You may come home from a long day at work, and your puppy runs up to you to greet you. She barks, jumps, and wags her tail with a happy expression on her face. You bend down to greet her and pet her and all of a sudden, she begins licking your face and jumping all over you. To you, this may be perceived as love and affection, and maybe that is her reason for doing it. Yet, it may be wise to understand this action so as owners we can better love and take care of our animals, each and every day.
The Root of the Behavior
Dogs, from the beginning of time, have used their mouths for communicating emotions, and thoughts. From exploring with their toys to tasting their surroundings, dogs will use their mouths in any what capacity. Yet, why do they love to lick our faces? They do this for many reasons. The first obvious reason is that your dog loves you - you are their life. Licking has been a way to show affection from the time they were born to now. It is how animals interact with each other, especially with their mothers. Licking can strengthen bonds, as it is a form of love, and they desire to show it to you. They also love licking you. It is a form of enjoyment for them, as licking releases an endorphin of pleasure, especially when what they are licking tastes good. Another reason is respect. Dogs understand the dynamics of you being their owner and their leader. You feed them, take care of them, and call the shots in any and all ways. When they lick you, they may be licking you to show you that they understand that you are the owner, the leader, and the one in charge.
Beyond the obvious reasons we know licking is for, there are subtle ones. Communication and understanding is another reason as to why your dog may be licking you. When your dog uses their tongue, they are communicating not only their affection to you, but other things too. They may be showing you that they are hungry and it is time for them to eat, or that they want something from you. They also are trying to understand you. There are receptors on the tongues of dogs and when they lick you, they are receiving information about you and how you are at the current moment. The molecules in sweat can be processed through their nose and mouth, and from there, they can determine how you are feeling emotionally. Dogs also lick to clean themselves, and they may be trying to clean you, too. That is, if you feel dirty to them. It is all about determining if you love face licking, because some dogs will do it whether you like it or not.
Encouraging the Behavior
Dogs love to lick our faces. In fact, it is rare if there is a dog that doesn't enjoy licking. Due to this, there isn't a huge reason as to why you should encourage your dog to not lick your face, unless you genuinely do not like it. It is their way of showing you love, compassion, and communication. Licking can get out of hand in some capacity, if your dog has obsessive tendencies. Your dog may tend to lick themselves quite often for cleaning, or other reasons, and if that happens to be the case with your dog and they are practicing that habit on you, you may want to try and stall it. Yet, licking is never a bad thing as it is their way of being in relation with you. Whether you choose to let your dog lick you or not will simply come down to preference. Every owner and dog has a relationship and depending on your relationship with your dog, you will be able to decide what your dog loves and what you love as their companion. Beyond this, there may be no reason to stop your dog from licking you, so the suggestion would be to encourage your dog to give you affection and communicate with you through licking.
Other Solutions and Considerations
Dogs are wonderful companions. They love us more than anything in this world and they tend to show their love through actions like licking our faces. We tend to love them by kissing them, petting them, and spending time with them. This back and forth communication is important in animal relationships, even if sometimes the slobber can get a bit messy.