I wasn’t familiar with the above expression when a friend from Oklahoma brought it to my attention.  

In doing research of its origin and area commonly used I found that it has been often expressed through the years in the southeastern area of the United States.  

It is derived from observing mother cows licking the membrane off of her new born calf.  

She may not be satisfied after bathing her newborn and commence to do so again.  

Thus, the expression has come to figuratively mean:  if you don’t first succeed try, try again.

Probably most animals lick their young soon after their birth.  

Many pets, especially dogs, will lick their master’s hands.  

We don’t allow our dog to lick us on our face.  

In fact, we don’t let him eat out of a dish in which we use.

A neighbor’s little black female dog named Daisy comes to our house daily for some treats.  

Often she will lick our dog Pretty Boy’s ears.  

He’ll sit real still while Daisy cleans his ears.  

I’m not sure whether that is the maternal instinct in her or that is her way of paying for the treats.

Too many give up in attempting some worthwhile endeavor after failing in their first effort.  

They should realize that many completed tasks are only realized through trail and error.  

In sports a team of football or basketball players are drilled over and over multiple times in perfecting their plays.  

Anything worthwhile takes persistence in achieving our desired goal.