How to Teach a Dog to Swim

How to Teach a Dog to Swim

Alright, fellow canine enthusiasts, today we’re embarking on a wet and wild adventure – teaching your furry friend how to conquer the waves!

Whether your pup’s a natural-born Michael Phelps or a bit of a landlubber, fear not, because we’ve got you covered.

Introduce your pup to shallow, calm water gradually. Provide support, use positive reinforcement, and utilize a floatation vest if needed. Monitor their comfort and safety, and always keep sessions short and enjoyable.

How to Teach a Dog to Swim
How to Teach a Dog to Swim

Now, you might be wondering, Why on earth should I teach my dog to swim?

Well, first off, it’s a bucketful of fun! Picture your pup paddling around with the purest doggy grin on its face – it’s like witnessing pure joy in action. Plus, swimming offers a whole heap of health benefits, from keeping those joints limber to giving their cardio a splashy boost.

But hey, before we chuckle our way into the water, there are some things to consider. Not every dog is born with webbed paws and a love for the open sea.

We’ll be taking a look at which breeds are more inclined to be doggy-paddle pros and which might need a little extra encouragement.

So, tighten your swim trunks (or whatever equivalent you’ve got for your pup) and let’s get ready to make a splash with your furry mate!

We’re about to turn your backyard pool or local watering hole into their very own aquatic playground. Let’s get that tail wagging and those paws paddling! πŸΎπŸ’¦

Also read: Why won’t my dog drink water?

Identifying Natural Swimmers Among Dog Breeds

Identifying Natural Swimmers Among Dog Breeds

Ahoy there, discerning dog lovers! Before we start handing out swimming caps and floaties, let’s do a quick breed check. Not all dogs are born with a built-in love for water. Some are more like the lifeguard-on-duty types, while others can’t wait to cannonball into any puddle they find.

Water-Loving Breeds

  1. Labrador Retrievers

These guys might as well have gills. Labradors are known for their affinity for water and are often seen fetching balls from lakes with boundless enthusiasm. If they had a motto, it would be: “Swim first, ask questions later.”

  • Golden Retrievers

Just like their Labrador buddies, Goldens are water babies through and through. Their luscious fur might transform them into soggy teddy bears, but they couldn’t care less.

  • Newfoundlands

You’d think these gentle giants were part fish. Newfoundlands are massive, but they swim like graceful seals. They’ll even rescue you from the deep end if you’re not careful.

  • Portuguese Water Dogs

They’ve got “water” right there in their name, so you know they’re serious about it. These dogs were originally bred to help fishermen, so they’ve got swimming in their DNA.

  • Chesapeake Bay Retrievers

With a name like that, they better know their way around the water. These rugged pups are great for folks who want a swim buddy and a hunting companion all rolled into one.

Not-So-Aquatic Breeds

  1. Bulldogs

Bulldogs may look like they belong on a surfboard, but most of them prefer the sofa to the sea. Their stocky build and short snouts make swimming a bit more challenging.

  • Basset Hounds

Those long ears might drag in the water, and their short legs won’t have them breaking any speed records in the pool.

  • Pugs

Pugs are delightful little creatures, but they aren’t known for their swimming prowess. Those adorable faces don’t do well submerged.

  • Dachshunds

They may be “wiener dogs,” but they’re not hot dogs in the water. Their elongated bodies aren’t built for aquatic adventures.

Of course, remember that every dog is unique. Some of these less water-loving breeds might surprise you with their enthusiasm once they’ve had a taste of the aquatic life.

Now that we’ve got our breed basics down, it’s time to move on to the nitty-gritty of teaching your dog to swim. Grab a towel, because things are about to get splashy! 🌊🐢

Also read: How much water should a dog drink a day?

Guiding Your Pup through Swimming: Step-by-Step Instruction

Guiding Your Pup through Swimming

Alright, sailor, it’s time to get your pup’s paws wet! Teaching a dog to swim is a bit like teaching them any new trick – patience and positive reinforcement are key. Let’s break it down, step by step:

Step 1: The Shallow Shuffle

Start in a calm, shallow area where your pup can touch the ground with all four paws. Gently guide them in and let them get used to the sensation of water. Keep the mood light and happy, offering treats and encouraging words.

Step 2: Paddle Practice

Once they’re comfortable in the shallows, encourage them to move their legs like they’re walking. It might look a bit like a hilarious underwater dance, but that’s exactly what we’re aiming for! Hold onto their belly for support if needed.

Step 3: The Gradual Dip

As your pup gains confidence, you can venture into slightly deeper water. Keep a close eye on their body language – if they seem anxious, take a step back. The goal here is to build trust and make it an enjoyable experience.

Step 4: The Fetch Challenge

For the water-loving breeds, fetch can be a fantastic motivator. Toss a favorite toy a short distance into the water and encourage your pup to retrieve it. This not only reinforces their swimming skills but also adds a fun element to the lesson.

Step 5: Exit Strategy

Teaching your pup how to get out of the water is just as important as teaching them to get in. Show them where the exit point is, whether it’s a gentle slope, steps, or a designated area for them to climb out.

Step 6: Rinse, Repeat, Reward

Practice makes perfect! Repeat these steps regularly, gradually increasing the depth of the water and the distance of their swims. Always shower them with praise, treats, and maybe even a little post-swim massage.

Remember, not all dogs will take to water like a fish. Some may need more time and encouragement, while others may become water-loving maniacs from day one. The key is to read your pup’s cues and go at their pace.

With a little patience, a splash of enthusiasm, and a lot of love, you’ll have your furry friend doggy paddling like a pro in no time. Onward to aquatic adventures! 🌊🐾

Pre-Swim Preparations: Grooming and Health Checks

Pre-Swim Preparations

Ahoy, savvy sailors! Before we set sail on our watery escapades, it’s essential to ensure your furry first mate is shipshape and ready for action. Here are some pre-swim preparations to keep in mind:

Grooming Galore:

  1. Trim Those Locks: If your pup’s sporting a fur coat fit for royalty, consider giving them a trim. Long, waterlogged fur can become heavy and cumbersome. Plus, it’s a real hassle to dry.
  • Check the Ears: For our floppy-eared friends, make sure those ears are clean and dry. Water can get trapped and lead to unpleasant ear infections.
  • Nail Inspection: Trim those nails to avoid any painful scratches while they’re paddling. You wouldn’t want your pup’s pedicure turning into a pool party disaster!

Health Checks

  1. Vet Check-Up: It’s always a good idea to have a chat with your vet before introducing your pup to the big blue. They can give the green light and offer any breed-specific advice.
  • Vaccinations and Preventatives: Ensure your pup is up-to-date on vaccinations and protected against waterborne nasties like parasites.
  • Medical Conditions: If your dog has any pre-existing health conditions, especially those affecting their joints or respiratory system, consult with your vet to see if swimming is a safe option.

Water Introductions for Puppies:

  1. Gentle Introduction: For our pint-sized pups, start with shallow, calm water. Support them gently and let them get a feel for it at their own pace.
  • Positive Associations: Associate water with good things! Treats, toys, and plenty of praise will make sure they associate the water with positive experiences.

Remember, a little prep work goes a long way in ensuring your pup’s aquatic adventure is smooth sailing. With a well-groomed, healthy pup at your side, you’re ready to hit the water with confidence. Onward, to the waves! 🌊🐾

Positive Reinforcement Techniques for Swimming Training

Positive Reinforcement Techniques for Swimming Training

Ahoy, eager trainers! Now that our pre-swim preparations are shipshape, it’s time to dive into the training process. When it comes to teaching your pup to swim, positive reinforcement is your North Star. Here’s how to make it a tail-wagging success:

1. Treats Ahoy!

Treats are your secret weapon, matey! Bring along your pup’s favorite snacks to reward them for every successful step in their aquatic adventure. They’ll soon associate the water with a bounty of tasty treasures.

2. Praise the Plunge

Shower your pup with praise and encouragement. Use your happiest, most encouraging voice to let them know they’re doing an absolutely splendiferous job. A few hearty “Good boys!” or “Good girls!” can work wonders.

3. Toy Temptations

Got a toy-crazy canine? Bring along their favorite fetchable object and use it to entice them into the water. Toss it a short distance and let them make the aquatic retrieval. It’s like a game of fetch with a splashy twist!

4. Patience, Patience, Patience

Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a swimming sensation. Take it slow, and allow your pup to set the pace. If they need a breather or a break, that’s perfectly fine.

5. Short and Sweet Sessions

Keep training sessions short and sweet, especially in the beginning. A series of brief, successful attempts is far more effective than one long, tiring session that leaves your pup feeling overwhelmed.

6. Familiarity Breeds Confidence

If your pup has a favorite blanket or toy, bring it along. Familiar scents can provide a sense of security in a new environment, making them more comfortable in the water.

7. Buddy System

If possible, introduce your pup to swimming alongside a confident, water-loving canine friend. Dogs often learn by example, and having a buddy can provide extra motivation and a sense of security.

8. Safety First, Always

Keep a close eye on your pup at all times, especially during their initial swims. Be their lifeguard and ensure they’re not overexerting themselves or becoming anxious.

With a treasure chest of treats, heaps of praise, and a sprinkle of patience, you’ll have your furry friend doggy-paddling like a pro in no time. Onward to more splashes and wagging tails! 🌊🐢

Overcoming Canine Aquaphobia: Building Confidence in Water

Overcoming Canine Aquaphobia: Building Confidence in Water

Ahoy, brave sailors and their loyal first mates! If your pup’s eyeing the water with a mix of curiosity and trepidation, fear not! We’re about to tackle the high seas of canine aquaphobia head-on. Here’s how to build confidence and turn even the most hesitant hound into a water-loving legend:

1. Gradual Introductions

Start small, matey! Begin with calm, shallow waters where your pup can touch the ground. Let them wade in at their own pace, offering plenty of praise and treats for each tiny victory.

2. Gentle Encouragement

Your encouraging words are like a guiding lighthouse in the storm. Use your most reassuring tone to let your pup know they’re safe and doing a stellar job.

3. The Towel Retreat

Have a towel or blanket handy at the water’s edge. This serves as a comfort zone for your pup. They can hop out for a breather and a cuddle if they need to regroup.

4. Swimming Lessons with a Buddy

If your pup has a more confident canine friend, bring them along for moral support. Dogs often take cues from each other, and having a buddy can make a world of difference.

5. Floatation Aids for Added Confidence

Floatation vests or life jackets can be a game-changer for nervous swimmers. They provide extra buoyancy and security, allowing your pup to focus on getting used to the water without worrying about staying afloat.

6. The Power of Play

Incorporate water play into your pup’s routine. Toss toys into shallow water or create a mini splash pad for them to explore. The more positive experiences they have with water, the more confident they’ll become.

7. Celebrate Small Wins

Every step towards conquering aquaphobia is a triumph. Celebrate even the tiniest progressions, and your pup will gain confidence in leaps and bounds.

8. Patience is the Anchor of Progress

Remember, building confidence in the water is a journey, not a race. Respect your pup’s pace, and never force them into situations that make them uncomfortable.

With these strategies in your arsenal, you’ll help your pup transform from a hesitant landlubber to a confident seafarer. Together, you’ll navigate the waters with courage and camaraderie. Onward to more aquatic adventures! 🌊🐾

Recognizing Signs of Discomfort or Distress in the Water

Recognizing Signs of Discomfort or Distress in the Water

Ahoy, vigilant shipmates! When it comes to teaching your pup to swim, safety always comes first. It’s crucial to be able to read the waves of your pup’s emotions to ensure they’re having a positive experience. Here are the key signs to watch for:

1. Paw-sitive Body Language:

  • Relaxed Posture: A calm and relaxed body indicates your pup is comfortable in the water.
  • Eager Tail Wagging: If their tail is wagging with enthusiasm, it’s a sure sign they’re enjoying themselves.

2. Subtle Signs of Discomfort:

  • Tense Muscles: If your pup’s body is rigid and tense, they might be feeling apprehensive.
  • Paw Paddling in Place: This could be a sign that they’re trying to find their footing or feeling unsure.

3. Distress Signals:

  • Whining or Yipping: Vocalizations can indicate anxiety or discomfort.
  • Flailing Movements: If your pup appears to be struggling or panicking, it’s time to intervene.

4. Head Above Water:

  • Nose and Mouth Above Water: Ensure your pup’s nose and mouth stay above the waterline. If they’re having trouble keeping their head up, it’s a sign they may need assistance.

5. Fatigue Alert:

  • Slowed Movements: If your pup starts to slow down or struggle to keep afloat, it’s time for a rest.

6. Exit Strategy:

  • Seeking the Shore: If your pup is consistently heading for the shore, it may be a sign that they’ve had enough for the day.

7. Immediate Response:

  • Reacting to Distress: If you notice any signs of distress, be prepared to step in immediately. Provide support or bring them to shallower water.

8. Post-Swim Check:

  • Fatigue or Discomfort: After swimming, observe your pup for any signs of fatigue or discomfort. A good rest and some gentle TLC may be in order.

Remember, your pup’s safety is paramount. Always keep a close eye on them and be prepared to step in if needed. With your watchful eye and a keen understanding of their body language, you’ll ensure every swim is a safe and enjoyable experience. Onward, vigilant guardians of the waves! 🌊🐾

Post-Swim Care: Drying, Cleaning, and Inspection

Post-Swim Care: Drying, Cleaning, and Inspection

Ahoy, sea-faring companions! Now that your pup has had their fill of aquatic fun, it’s time to ensure they’re shipshape and ready for whatever comes next. Here’s how to properly care for your pup after their splashy escapade:

1. Towel Time:

  • Once out of the water, give your pup a good, thorough towel dry. Pay special attention to their paws, ears, and underbelly.

2. Water in the Ears:

  • For dogs prone to ear infections, consider using a pet-safe ear cleaner or gently wipe the ears with a clean, dry cloth to remove any excess water.

3. A Fluff and a Brush:

  • If your pup has a thick coat, use a slicker brush to remove any tangles or mats. This helps prevent discomfort and allows air to circulate.

4. Post-Swim Snack:

  • A small, nutritious snack can help replenish their energy after their aquatic adventures. It’s a bit like a sailor’s hearty meal after a long voyage!

5. Freshwater Rinse:

  • If your pup swam in saltwater or in a chlorinated pool, consider giving them a rinse with fresh water to remove any residue.

6. Check for Hitchhikers:

  • Inspect your pup for any unwanted passengers like ticks or debris. Pay close attention to their paws and coat.

7. Dry and Cozy:

  • Ensure your pup has a warm, comfortable place to rest after their swim. This allows them to relax and air-dry naturally.

8. Health Inspection:

  • Take a moment to check for any signs of discomfort or unusual behavior. If anything seems amiss, consult your vet.

9. Hydration Station:

  • Offer your pup a refreshing drink of water to help rehydrate them after their aquatic exertions.

Remember, post-swim care is just as important as the swim itself. By following these steps, you’ll ensure your pup remains comfortable, healthy, and ready for their next maritime adventure. Onward to more watery escapades! 🌊🐾

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Teaching Dogs to Swim

Ahoy, fellow dog-loving captains! When embarking on your journey to teach your furry friend to swim, it’s essential to steer clear of common pitfalls that might turn your aquatic adventure into a shipwreck. Here are some blunders to avoid:

1. Forcing the Plunge:

  • Never force your pup into the water. It can lead to fear and anxiety. Always let them take the plunge at their own pace.

2. Skipping Preparations:

  • Neglecting grooming and health checks can lead to discomfort and even health issues. Ensure your pup is physically ready for the water.

3. Overexertion:

  • Dogs, especially beginners, can tire quickly in the water. Avoid overly long swimming sessions, especially in the beginning.

4. Ignoring Distress Signals:

  • Be vigilant for signs of distress in the water. If your pup is struggling or appears anxious, provide immediate assistance.

5. Rough Handling:

  • Avoid rough handling or pulling on your pup while they’re in the water. This can create fear and distrust.

6. Lack of Positive Reinforcement:

  • Failing to use positive reinforcement like treats and praise can make the experience less enjoyable and less effective as a training tool.

7. No Gradual Progression:

  • Jumping too quickly into deep water can overwhelm your pup. Gradual progression is key to building confidence.

8. Neglecting Safety Measures:

  • Always have safety gear like floatation vests on hand, especially for inexperienced swimmers or breeds prone to fatigue.

9. Leaving Pups Unattended:

  • Never leave your pup unattended near water, even if they’re experienced swimmers. Accidents can happen quickly.

10. Overlooking Post-Swim Care:

  • Skipping proper drying and cleaning can lead to discomfort, infections, and other health issues.

By avoiding these common missteps, you’ll ensure that your pup’s swimming lessons are smooth sailing, filled with joy and success. Onward to a safer and more enjoyable aquatic adventure! 🌊🐾

Evaluating Suitable Swimming Spots for Dogs

Evaluating Suitable Swimming Spots for Dogs

Ahoy, seasoned sailors and their trusty shipmates! Choosing the right spot for your pup’s aquatic adventures is crucial for a safe and enjoyable experience. Here’s how to evaluate and select the perfect swimming spot:

1. Calm Waters Are Key:

  • Opt for spots with gentle, calm waters. Avoid areas with strong currents, choppy waves, or heavy boat traffic, as they can be hazardous for your pup.

2. Shallow Entry Points:

  • Look for areas with gradual slopes, providing easy access for your pup to wade in and out of the water.

3. Dog-Friendly Facilities:

  • Seek out locations that are specifically designated or known to be dog-friendly. These spots often have amenities like waste disposal stations, water access points, and sometimes even designated off-leash areas.

4. Clean and Clear Waters:

  • Ensure the water is clean and free from any visible hazards like sharp rocks, debris, or excessive algae. Crystal clear waters are a good sign!

5. Steer Clear of Hazards:

  • Check for any potential hazards both in and out of the water. Watch out for submerged objects, strong currents, and steep drop-offs.

6. Familiarity with Local Regulations:

  • Be aware of any local regulations or rules regarding dogs in the water. Some areas may have specific restrictions or leash requirements.

7. Scoping Out the Surroundings:

  • Evaluate the area around the water for accessibility, parking options, and amenities like restrooms and shaded areas for breaks.

8. Quiet and Relaxed Atmosphere:

  • Opt for spots that offer a tranquil environment. A peaceful setting can help your pup feel more at ease and focused on their swimming lesson.

9. Consideration for Other Watergoers:

  • Be mindful of other people, dogs, or wildlife in the area. Ensure your pup’s enthusiasm for swimming doesn’t disrupt others’ enjoyment of the water.

10. Testing the Waters:

  • Before your pup takes the plunge, wade in yourself to check for any hidden hazards, water temperature, and overall safety.

By carefully evaluating potential swimming spots, you’ll ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for your furry first mate. With the right location, you’ll set sail for aquatic adventures filled with joy and cherished memories. Onward to more watery escapades! 🌊🐾

Choosing Appropriate Swim Gear for Your Canine Companion

Choosing Appropriate Swim Gear for Your Canine Companion

Ahoy, gear-savvy sailors and their four-legged first mates! Just as a seasoned mariner wouldn’t set sail without the proper equipment, your pup needs the right gear for their aquatic adventures. Here’s how to choose the perfect swim gear:

1. The Floatation Vest:

  • A floatation vest or life jacket is a must-have, especially for beginner swimmers or breeds prone to fatigue. Ensure it fits snugly but allows for comfortable movement.

2. Water-Friendly Toys:

  • Select buoyant toys designed for water play. These can be excellent motivators for your pup to dive into their swimming lessons with enthusiasm.

3. Canine Water Shoes:

  • If your pup is venturing into areas with rough or rocky terrain, consider water shoes to protect their paws.

4. Grooming Supplies:

  • Bring along a towel, pet-friendly shampoo, and a brush. These items will help keep your pup clean and comfortable post-swim.

5. Safety First:

  • Pack a canine-specific first-aid kit that includes items like antiseptic wipes, bandages, and tweezers for any minor mishaps.

6. Sun Protection:

  • If your pup will be spending extended time in the sun, consider dog-friendly sunscreen for sensitive areas like their nose, ears, and belly.

7. Portable Water and Bowl:

  • Hydration is crucial, so bring fresh water and a collapsible bowl for your pup to drink from.

8. Leash and Harness:

  • Even in designated off-leash areas, it’s a good idea to have a leash and harness on hand for any necessary restraints or emergencies.

9. Tick and Flea Prevention:

  • If you’re venturing into areas with tall grass or wooded spots, ensure your pup is protected from ticks and fleas.

10. Doggy Bag Dispenser:

  • Don’t forget waste bags for cleaning up after your pup. Keeping the environment clean is essential for everyone’s enjoyment.

With the right gear, you’ll be well-prepared for a safe and enjoyable aquatic adventure with your furry first mate. Together, you’ll navigate the waters with confidence and style. Onward to more splashes and wagging tails! 🌊🐾

Ensuring Water Safety for Dogs: Key Tips and Precautions

Ahoy, vigilant captains and their loyal shipmates! Safety at sea, or in this case, safety in the water, is of paramount importance for your furry first mate. Here are the essential tips and precautions to ensure a secure aquatic adventure:

1. Canine Life Vest:

  • A properly fitting floatation vest is your pup’s best friend in the water. It provides extra buoyancy and ensures they stay afloat, especially if they’re new to swimming.

2. Know Your Pup’s Limits:

  • Understand your pup’s swimming abilities and never push them beyond their comfort zone. Some dogs may be natural swimmers, while others may need more time to build confidence.

3. Constant Supervision:

  • Keep a close eye on your pup at all times, especially during their initial swims. Even confident swimmers can face unexpected challenges.

4. Gentle Introductions:

  • Gradual, shallow introductions are key. Allow your pup to get accustomed to the water at their own pace.

5. Exit Strategy:

  • Ensure your pup knows how to get in and out of the water safely. Provide a designated exit point, such as a gently sloping shore or steps.

6. Beware of Currents:

  • Avoid areas with strong currents, as they can be dangerous even for experienced swimmers. Opt for calm, still waters for your pup’s aquatic adventures.

7. Watch for Fatigue:

  • Keep an eye on your pup for signs of fatigue. Swimming can be exhausting, especially for beginners.

8. Water Quality Matters:

  • Check that the water is clean and free of any hazardous materials or substances. Avoid areas with visible pollution or algae blooms.

9. Buddy System:

  • If possible, have a human companion alongside you. Having an extra set of eyes can be invaluable, especially in unfamiliar waters.

10. Training for Water Entry and Exit:

  • Teach your pup how to enter and exit the water safely. This includes understanding where the shoreline is and how to navigate back to safety.

Remember, your vigilance and preparation are the keys to a safe and enjoyable aquatic experience for your pup. By following these tips and precautions, you’ll ensure smooth sailing on your watery adventures. Onward to more splashes and wagging tails! 🌊🐾


Ahoy, intrepid explorers and their faithful four-legged first mates! As we wrap up this nautical journey into teaching your pup to swim, remember that every wave, every splash, and every wagging tail is a testament to the bond you share with your furry companion.

With careful preparation, gentle guidance, and a keen eye on safety, you’ve embarked on a voyage that promises years of joyful aquatic adventures.

Whether your pup takes to the water like a natural-born sailor or needs a bit of coaxing, your patient and positive approach will lead them to newfound confidence in the waves.

From identifying natural swimmers among dog breeds to choosing the perfect swim gear, you’ve become a seasoned captain, steering your ship through the waters of canine aquatics.

You’ve learned to tailor lessons for senior dogs, avoid common mistakes, and evaluate suitable swimming spots. You’ve become a vigilant guardian of water safety, always prioritizing your pup’s well-being.

So, as you prepare to cast off for your next aquatic escapade, know that the memories you’ll make together on the high seas (or calm lakes, or friendly pools) will be treasured for a lifetime. May your adventures be filled with laughter, joy, and the boundless love that only a canine companion can bring.

Onward to more watery wonders, dear sailors, and may your tails always wag with the joy of a day well spent in the embrace of the waves. 🌊🐾

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the best age to teach a dog to swim?

The best age to teach a dog to swim is typically between 6 and 12 months. At this stage, they’re usually physically capable and open to new experiences, making it an ideal time for introduction to water.

However, individual readiness may vary, so always consider your dog’s personality and comfort level.

  • Why do dogs like swimming but not baths?

Dogs have an innate instinct for swimming, inherited from their wild ancestors. They find joy and comfort in the water, which offers a cooling sensation and a sense of weightlessness.

Baths, on the other hand, can be associated with restraint and the unfamiliar scent of cleaning products, leading to apprehension. Positive reinforcement and patience can help them associate baths with positive experiences over time.

  • Why do dogs lick you?

Dogs lick for various reasons. It’s a natural behavior that can express affection, seek attention, or convey submission. It’s also a way to explore scents and tastes, groom themselves, and even communicate discomfort or anxiety.

Understanding the context and your dog’s body language can offer insights into their specific intentions behind the licking behavior.