Updated at: 19-01-2022 - By: petstutorial

We are dog lovers however, they can be a bit of a jerk. Certain behaviors they exhibit are confusing to us. But, the majority of dog behavior can be understood in a certain way when you understand where they are coming from.
If you’re a dog owner or have spent longer than two minutes, you’re probably aware that dogs are fond of licking. They love to lick many odd things, including our clothes and our faces. They also love to lick the faces other dogs. What motivates them to do this?
According to a veterinarian Dr. Karla Frazier, most dogs’ licking behavior falls into two categories: medical and behavioural. Liking faces of other dogs is a behavioural issue and can happen due to a variety of reasons.


Why Puppies Lick

If a puppy is seen licking her mother’s cheeks, it’s typically an indication that they are eager to be fed. Wild, the puppies kiss their mothers’ faces when they return from an excursion, her stomach overflowing with meat. The lick signalizes the mother to feed some of the food that she has digested to her hungry pups. The lick is gross, but very useful.
Domestic puppies exhibit similar behavior, and the same outcomes, when they have transitioned from solid to non-solid food. The puppy’s”lick” is an act of subordination which essentially signifies “please take care of me.”

Why Adult Dogs Lick Other Dogs

A variation of this puppy-like behavior can be seen in adulthood. Adult dogs are known to lick their dogs face for a variety of reasons:

  • Deference
  • Play
  • Affection


A mature dog may lick the dog’s face to demonstrate that he is submissive. Also the dog wants to show “you’re in charge, and I mean you do no harm.”
If a dog is in the presence of an individual he admires and admires, he may lick that dog’s face in order to show respect. This is particularly true when the dog who is licking approach the other dog from underneath the chin.
When you see the “respected” dog licks back it’s a sign that everything is fine and she is able to accept the other dog’s display of submission.
In nature, subordinate members of the pack will lick the dominant members of the pack to show respect. This is a crucial behavior for maintaining harmony in the pack.


Aww, your dog might also kiss another dog’s face to signal that she’s eager to play. This could happen with dogs she’s met on her first visit and with dogs she already is familiar with and enjoys. If she’s in search of playtime it’s possible she’ll kiss the dog in front of her as well as putting on the play bow or that cute pose that has her back raised and her front feet down. This is the most universal signal for dogs that they want to play. The combination of it with licking your face is your dog’s way to say “I’m friendly, let’s play!”

Affection and bonding

Sometimes, dogs lick their fur to show their affection. This is the case when they do this to us, and also when they pet other dogs.
It also aids in calming dogs and build bonds. According to trainer Victoria Stilwell, licking releases endorphins which feel pleasant to the dog that is doing the it as well as the person who receives it. This is why dogs licking each other is an effective way to bond. Wild dogs might have their pack members lick them to ensure intimacy within the group which is crucial to their survival. Domestic dogs, naturally do not have to be in groups for survival however that urge is there.
Many mammals love to lick and rub their bodies together in order to strengthen their bonds. Roger Abrantes, author of Dog Language: An Encyclopaedia of Canine Behaviour and The Evolution of Canine Social Behaviour says that grooming is an “pleasant social practice” that can help both dogs relax.


What Does it Mean If a Dog Licks Another Dog?

The appearance of your dog’s kissing another dog could be a purely expression of love, but although it is often an intimate and affectionate gesture, it has many other motives and meanings. The act of licking another dog is often an indication of status in the social world.
Friendly Behaviour and Lip Licking
If you see your dog is licking another dog’s lips, then it’s likely that he’s trying to find out more about the other dog in a casual and friendly manner. This could be your pet’s method of saying, “Hey, I’d like to get to know you better. You seem pretty great.”

Social Ranking

A dog who kisses another dog’s face may not feel being in the deciding decision-making position of who will get the first chance to use a particular item (a food item, toy etc.) at the moment. Dogs often kiss the faces of canines they think as stronger than they actually are, and are also higher up on the totem line socially. If you are licking your dog’s face your dog could be telling them, “I’m not trying to compete with you. I just want there to be peace between us.”

Maternal Interactions

If your pet is a mother dog and loves to lick the fur balls of her litter, she’s engaged in the traditional ritual of grooming her children to make sure they’re clean. Mother dogs often play with their children in order to get their bodies to pass urine and stool, since the puppies aren’t yet able to exert control over these processes. The licking of puppies is an indication of love and love between mom dogs and their pups. If a puppy is seen licking his mother’s face, it could be a method of saying”hello” and receiving her attention. Or possibly even asking for food.

Social Grooming

If a dog is allowed to lick an adult, the intention is usually to help groom. However, the intention behind grooming is often more than it. In the interactions between littermates the practice of grooming together is an opportunity to build cosy and secure emotional bonds between them. The act of licking between siblings is a method by which they can become more close. This kind of a friendly licking isn’t exclusive to littermates however. When your pet has good relationship and trust with other dogs in your home You may also notice behaviors of grooming for social purposes that are a sure indicator of their bond.



If your dog is fond of touch other dogs’ faces, don’t fret. It might seem strange to us however, your dog is doing it to show affection and affection, or even deference. Whatever the reason behind the dog-on-dog lip-licking, it’s never an issue. It’s a sure sign that he’s not trying to hurt anyone. It’s also cute and adorable.

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