Dogs are social animals, and they rely heavily on their place in the pack in the wild. There are the alpha males and females in a wolf pack (the direct ancestor to the dog) and then there are the submissive males and females.
Dogs like to know their place, and the motions that they make have a lot to do with it. Licking is all a part of doggy communication and rank.
You are your dog’s parent, even if your dog is not a major licker. You may have one dog who can’t seem to stop licking your face, and another dog who won’t give you a lick unless you shove your face in theirs, and then all you get is a tiny little lick.
My dog only licks my face when she hasn’t seen me for a more than just a few hours, and even then it’s just a few sloppy kisses. Or she’ll lick my face when she’s nervous, like during a thunderstorm.
My dog’s brother, however, will lick your face raw every time he sees you.
Why do dogs lick then? What does it mean? In the wild, the alpha male or female in a wolf pack is given respect and love from the lower ranking wolves by the licking of their chins by the lesser wolves.
In people, it’s basically a dog telling you he loves and respects you, and he’s seeking the assurance that you know he loves you.
Dogs who are very social and crave attention tend to lick more than dogs who are a bit more dominant and self-assured. My dog will every now and then let me know that she loves her mommy with a quick lick to my face, but other than that, she seems to be content that she knows I love her.
If your dog gives you sloppy kisses all the time, rest assured that your dog not only loves you, but is letting you know that you are top dog and that they love you for it.
And if your dog isn’t much of a licker, it doesn’t mean they don’t love you, they’re just a bit more independent and don’t need that constant reassurance.
But when you least expect it, your dog will give you a kiss just to let you know they care.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian or doctor. Should you think that your pet needs medical attention, please contact your local veterinarian.