Saturday, March 21, 2015

This is why your dog licks you!

Dogs like to lick our faces, a behavior that is disturbing for many dog owners and particularly non dog owners. Yet, this behavior is a demonstration of friendliness, an attempt at pacifying us and themselves, a hand (though not literally) reaching for peace.


 It’s a compliment a dog gives you, “I like you, you can be my friend.” Licking is an instinctive canine behavior that dogs use to communicate with people and other animals.

When your dog licks your face, he could be trying to send you a message, gather information about you, keep you clean, or he may simply enjoy the pleasurable sensation of licking. Licking to show affection is a functional behavior that puppies learn from their mother and littermates. Maternal licking and licking among littermates helps strengthen family bonds. A dog licking your face is expressing his affection for you and trying to strengthen the familial bond he has with you. Also dogs are innately pack animals that follow an established social order. Wild dogs use face licking to communicate respect for and submission to their pack leader. When your dog licks your face, he may be communicating that he acknowledges you as the dominant pack leader. Might be your dog is hungry. Dogs sometimes use licking to communicate that they are hungry.


Puppies lick their mothers’ lips to stimulate a regurgitation reflex so they can eat the food their mothers vomit. Like their wolf ancestors, wild dogs lick the pack leader’s face as a way of begging for food. If your dog licks your face around feeding time, he may be letting you know that he is ready to eat.


Also, it might be that your dog is curious about how you are feeling. Dogs have special receptors in the nose and mouth which they use to process and interpret the scented molecules found in human sweat. By licking your face, your dog may be able to determine whether you are happy or feeling stressed.

Does your dog lick your face? Well...my shih tzu sure does!

-shaw

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