You’re not alone if you adore kissing, hugging, and generally snuggling your dog.

Smooches and squeezes are quite popular ways for humans to demonstrate their love for one another. And there’s nothing quite like having your beloved canine furball wrapped up in your arms while watching TV or simply relaxing on the couch.

But, while we humans like kissing to show our love… Taking a step back and observing your dog is critical:

Is it possible for your dog to like being kissed and hugged?

Is he demonstrating his love for you when he licks you?

Or is there something else he’s trying to say?

Here are the main reasons a dog licks you.

Reason #1: Instinct

First and first, it’s critical to understand that dogs (and humans) who lick each other do it out of instinct.

A dog can be taught to “kiss” as a sign of affection.

(Or, at the very least, kiss to get your attention.)

However, it’s critical to realize that the licking we think of as “kisses” from our dogs could be serving a variety of objectives.

Reason #2: They are learning about their surroundings.

Dogs learn about their environment through licking, similar to how they learn about it by sniffing. Dogs lick to investigate and understand, whether it’s to learn more about where you’ve been without him or to get a taste of what you had for lunch off your fingers.

Reason #3: Dogs Greeting Each Other

As a kind of greeting, dogs lick each other.

Frequently, the more subservient dog will demonstrate homage to the more dominant dog by licking him.

It’s yet another way for them to show their obedience.

When your dog licks you, he may be expressing his respect for you.

Reason #4: A Dog’s Sign Of Affection

Yes, dogs do kiss one other to show affection…

Yes, there’s a case to be made that your dog is also KISSING you!

Just keep in mind that, as you can see, dog kisses are more complicated forms of communication than many people realize…

… If you misread a dog’s body language and lean in to kiss the top of his head, you’ll be in trouble.

Reason #5 To avoid a fight.

To de-escalate a situation and avoid a conflict, a submissive dog may lick a more dominant dog.

Licking may signal a level of discomfort and anxiety that could progress to a BITE if the dog is very anxious.

This is one another reason why youngsters should not be allowed to hug or kiss other people’s dogs. Possibly even your own family dog!

Reason #6: For the Purpose of Pleasure

Licking is a delightful behavior for dogs, as it results in the production of endorphins.

This is why some dogs develop licking-related impulse control disorders and become preoccupied with licking.

(If you need help stopping this annoying habit, try Impulse Control, which addresses obsessive licking as well as other issues like barking, gnawing, jumping, and so on.)

This is one another reason why youngsters should not be allowed to hug or kiss other people’s dogs. Possibly even your own family dog!

Reason #7: A Stress Indicator

It’s possible that licking is an indication of stress…

Your dog is attempting to “de-escalate” a situation by licking you.

Keep an eye out for other body language clues, because if your dog’s limits are pushed any further, the situation may escalate into aggressive behavior.

It could easily escalate to a BITE, even if the dog is very obedient.

Because the dog is yelling at you to STOP.

As can be seen…

… Dog licking as a method of communication can be more nuanced than simply expressing affection.

It’s for this reason that giving hugs and kisses to unknown or unfamiliar pets isn’t a smart idea.

Also, children should be educated that dogs should never be hugged or kissed.

Even the dogs we live with may not appreciate such care…

OR AN EXCESSIVE AMOUNT OF THIS KIND OF ATTENTION.

When a dog’s limits are pushed too far, a youngster may miss the warning signs, and the family pet that frequently takes kisses from YOU may suddenly turn and nip or BITE a child who they perceive as inferior to them.

Can Dogs be taught to enjoy affection??

Yes, some dogs can be taught to regard giving and receiving kisses as a good expression of affection if they’ve been reared by your family since puppyhood.

But, just as children have different temperaments, some are shy while others are more extrovert, some are more extroverted while others remain reserved, dogs have varied temperaments as well.

Because some dogs perceive kisses and hugs as a show of dominance, breed factors paired with individual personality qualities mean that certain dogs may never like receiving them.

Adult dogs adopted from shelters or other households should be handled with caution…

Approach with caution until you’re sure the dog APPRECIATES your demonstrations of affection.

Never, ever allow a CHILD to hug your dog.