Quite often, when you return home, the first warm welcome you receive is from your pet dog. From whining to jumping to licking, they go all out to please you. Ever wondered why they lick you? Yes, because they can’t talk! Actually, there is more to it it than just that. With one message, they’re conveying many meanings. Here are seven reasons why dogs lick us.
1. Showing Affection
Dogs are affectionate animals and display their love for us in many ways, but predominantly by licking us. When dogs lick us, their brains release endorphin, which calms and reassures them. Affection is the main reason why they lick us, which is why we put it as the No. 1 reason.
Besides barking and wagging their tails, dogs communicate with us by licking. They are trying to tell us that they want something from us. Maybe they want food or water or want to go for a walk. Whatever it is, we must learn to interpret what their behavior means.
3. Attention Seeking
Dogs love to be loved. They crave for attention just as children do and will perform many antics to receive attention. They bark, wag their tail, rub themselves against us, and even land their sloppy kiss by licking us. When they do this, care for them and pet them just as you would with kids.
4. Submissive Gesture
As with all animals that live in packs, licking is a submissive gesture towards the dominant members to communicate their subordination. When they lick you, it is a way of letting you know that you are the boss! They may do this with other members of the household too.
5. Exploratory Technique
Dogs use their nose and tongue to explore objects, animate or inanimate. Just as we are connected to the world through our senses, dogs use their sense of taste to identify and recognize things around them.
6. Tasting Us
Just as dogs identify us by our odor, they can also distinctly recognize us through taste. They learn this by licking our skin, which releases salts from the pores when we sweat. Once they like the taste of an owner’s salty skin, it becomes a habit.
7. Force Of Habit
If the habit of licking a person is encouraged, the dog assumes that the person enjoys the experience. This operant conditioning makes the dog repeat the act of licking. If, on the other hand, a person discourages the dog from licking, very soon the dog understands that the person does not enjoy being licked and quickly stops the behavior.
When dogs lick us, they are doing it for one of the reasons mentioned above. If you enjoy the feeling of being licked and loved, just reciprocate and show your love for your pet. But, if you don’t like being licked, ignore and walk away from the dog.