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When Dogs Just Don’t Give a Lick…and When They Do!

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Bolt, the Yorkie-Poo guest blogger:

Does your dog ever smother you in wet kisses by licking you all over the face, arms or legs?  Well, before you get all full of yourself and assume he does this out of pure affection, let’s shed some light on some of the other reasons why your dog may engage in such behavior.

According to, if you get an enthusiastic “kiss” from your dog, it doesn’t necessarily mean he is showing any sign of affection to you. In fact, such “smooching” can indicate obedience and reverence.

Sure, when a dog licks you it can equate to a tender act, especially if your dog has not seen you in awhile…whether that be just a few hours or a few days.  While that kind of licking can be seen as excitement to see you, it may also suggest that your dog wants you to return the love in kind.  He desires your affection and will do whatever it takes to get it.

Dogs also lick people out of modesty. When in social packs, dogs know that the alpha male is in charge and that the beta and omega dogs peacefully accept how things are. If your dog views you as the leader, he might communicate that to you by licking the lower half of your face…the human version of the muzzle.  In the canine world, licking the muzzle means something along the lines of appreciating and acknowledging leadership in another dog.

Does your dog need attention?  If you are busy doing other things, your dog might just lick your arm out of the blue, requesting your focused attention on him.  When dogs are puppies, they lick the mouth of their mother as a way of requesting food time.  Your dog licking you unexpectedly might mean he wants to play or, “Hey! It’s past my dinner time!

Sometimes dogs lick you as a way of pacifying themselves during periods of stress, nervousness or uncertainty.  Dogs turn to such behavior to calm themselves down.

At other times, dogs may lick to signal a health issue, especially if the licking is not contained to just people.  He may also lick random objects and furnishings throughout the home.  Sometimes licking is used to alleviate physical discomfort and pain, such as dental woes and tummy distress.  If you think your dog may be clueing you in to a health issue this way, please contact your veterinarian.

In some instances, as is often the case with me, dogs might lick you because you spilled peanut butter or something on your arm.  Just sayin’…..





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