When you think of your dog kissing you, whether you enjoy their wet tongue rubbing your face or not, you probably feel pleasant warmth in your heart. It happens because you immediately associate this behavior with love and affection. However, have you ever wondered is it a correct way of thinking? Just because a kiss between two people indicates an intimate relationship, it doesn’t necessarily mean the same in dogs’ behavior towards people. Let’s have a deeper look into the reasons why your dog kisses you – licks your face, hands or feet.
When a puppy is born, their mother starts licking them to clean them and stimulate the right bodily development. From the moment a puppy comes to the world, they get introduced to licking as a sign of deep care from their mama. They use their mouths to discover surroundings – they bite, nibble and lick new things around them, as well as communicate with other dogs. The behavior is part of their body language and they tend to repeat it towards people.
Some experts believe that licking comes from wolves. When wolves go hunting and return to their puppies with raw pieces of meat, newborn wolves, unable yet to bite and chew, lick the meat from their mother’s mouth. Studies show the habit of licking has been passed down in the DNA, making dogs inherit it.
2. Sign of affection
Yes, there are strong signals that your dog kisses you because they are extremely glad to see you. Dogs show affection by licking their beloved humans. If they are unable to reach your face, they can lick your hands, arms or feet, any available patch of skin. For dogs, licking releases endorphins which means that it makes them happy.
As it’s well known, dogs can sense your feelings and mood. If you’re sad or upset, your dog might start kissing you to lower your stress level and cheer you up. They automatically associate licking with positive emotions and they naturally wish their humans to be happy! So yes, this actually might be a real reason why your dog kisses you.
3. You taste delicious
As simple as that! Human scent is especially interesting to dogs when you wear strong-smelling perfume or if your skin is sweaty and salty. They explore the world by tasting new objects so if your body releases an intriguing smell, your dog is especially eager to lick you. If you have noticed that your dog loves stealing your used clothes, it’s another sign of their affection, they are so addicted to your smell that they want to have a piece of you close to them.
Bored dogs are attention seekers. When they learn that you react to licking behavior by petting, talking to them or playing, they will do it again just to get your attention. If your dog feels lonely they will seek any kind of interaction with you and might use licking even if they know you won’t approve it, by saying no or pushing them away. Attention is attention, no matter if positive or negative. In order to prevent negative licking, make sure your dog has enough physical and mental activity to keep them entertained throughout the day. Have you already tried out stimulating and bonding Dogo app games?
5. Compulsive disorder
Obsessive licking may be a sign of serious health issues. It’s a rare condition but it might occur if a dog suffers from sustained stress or untreated anxiety. If you suspect that your dog developed compulsive licking habits, medical treatment might be necessary. Contact your veterinarian who will prescribe medications and advise you on further behavioral training.
Decode the context
To key to understand the licking is to observe the circumstances and pay attention to your dog’s emotional state. Does your dog willingly approach you to kiss you or are they looking away while doing it? Is the kiss accompanied by other behavior such as licking themselves or other objects? Be sure not to force the interaction. If your dog’s a kisser, they will come to you any way out of confidence and genuine affection.