Why do dogs lick humans? Is your dog trying to kiss you?

Narrated from: Curious Dog Facts

It is nice to believe that when your dog licks you, he or she is in fact giving you a doggy kiss. However, is that truly a sign of affection?

Now, the question here is not whether our dogs love us or not – the answer is pretty obvious, right? Research has even proven that, in fact, dogs prefer humans to canines.

However, licking is a hard thing to fathom – it is one of the main means of expression in canine language, and can be translated in a number of different ways!

First off, many dogs lick themselves when stressed – just as some people start cleaning the house when they get nervous! If your dog goes into a self-grooming fit, then the poor dear is very worried. However, this is seldom the reason to go and “kiss” the human master.

A rather more likely explanation lies in the mother-pup relationships of the canine world. When the puppies are born, one of the main responsibilities of their mother is to lick them clean. Grooming puppies is one of the main bonding activities in canine families. Afterwards, the puppies will often lick their mothers to show affection – however, licking mummy’s face has a special meaning. If the puppy licks the mouth of the mother, then it is signaling it wants food – in the wild, food is often delivered via, er, vomiting.

Another reason for “kissing” humans would be the suppressed biting instinct. That’s right - your dog wants to bite you! This is a perfectly natural form of body language in canine packs, signaling many things. However, most humans train their pets not to bite them – as a result, the canines must find alternative means to express their emotions!

Licking can also be interpreted as a sign of submission. In wolf packs, it is natural to lick and groom those you consider higher-ranked. It is a form of salute and social recognition.

Last but not least – kissing you may show how smart your dog is. Many dogs learn that when they lick your face, you respond positively – either by providing a treat, or by showing affection in turn.


As you can see, there are many reasons for a dog to kiss you. Chances are high that many of these explanataions are true for different dogs – a dog’s behavior is determined by its breed, upbringing, and individual character.

However, there is one thing in which you can be certain – the dog is showing positive emotions! Of course, your canine probably doesn’t interpret kissing the same way as humans do – but this is one of the canine ways of showing what an important part a human plays in a dog’s life!

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