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One of the best things in life is watching your dog goes insanely happy when you come home. Dogs are never tired to give you a warm welcome home over and over again. With their classic tail wagging, excited sniffing, jumping on you, and licking your face, they show how much they’ve missed you and are happy to see you home.
But, their habit of licking can mean something more than just showing their love. Have you ever thought that dogs use this gesture as an attempt to express other things as well?
Here are seven possible reasons why dogs lick people:
7 Reasons Why Dogs Lick People
1. To Show Affection
The most obvious reason why they do this is to show their love for us. Dogs are extremely affectionate animals, showing their love in any way they can. Their brains release endorphins when licking the person they love.
This, in turn, reassures and calms them down. In other words, it’s the same sense of security and feeling a child has when kissing or hugging their parents. So, the first reason why your dog licks you is to show its love and affection.
2. As a Form of Communication
When someone mentions a communication, you probably think of sounds, words, and body language as when a dog wags its tail. So, you’d naturally think that a dog’s bark is its way to tell or warn you about something.
Even though this is probably right, there are other gestures that can also be means of communication for dogs. For instance, licking. They might lick you to tell you that they want water, food, or going for a walk.
What’s more, they can even try to cheer you up when you’re sad or sick. Who knows, maybe you just had some food left on your face and your dog noticed it. Nevertheless, you have to learn what your dog’s behavior means.
3. To Seek Attention
Dogs are like kids. They always crave love and attention and they’ll do anything to get that. If kids do sudden crazy things to notice them, dogs wag their tails, bark, jump on you, rub themselves against you, and finally lick you as their unique way of kissing.
You might notice they do this when you’re occupied with something else. So, dogs do all these activities to catch your attention. Once you notice them, make sure you rub their belly, pat them, or give them a treat. This would be your way of telling them you love them too.
4. To Show They’re Submissive
Many animals living in packs show they are submissive to the dominant members by licking them. This submissive gesture shows respect, obedience, and acts as a reminder that the dominant member is the leader.
It’s the same with dogs. They lick you to show you’re the boss. But, they can also lick other people who’ve earned their respect and love.
5. To Explore
It’s in the dog’s genes that they want to hunt and explore. They use their extremely well-developed senses of their tongue and nose to explore places, identify animate and inanimate objects, and recognize people.
Just like we use our senses to connect with nature and everything around us, dogs use their sense of smell and taste for the same purpose. So, they can use licking as a way to connect with people.
6. To Taste Us
Besides our distinctive odor, dogs use their sense of taste to recognize and remind who we are. After licking you several times, they are able to recognize the sweat and other taste markers characteristic of your body.
They connect specific taste markers such as the salt in our sweat with a specific person. So, they lick to remember who you are, until it becomes a habit.
7. As a Habit
If you encourage your lovely dog’s licking, it’ll think you enjoy it. So, the chances are it’ll continue this habit over and over again and not only with you. Your dog will do this until being told otherwise.
Therefore, if you’re not a fan of your dog’s licking habit, make sure it understands this. Ultimately, it’ll break this habit but not necessarily with everyone. Over time, the dog will understand who enjoys their behavior and who doesn’t.
Now that you know your dog’s licking can mean more than one thing, you can better understand and communicate with your loving pet.
Source Cure Joy | AKC | Ask