despite his size, possessed of the vigor needed for the satisfactory companion.

The standards dictate that the neck should be like this:

Neck: Sufficient length of neck is desirable as promoting a high carriage of the head.


show dog maltese

A true show dog, this Maltese meets all the breed standards.

Meet the Mutt

Parentage of the mutt is usually unknown, and the breeding is probably not planned. So of course, the size, characteristics, and temperament of the offspring are unknown too. 

Mutts are often adopted from a shelter or rescue or shared among family and friends. Typically it costs about $300 to adopt which covers neutering, vaccinations and any other medical needs the dog might have.

Mutts are great for people who want a surprise, and for people who want a unique, one-of-a-kind dog. Mutts are really trending now too, with stars like Jennifer Aniston, Kate Upton, and Ellen proclaiming undivided love for their mixed breeds. 


Top right, Ryan Gosling and his lovable mutt

Top bottom: Ellen and her mutts



And now, the Designer Dog

The key difference between a mutt and a designer dog? Planned. Designer dogs are the offspring of two different pure breeds. The mating is planned and the results are planned, or hoped for!  They’re not always 50/50. Combining different breeds doesn’t mean you will end up with the best of both, and it doesn’t mean a 50/50 split of characteristics. Lack of consistency in the dogs is one of the major hurdles for designer dogs looking to breed a new combination.

The cost of a designer dog can be quite high – typically between $1,000 and $2,000 which is usually much more than the purebred parents.

While some less-than-honest breeders of designer dogs may say their pups are registered, mixed breed or designer dogs, cannot be registered. There is no Kennel Club to hold them to account. And there is no central registry for information about the parents,  grandparents, and great-grandparents. 

maltese mix puppy

Some Maltese mix designer dogs

Maltese x Miniature Pinscher = Malti-Pin
Maltese x Miniature Schnauzer = Mauzer
Maltese x Norwich Terrier=Nortese
Maltese x Papillon = Papitese
Maltese x Pekingese = Peke-A-Tese
Maltese x Pomeranian = Maltipom
Maltese x Poodle = Malt-A-Poo
Maltese x Pug = Malti-pug
Maltese x Schipperke = Schipese
Maltese x Scottish Terrier = Scottese
Maltese x Shih Tzu = Mal-Shi
Maltese x Silky Terrier = Silkese
Maltese x Westie = Highland Maltie
Maltese x Yorkshire Terrier = Morkie

So what’s the beef with designer dogs?

If you google “Morkies” you’ll find a ton of people selling Morkie puppies, some fans and some real haters out there. Why the negative response to so-called “designer dogs?”

Some people, me included, object to ‘backyard breeders.’  These are people who are into the dog business purely for the money.  You’ve heard about them and you’ve seen the heartbreaking pictures of puppy mills. Just no excuse on earth for that kind of inhumane cruelty.

But there are other breeders who are interested to see what happens when favorites like Yorkies and Maltese, are combined. Is there anything wrong with that?  I don’t think so; after all, how did ANY dog breed come into being? From combining selected offspring from litters and breeding them with one another.

Some of us like purebred dogs, some like mutts from the pound and others want a one-of-a-kind blend… so to all the haters out there, lighten up and enjoy!  Even the most highly-bred show dog got its start somewhere!

What matters is WHERE you get your dog.

Some of my favorite books about dogs

Some of my favorite books about dogs

I was scared off reading books about dogs when I was 11. That’s when I read Old Yeller and I thought I would NEVER get over it. I mean, who writes a book about a  kid who has to shoot his best friend, a yellow dog? By now, many years (ok decades) have passed, and I’ve finally started reading books about dogs again. Here are some of my favorites.

Books about dogs - Old Yeller

The plot of Old Yeller

From Wikipedia

“In the late 1860s in Texas, young Travis Coates has been working to take care of his family ranch with his mother and younger brother, Arliss, while his father goes off on a cattle drive. When a “dingy yellow” dog comes for an unasked stay with the family, Travis reluctantly takes in the dog, which they name Old Yeller. The name has a double meaning: The fur color yellow pronounced as “yeller” and the fact that its bark sounds more like a human yell.

“Though Travis initially loathes the “rascal” and at first tries to get rid of it, the dog, a Black Mouth Cur, eventually proves his worth, saving the family on several occasions, rescuing Arliss from a bear, Travis from a bunch of wild hogs, and Mama and their friend Lisbeth from a loafer wolf. Travis grows to love Old Yeller, and they become great friends. The rightful owner of Yeller shows up looking for his dog and recognizing that the family has become attached to Yeller, trades the dog to Arliss for a horned toad and a home-cooked meal prepared by Travis’ mother, who is an exceptional cook.

“Old Yeller is bitten while saving his family from a rabid wolf. Travis is faced with the harsh decision that he must kill Old Yeller after the fight with the wolf, which he does because he cannot risk Yeller’s becoming sick and turning on the family. Old Yeller had puppies with one of Travis’ friend’s dogs, and one of the puppies helps Travis get over Old Yeller’s death. They take in the new dog and try to begin a fresh start.”

A few of my favorite books starring dogs

The  Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein.

The hero in this book is a dog called Enzo. He’ s funny, he’s philosophical and he’s obsessed with opposable thumbs. Enzo watches a lot of TV to learn about people. He also listens carefully to his owner, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming racing car driver.

As he looks back on his life, Enzo realizes that racing isn’t just about going fast; turns out, you can use some of the principals needed on the race track, to successfully navigate all of life’s ordeals.

And Denny does go through ordeals; he loses his wife and must fight for custody of his little girl. And more.

This book is mostly funny, and partly sad and moving. But as a dog lover, you’ll love it!


available at amazon


Books about dogs - Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Books about dogs - Lily and the Octopus

Lily and the Octopus, by Steven Rowley

“From the cover: When you sit down with Lily and the Octopus, you will be taken on an unforgettable ride. The magic of this novel is in the read, and we don’t want to spoil it by giving away too many details. We can tell you that this is a story about that special someone: the one you trust, the one you can’t live without.

“For Ted Flask, that someone special is his aging companion Lily, who happens to be a dog. Lily and the Octopus reminds us how it feels to love fiercely, how difficult it can be to let go, and how the fight for those we love is the greatest fight of all.”

available at amazon

Sounder, by William H. Armstrong

A family classic, Sounder was written in 1969. It is the powerful story of a poor sharecropper family in the Deep South, and the boy’s coon hound, Sounder.

When the family finally gets a break – they find some food – the Sheriff isn’t far behind. But Sounder never leaves their side.

Written for 8 to 14-year-olds, this is a timeless story of struggle, faith, loyalty, and redemption for all ages, told through the love of Sounder.


available at amazon

Sounder by William Amstrong
The Gift of Jazzy, by Cindy Adams

The Gift of Jazzy, by Cindy Adams.

Not a true classic, this book is still enjoyable and has special interest to us Morkie, Yorkie and Maltese lovers.

New York Post columnist Cindy Adams is deeply distraught over the death of her husband, and the gift of a small dog from a friend is the last thing she wants. But ultimately, Jazzy, the tiny Yorkie went from being an unwelcome surprise to a beloved family member.

Written in Cindy Adam’s trademark wise-cracking style, The Gift of Jazzy is a short read that’s funny, moving and hopeful.


available at amazon

Fifteen Dogs, by Andre Alexis.

 Imagine the ancient Greek gods, Hermes and Apollo, playing a game; they wager a bet on what would happen if dogs were given human intelligence. Would they be happier than mankind? Or less happy? 

The 15 dogs chosen by the gods are overnighting at a Toronto Vet Clinic. With human intelligence, they’re soon divided against each other. Each struggles with new thoughts and feelings and each develops a unique life. Goodreads calls it, “By turns meditative and devastating, charming and strange,” and that’s not the half of it!


available at amazon

Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis
Marley and Me, by John Grogan

Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog, by John Grogan.

Here’s one instance where the movie lived up to the book. Starring Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson. In the story, Marley is a lovable but incorrigible Lab.

He fails out of obedience school and has a habit of doing the very worst thing he can at many moments. (I love the scene where he crashes into the swimming pool at a posh real estate open house).

Heartbreakingly funny, sad and wise, Marley & Me is the story of a life lived with an exceptional dog.


available at amazon

Finding Gobi, by Dion Leonard.

Dion Leonard, an ultramarathon runner, crosses paths with a stray dog while competing in a 155-mile race through the Gobi Desert in China.

This is an incredible true story, of a tiny dog with a huge heart, and how she opened the hardened heart of her finder. Amazing, triumphant and heart-stopping – before he could take her home, Gobi went missing in the sprawling Chinese city where she was being kept. A real page-turner.


available at amazon

Finding Gobi, by Dion Leonard

And of course, who could forget these 3 classics!

How many times have you read these to a child?

Go Dog Go by P.D. Eastman

Go Dog, Go!

By P.D. Eastman and edited by Dr. Seuss. From big dogs and little dogs to red, green, and blue dogs, dogs going up and dogs going fast . . . who knew dogs were so busy?

available at amazon

Harry the Dirty Dog, by Gene Zion

Harry the Dirty Dog, by Gene Zion

Illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham, this book was first published in 1956 and remains a solid favorite. The family dog Harry is fed up with bathtiime. So he buries the bathtub scrubber and runs away from home. Will the family recognize him when he returns, dirty?

available at amazon

101 Dalmatians, by Dodie Smith.

101 Dalmatians, by Dodie Smith.

This 1956 story has been adapted dozens of times but remains the same at its core: the Dearly family’s two Dals, Pongo and Missis, give birth to 15 puppies. Newly married, the Dearlys panic, the dogs are stolen and the game is on!

available at amazon

What is it about books about dogs?

woman crying over dog bookWe know it’s just a story, but the tears come anyway.

Psychology Today says that it has to do with oxycontin. Not the drug Oxycodone, but the powerful natural hormone that works on the brain. Experiments have proven that empathy was highly correlated with the spike in oxytocin.

So we cry at movies and at sad books because oxytocin is imperfectly tuned: it doesn’t recognize that it’s “just a story” and kicks in anyway. Our sense of empathy is turned WAY up, and the tears follow. But don’t be embarrassed; empathy is a vital part of intelligence and is high among successful individuals.

(And by the way, women release more oxytocin than men, and are more empathetic. But both cry.)


Here's what I'm working on

So far, love the title 🙂

What’s YOUR favorite book starring a dog?

Share with us in the comments below. Thanks!

The feature photo comes from a painting by Albert Edelfelt [Public domain] called Good Friends (Portrait of the Artist’s Sister Bertha Edelfelt)  Click to see a larger version of this lovely work.

Smartest dog breeds: how smart is your Morkie?

Smartest dog breeds: how smart is your Morkie?

Ever wonder, ‘how smart are dogs?’ And are Morkies and their parents among the smartest dog breeds?  Most Morkie owners would tell you, when it comes to intelligence, my Morkie is Genius! but let’s find out.

Dogs are very smart, say experts. But each in their own way.

Canine Intelligence is measured on 3 dimensions

Instinctive intelligence

or a dog’s ability to perform the tasks it was bred for, such as herding, pointing, fetching, guarding, or supplying companionship. Yes, snuggling counts.

Adaptive intelligence

means a dog’s ability to solve problems on his own. In other words, the dog’s ability to independently problem solve and learn from previous experiences.

Working and obedience intelligence

refers to a dog’s ability to learn from humans. How well does he do when taught by a human? How much does he remember?

So just how smart are MORKIES?

A lot depends on how much Yorkie is in your Morkie, versus Maltese.

Yorkies originated in the terrier family. They tend to be more aggressive than many other dogs. They also tend to be smarter, more loyal and yes, louder! Terriers were bred to think and to work. It’s part of their heritage.

Yorkshire terriers may not be the Einsteins of the canine world, but they are intelligent. Very intelligent, actually, according to the Official Yorkie Guide. Tracy Barr and Peter F. Veling agree in “Yorkshire Terriers for Dummies,” saying that while they’re not up there with the smartest of the smart dogs like border collies and poodles, Yorkies’ intelligence is well above average.

from The Nest: Pets

Maltese, on the other hand, are not terriers, and so don’t have that same strong, instinctive intelligence. They were bred as lapdogs, not to work. So intelligence – obeying commands, performing tasks – just wasn’t as important in developing the breed.

morkie kissing a yorkie


If smart is defined as doing what the dog is taught, then a good argument can be made that the so-called super smart dogs, like German Shepherds, aren’t necessarily SMART, but they’re GOOD at doing what they’re told.

“Dumb” may really be independence or stubbornness, even aloofness.

Here’s how dogs compare, breed by breed. 

In his groundbreaking book, The Intelligence of Dogs, Dr. Stanley Coren, a professor of canine psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, helps us understand dog brainpower.

Through extensive testing based on the 3 dimensions of canine intelligence, he was able to rank 132 registered breeds on a smart scale.

Since his work, updated in 2006, other assessment methods have been developed. They are aligned to what Dr. Coren discovered.

The Border Collie is generally accepted as the smartest dog, across all 3 components of canine intelligence.

Yorkies rank quite high – #27 out of the 132 breeds tested. That puts him in the top 20%. 

Maltese are just about midway, ranking 59th smartest dog.

Someone has to be last 🙁  That’s the beautiful Afghan Hound, ranked at #132.

Top 10 Smartest Breeds

Border Collie
German Shepherd Dog
Golden Retriever
Doberman Pinscher
Shetland Sheepdog
Labrador Retriever
Australian Cattle Dog

10 Least Smart Breeds

Basset Hound
Chow Chow
Afghan Hound

Want to test your Morkie’s smarts?

WikiHow shows you how to conduct some standard tests that help rate your dog’s IQ. Read more about dog intelligence testing here.

The Greatest Gift

The Greatest Gift

As we approach the Christmas season, let’s take a moment to be thankful for one of our greatest gifts, our dogs. There’s simply no other animal on earth that we love as much.

Dogs are unique, in the position they’ve taken in our hearts and minds. From that mythical wolf club thousands of years ago, who captured the imagination of that Neanderthal by the fire, dogs have grown to be an integral part of our lives. And for that gift, we’re truly thankful.

He’s the funniest little guy I’ve ever met. The way he picks up random objects and tries to hide them, physically sits on a kitchen chair and eventually makes his way up to sitting on the table. He just does the funniest things.

Humans domesticated dogs and dogs domesticated humans.

Rock art depicting man hunting with dogs. Tadrart Acacus, Libya. An early cave painting in Libya of dogs chasing a deer in the Akakus Mountains. Photo courtesy of Peter Boekamp and the Bradshaw Foundation.

Why are humans and dogs so good at living together?

According to Psychology Today, dogs have a special chemistry with humans that goes back many tens of thousands of years. Researchers investigated this special evolutionary relationship from a number of different angles. Their results are surprising.

Domestic dogs are descended from wolves so recently that they remain wolves in all biological essentials, including their social behavior. Wolf packs have some intriguing parallels with human families:

They are territorial.

They hunt cooperatively.

Pack members are emotionally bonded and greet each other enthusiastically after they have been separated.

Dogs are extraordinarily attentive and have an uncanny ability to predict what their owners will do, whether getting the dog a meal or preparing to go on a walk. Experiments show that dogs and wolves can be astute readers of human body language using the direction of our gaze to locate hidden food a problem that is beyond chimps.

Dogs also seem attuned to the emotional state of their masters and express contrition when the owner is annoyed, for example. Otherwise, the capacity to express affection – unconditionally – makes the dog a valued “family member.”

Dogs acted as human’s alarm systems, trackers, and hunting aides, garbage disposal facilities, hot water bottles, and children’s guardians and playmates. Humans provided dogs with food and security. The relationship was stable over 100,000 years or so.

I have never felt forever love like this before. He makes me feel like his favorite person in the world every single day. Just the look in his eyes and his excitement when he sees me always makes my heart happy.

When humans pet dogs, their bodies release oxytocin, a hormone associated with not only happiness, but bonding and affection as well.

  • from a study conducted by J.S.J Odendaal in 2003

10 Things Your Dog Would Tell You

1. My life is likely to last 10 to 15 years. Any separation from you will be painful: remember that before you get me.

2. Give me time to understand what you want of me.

3. Place your trust in me – it is crucial to my well being.

4. Do not be angry at me for long, and do not lock me up as punishment.

5. You have your work, your entertainment, and your friends. I only have you.

6. Talk to me sometimes. Even if I don’t understands your words, I understand your voice when it is speaking to me.

7. Be aware that how ever you treat me, I will never forget.

8. Remember before you hit me that I have teeth that could easily hurt you, but I choose not to bite you because I love you.

9. Before you scold me for being uncooperative, obstinate,or lazy, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I might not be getting the right food, or I have been out too long, or my heart is getting too old and weak.

10. Take care of me when I get old; you too will grow old. Go with me on difficult journeys. Never say: “I cannot bear to watch” or “Let it happen in my absence.” Everything is easier for me if you are there, even my death. Remember that I love you.

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)