The majority (52%) of UK dog owners allow their dog to lick them on the face, according to a new survey commissioned by luxury pet specialists Lords and Labradors. The study asked 2,000 UK dog owners to share how much they spoil their dogs on a daily basis.
It was found that the three behaviours up for debate are; letting your dog sleep in the same bed as you, allowing them to lick your face, and sharing your food with them.
Would You Accept a Smooch from Your Pooch?
Findings revealed that more than half (52%) of UK dog owners will let their dog lick their face. Whilst 32% were strict enough to not let their pooch near their mouth.
Interestingly, attitudes towards this affectionate trait differed between men and women. 54% of women will let their dog kiss them on the face, with half of them even letting their dog lick them on the lips. This is compared to just 16% of men.
Liz Clifton, Dog Training Expert at Calm Confidence has offered her expert advice on why your dog may lick you and how to deter it, if you are trying to break the habit.
“There are some potential health risks with your dog licking your face as they can pass on viral and bacterial infections to you and your family. However, licking can help your dog calm and process their emotions or stress in the moment.
If they get excited often when they greet you or your guests, you can help them lower their base stress levels and ability to settle. The calmer you feel and behave, the calmer your dog will be.
Our dogs reflect our own emotions, feelings, and stresses, so check in to see how you’re feeling when you greet them. By taking time to calm yourself and your guests before you greet your dog, you’ll be amazed at how that can shift and reduce your dog’s licking energy.”
Eating From Your Fork?
The survey by Lords and Labradors also found that 38% of UK dog owners offer to share their food with their dog and even let them eat straight from their crockery.
However, this differed slightly between age groups. Millennials are more likely to pamper their pooch to the max, with a whopping 58% of 25–34-year-olds admitting to feeding their dog straight from their plate or even their fork! This is compared to the Boomers, who (86%) refuse to share their food with their pet.
Liz Clifton continues: “Dogs along with many animals are opportunistic when it comes to food. A couple of useful household rules to stop them eating your dinner are:
1. For the whole household to agree to no dogs at the table or even in the room whilst you’re eating.
2. Give them something better to entertain them when you’re eating, such as a Kong or toy.
3. Introduce them to a settle activity on a comfortable dog mat or bed so that they can wait there whilst you’re eating.”
UK’s Strictest Dog Owners
The research found that Norwich is the strictest city in the UK when it comes to setting boundaries with their dog, with 80% of respondents putting their foot down when it comes to sharing their food or a kiss with their pooch.
In comparison, Belfast residents have been named the most lenient dog owners in the UK. 78% in the area, allow their dog to sleep in the same bed as them, enjoying a cuddle at the end of the day. A whopping 65% also said they let their dog lick them on the face.
Over Half of Brits Snooze Next to Their Dog
The findings revealed that over half (53%) of dog owners allow their pet to sleep in the bed with them – common reasons for doing so include worrying about them getting cold, and generally just enjoying cuddling up with their pet at night.
However, 20% of those surveyed said they wish they could break the habit, with the nation concerned about implementing routines that could essentially cause seperation anxiety in their pet.
Lords and Labradors have teamed up with Jo Sellers, a Certified Separation Anxiety Pro Behaviour Consultant at Pippin Pets Dog Training, to share insight into whether letting your dog sleep on your bed causes separation anxiety or not: “Letting your dog sleep with you on your bed does not cause separation anxiety. There is no science to show this to be the case, in fact, dogs that feel close to you are more likely to have a strong attachment, and be more secure in themselves. Dogs are social sleepers, and naturally choose to be close to others and higher up, so our beds are the most perfect place for them”.
Johanna Buitelaar Warden, Founder of Lords and Labradors, commented: “Dogs are known for being man’s best friend, right? But how close are we really to our dogs and what are the lengths owners will go to, to pamper their pooches and show them affection? Our survey revealed that many dog owners are allowing their dogs to sleep in bed with them, eat off their crockery, and lick them on the face (and sometimes lips). We all love our pets, and we show that in different ways. If you don’t have a problem with your dog sleeping on your bed with you, then there is no reason to change it.