Sometimes our dogs do something so cute, we can’t help but to run over to them and give them a bunch of kisses. If you thought you were alone when it comes to kissing your dog, don’t worry…all of us dog owners do it from time to time.
But have you ever wondered if your dog understands what kisses mean? Or if they even like your kisses? I was wondering the same thing, so I did a little research and it turns out the answer isn’t as black and white as I was hoping.
Inherently a dog will not enjoy your kisses. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t learn to love them. When you first kiss your dog, to them it will be like your just doing a weird thing to their face. However, as time goes on they’ll realize that you kiss them when you’re pleased with them and happy with them. Once they make this connection, they’ll begin to love your kisses!
So how are you supposed to know when your dog makes the transition from not understanding what a kiss is to loving your kisses? You look for the signs!
Signs Your Dog Likes Being Kissed
The Tail Wag
When it comes to dogs, the tail tells all! If you start kissing your dog and the tail starts wagging, that’s a good sign they’re enjoying your smooches.
Asks For More
If you kiss your dog and they lean into you after you stop, that’s their way of asking for more. This is a good sign they understand this behavior is affectionate and not aggressive.
No, licking doesn’t mean they are kissing you back. But it does mean they enjoy your kisses! A dog that doesn’t like being kissed will try to get away, not lean in for a licking.
If your dog places their paw on you when you finish kissing them, that’s a sign they love it! My dog will often place her paw on my lap when she wants more smooches.
Every dog is different and shows their excitement in unique ways. Almost all dogs will wag the tail, but on top of that some dogs will jump up, others will bark, and some get into the “play” position. You know your dog best. If they seem excited when you kiss them, then you know they enjoy it.
Signs Your Dog Does NOT Like Being Kissed
Turning Their Head
This is probably the number one sign that a dog doesn’t like being kissed. If you go in for the kiss and they either turn their head away or down, that’s their way of saying they don’t know what you’re doing and would prefer you didn’t do it.
Dogs will tense up when they feel uneasy about a situation. If you feel your dog’s muscles become tense and their ears go back when you kiss them, they haven’t learned what kisses mean yet.
Licking Their Lips
It’s one thing if a dog licks your lips (although this isn’t always good – more on that below), but it’s different if a dog licks their own lips. Licking is an uncontrollable reaction for some dogs when they are nervous or scared.
Forceful Licking of Your Face
We already discussed how a dog licking you while you kiss them is a sign they enjoy your kisses, but if it’s a forceful lick (stronger than normal), it could be their way of trying to push your head away. If a dog isn’t in a position to use their paws to push someone/something away, they’ll use their tongue.
Don’t let it bum you out if your dog is displaying some of those signs. It most likely means your dog hasn’t learned what kisses are yet and is still uneasy when your face gets that close to them.
Can You Train Your Dog to Enjoy Kisses?
Absolutely! Dogs are smart creatures and do an excellent job making associations. They want to please their human owners, so when they recognize a certain action, word or behavior means they pleased their owner, they’ll begin to enjoy it.
Kissing is no different. You just need your dog to learn that kissing means you’re pleased with them. Here are a few ideas to help you train your dog to enjoy kisses.
Speak With Excitement
At first, a dog will view a kiss as somewhat of a threat. To avoid this, you’ll want to talk to them with a lot of excitement when you kiss them. Make sure to say things such as “good boy” or “good girl” when you kiss them. This will help them associate kissing with excitement, not danger.
Treats seem to be the “jack of all trades” when it comes to training dogs. Next time you give your dog a couple of kisses, give them a treat right after. This will cause an association in their brain that “kiss means treat”.
Don’t Do it Right After Punishment
I know it’s tempting to kiss our dogs right after we punish them because we feel bad and want them to know we still love them. However, this will cause your dog to think that kissing means they are in trouble. Once the dog’s brain makes this association, they’ll hate kisses because they think the punishment is right around the corner.
Don’t Force it
It will take some time for your dog’s brain to create the association that kissing is a sign of affection and not threat or punishment. If you try to force the kisses when they’re giving clear signs they don’t want it, all you’re doing is delaying the time it will take for your dog to actually enjoy it when you kiss them.
In the meantime, just use excitement and treats when you kiss them. Dogs are smart and want to please us, they will eventually learn that kisses are a good thing.
How to Show Affection When Your Dog Doesn’t Like Kisses
Just about all dogs will eventually learn to love kisses, but how are you supposed to show affection to your dog while they’re still in the learning process? The good news is dogs are very affectionate creatures, so showing them affection without kissing is easy!
Designated Snuggle Time
There’s nothing wrong with randomly snuggling with your dog, but dogs are creatures of habit and have incredible internal clocks. Have you ever noticed that dogs know exactly when it’s mealtime even though they don’t actually know what time it is? That’s because their internal clock makes them aware that it’s time to eat.
One of the best ways to show affection to your dog is to wire “snuggle time” into their internal clock. If you have a designated snuggle time every morning with them at the same exact time, they’ll look forward to it and eventually come to you for a snuggle session at that exact time.
Explore The World WIth Them
Dogs love exploring the world, but they love it even more when you explore it with them. They want someone to share their experiences with. The best way to explore the world with your dog is to take them on short walks throughout the day. However, don’t just go on the same route each time. Switch it up, go somewhere new. It might not be new to you, but taking your dog somewhere they haven’t been before opens up a whole new world of excitement for them.
Give Them Praise
The more a dog feels like you love them, the more love they’ll have for you. Dogs really do want to please their owners. If you aren’t giving them any signs of praise they’ll feel like they aren’t pleasing you, and the unfortunate thing about this is dogs tend to not love the person they can’t please.
By giving simple signs of praise throughout the day, your dog will feel the affection and will return it with lots of snuggles!
Do Dogs Even Understand Kisses?
Dog’s won’t understand kisses in the same way humans do. The only time dogs will put their faces that close to each other and lick is when they are grooming one another. They’ll probably always find it a little weird that you put your face so close to them without grooming them.
However, even though they won’t view kisses in the same way we do, they will understand that a kiss means we are happy with them, and they’ll certainly love that!
Are There Any Health Concerns When Kissing a Dog?
You’ve probably heard it said that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a humans. This actually isn’t true assuming a human has decent oral hygiene. This has caused many so-called “experts” to claim that kissing your dog is unsafe.
They may have a point if you were kissing your dog in the mouth, but you’re not! There aren’t any health concerns when kissing a dog. But it’s still important to use common sense. If a dog has a parasite infection such as worms, obviously you’ll want to avoid kissing them. If your dog is healthy, kiss away!
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