The Explanation Behind Canine “Kisses”

by VetDepot on July 16, 2014

golden kisses blogLike it or not, there’s a good chance your dog isn’t shy about licking your face. Some people find this adorable, while others find these “kisses” a little gross. Either way, you’ve probably wondered why dogs display this behavior.

Below are four reasons why dogs choose to use their slobbery tongues:

1.) As a sensory tool: Just like touch or smell, taste is another way to explore something. Dogs may lick someone they don’t know all that well to learn more about them.

2.) To get attention: Dogs sometimes just want to remind their owners that they’re there and would love some attention. It’s like they’re saying “pet me, I’m cute!”

3.) To ask for something they want: Puppies lick their mothers prior to feeding, so some dogs might lick their humans to get something they want. These desires might include food, treats, or maybe even a walk.

4.) It’s a learned behavior: Chances are, your dog loves you and is passing along a learned behavior from his or her canine mother. Their mom licked them and now they’re licking you. Plus, many dogs have realized that licking gets them a positive reaction, so they do it more often.

If your dog’s licking becomes excessive, this may be an obsessive-compulsive behavior. Discuss any questions or concerns with your dog’s veterinarian or an animal behaviorist.

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