What does it mean when a dog licks your face?
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Thread: What does it mean when a dog licks your face?

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    Senior Member zgomot's Avatar
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    What does it mean when a dog licks your face?

    My dog often licks me. Just a minute ago I was standing up, having a chat with the missus when I noticed my dog was licking my leg. Then... often times he will lick my face and try to lick my mouth, especially when I wake up in the morning. As soon as he notices I start moving and twisting in the bed sheets he jumps up on teh bed and starts licking my face, my hands anything that has bear skin really.

    Is it his way of showing affection? I'm not wearing any perfume, or body lotion or anything like that.
    Last edited by zgomot; 05-15-2011 at 12:55 PM.

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    Senior Member Shiningsummer's Avatar
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    Re: What does it mean when a dog licks your face?

    I don't think anybody knows for sure why dogs lick people. There are a bunch of theories about it. Some people say it's a way for the dog to show that they're not a threat to you and that they're recognizing you as the leader. I personally just think the dog is licking your hands cuz they've got all kinds of interesting tasty flavors in between the little nooks and crannies. Same for the mouth, maybe your breath smells yummy so the dog wants to get a taste, lol. (I'm not trying to say you have bad breath or anything!) Also licking is something a dog does when they're excited. Think about it, a dog can't just say, "Oh I'm so excited to see you!" They only have certain ways to communicate, so it sounds to me like your dog is telling you in the morning that he's glad you're awake so let's eat breakfast and then go potty and then play and play and play! You are your dog's whole world so it all revolves around you! No wonder he's so excited, LOL!

    A good book to read would be "On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals" by Turid Rugaas. That might give you some insight into a lot of your dogs behaviors and help you communicate better with him.

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    Senior Member zgomot's Avatar
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    Re: What does it mean when a dog licks your face?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shiningsummer View Post
    A good book to read would be "On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals" by Turid Rugaas. That might give you some insight into a lot of your dogs behaviors and help you communicate better with him.
    I've read it and it was indeed very insightful.

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    Senior Member CricketLoops's Avatar
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    Re: What does it mean when a dog licks your face?

    I think I just finished reading in Culture Clash (by Jean Donaldson) about face licking in wolves, and how puppies do it to stimulate an older wolf to regurgitate meals. After that, face and mouth licking become part of the ritualized greeting behavior between familial wolves. That's wolf behavior, though, so take it for what it's worth.

    I have never had a well-adjusted dog (and by that I mean not suffering from fear or aggression issues where humans are concerned) that hasn't tried to lick my face occasionally. Puppies, it seems, are born as furry face-licking machines.

    Quote Originally Posted by zgomot View Post
    anything that has bear skin really.
    I've heard that bear skin is delicious.

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    Senior Member Indigo's Avatar
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    Re: What does it mean when a dog licks your face?

    If you were wearing perfume or body lotion, I don't think they would like the taste anyway. Yuk.

    When I was very young, I though gargling cologne would give me nice smelling breath. DON'T DO IT.

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    Senior Member Shiningsummer's Avatar
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    Re: What does it mean when a dog licks your face?

    Mmmm bear skin...*drools*

    When I have lotion on, my dogs LOVE to lick me. They're sick puppies, lol. Thanks for warning me about the gargling cologne thing!

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    Senior Member zgomot's Avatar
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    Re: What does it mean when a dog licks your face?

    I meant "bare" English is not my mother tongue so you will have to excuse this error.

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    Senior Member Binkalette's Avatar
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    Re: What does it mean when a dog licks your face?

    They are tasting you to see if you are ready to be eaten. *nod*

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    Senior Member GypsyJazmine's Avatar
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    Re: What does it mean when a dog licks your face?

    Quote Originally Posted by Binkalette View Post
    They are tasting you to see if you are ready to be eaten. *nod*
    Nods head in agreement.

    Chelle

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    Senior Member lil_fuzzy's Avatar
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    Re: What does it mean when a dog licks your face?

    Quote Originally Posted by Indigo View Post
    If you were wearing perfume or body lotion, I don't think they would like the taste anyway. Yuk.

    When I was very young, I though gargling cologne would give me nice smelling breath. DON'T DO IT.
    One of my dogs likes to lick me just after I've moisturised. I guess she likes the taste....

  12. #11
    Senior Member GottaLuvMutts's Avatar
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    Re: What does it mean when a dog licks your face?

    Kit licks anyone she can, pretty much without prejudice, and rather furiously. I think it is the root of her jumping problem - she's jumping to get closer to people's faces. I buy the whole regurgitation theory posted by CricketLoops.

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    Senior Member JuneBud's Avatar
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    Re: What does it mean when a dog licks your face?

    My pup wants to lick my face and hands, but his most excited and intense licking is when I'm in the shower. He sticks his head in the tub behind the shower curtain and licks the water off my legs. In the process he gets his head all wet. I'm expecting him to jump in there with me one day.

    Kodi - 17 months

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    Senior Member lisak_87's Avatar
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    Re: What does it mean when a dog licks your face?

    In my case it means "Wake up mommy! It's time to be awake now! Yaaay!"
    Proud "mama" of...
    Buzzy - 5 years old
    Luna - 3 years old

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    Re: What does it mean when a dog licks your face?

    Quote Originally Posted by JuneBud View Post
    My pup wants to lick my face and hands, but his most excited and intense licking is when I'm in the shower. He sticks his head in the tub behind the shower curtain and licks the water off my legs. In the process he gets his head all wet. I'm expecting him to jump in there with me one day.
    I had a dog that would demand to be in the shower with me. It was a stand up stall shower, just big enough for 1 person ... and a small dog, standing in the corner, licking legs and slurping up shower water. *shakes head*

    My gal rarely wakes me with kisses - but my SO ... she sits next to the face watching for breathing signs of awakening and then ... pounce lick wiggle lick wiggle lick wiggle lick wiggle lick. She also does her 'job' every night by cleaning SO's feet. I refuse to let her lick me after THAT!! (Feet = Yuck!) She does lick my face when I am crying - like she thinks it will make whatever's hurt me go away!

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    Senior Member hanksimon's Avatar
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    Re: What does it mean when a dog licks your face?

    Fact: No one knows, and no one seems to be telling :-) However, ol' supernose doesn't have that strong of a sense of taste.

    Believable fiction: Your dog licks you because he loves you. If you follow Mech and Coppinger, wolves lick higher wolves, which are usually their parents. It starts as puppies asking for food, but can become 'admiration' and love. Altho dogs don't travel in packs, they still love attention, ad licking is one way that they ask for attention. Dr. Doolittle told me this :-) and I like it *lick*

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