The Root of the Behavior
When dogs meet, they tend to sniff each other and give off pheromones in their paws. Sometimes the more beta dog will offer up his muzzle to be licked, a sign that he does not mean to cause the alpha any problems. But dogs that live together no longer need to go through the same rituals. Dogs that live together begin to think of themselves as in a pack. There is a definite hierarchy amongst your dogs in your home, and the pack members are always trying to please their alpha. When a dog snuggles up to another, seemingly for warmth, he may also be trying to provide warmth for the other and thus gain favor. Dogs can be seen licking each other on the mouth, which can be interpreted as an affectionate kiss. At times, it is because the dog giving the kiss senses an illness in the dog being kissed. Puppies are seen ‘kissing’ their mothers but in fact, they are simply hoping she will regurgitate food for them.
Encouraging the Behavior
Just as dogs have innate wolf behavior in terms of working together, they also struggle with what may drive them apart. If you have somehow managed to have more than one alpha in your home, you may be seeing the opposite of affection. While the humans need to be alpha overall, your dogs may be battling for their spot. Working with innate behavior traits, especially in the battle for power, can be very difficult. Dogs fighting over space, food, and toys can make for a stressful household. In these instances, it is recommended you work with a licensed trainer or dog behavioral therapist to establish order in your home.