Why Does A Dog Lick Your Face?

Why Does A Dog Lick Your Face?

We all love our dogs. We love their loyalty, their companionship and affection. And we definitely love their daily bursts of devotion and love. But most of us can do without the incessant licking and slobber thanks! So why do dogs lick, and specifically why does a dog lick your face?

It’s In Their Doggy Genes

Why do dogs lick faces? Simply, because licking is a normal and natural behaviour for dogs. From birth they are groomed and cared for by their mother through the gentle act of licking. Even before a pup opens their eyes, they know the familiar and safe feeling of being nurtured by their mother and her tender licks. This nurturing behaviour is then carried forward throughout a dogs life. Pet owners with more than one dog or even a cat, dog combo will notice both their pets need to groom not only themselves but each other.

To Show Affection – A Dogs Version of A Human Pat

Dogs can’t profess their love to us with verbal affirmations, or pat our heads. What they can do to show their affection is lick. From your hands, legs and feet, dogs love licking and especially your face! While it might be annoying at times, licking for affection actually releases endorphins in your dog and makes them feel calm. Dogs lick your face to let you know they love you and that they’re happy.

Communicating That You’re The Leader Of The Pack

Another reason why dogs love to lick your face is to let you know you’re the leader of the pack. Licking is a common behaviour in packs of wild dogs and whilst sometimes it can be a show of submission to other more dominant members of the pack, it is also a way to show affection for others. 

You’re Salty Skin Is Lip Smacking Good

Humans are sweaty creatures and research suggests that our pets just can’t resist that salty goodness oozing from our pores. You might especially relate to this extra “licky, slobberful” behaviour after a long days work or a session at the gym.

Is There A Little Extra Something Something on Your face?

Even the best trained and well behaved dogs can’t resist the smell and allure of lingering food on your face. As much as you may like to think that their licking is because they really love you, sometimes it can just be because you have crumbs left on your face!

How To Make It Stop

If you have an incessant face licker try to make your dog understand that it is not a desired behaviour. When your dog starts licking, stand up and walk away. Don’t communicate verbally or touch your dog as this could be misinterpreted as a reward for licking. If you consistently stand up and walk away when your dog licks, over a short period of time he will realise “I lick and they leave me!” and the licking should subside. That being said, if your dog is obsessively and excessively licking you or himself, it may be time to consult your vet. 

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