For us humans, it can be hard to identify with the doggie habit of licking one another in greeting.
After all, we do not do that even though our tongues come in handy for things like ice-cream and lollipops.
We certainly will not welcome a visitor into our home by giving them a long lingering lick on the cheek unless your country culture suggests otherwise.
But dogs use their tongues to explore the world.
A dog’s tongue is as important and useful as our eyes and hands are to us.
It is a multi-purpose utility tool for tasting, exploring the presence of new people and animals, express submissiveness and to let you know that he values your companionship and friendship.
Licking is a completely natural behavior for dogs.
Most of the time, the experience is nothing to worry about.
The odd lick from a warm, moist tongue on your hand or ankle is, at worst, tolerable.
Some dogs just take things too far though, and this is where problems can set in.
It is not pleasant to be persecuted in your own home by a far-reaching, agile, mobile, and slobbery tongue.
Some will not let you get a moment’s rest.
But it will pursue you from bedroom to hallway to lounge to kitchen, making sporadic dive-bombings of affection on your toes, ankles, calves – anywhere that flesh is exposed and available.
For a tall dog, the available terrain is much more varied and thus, enticing – ever had a long, wet dog’s tongue lathering your belly button as you stretch up to those elusive top shelves?
When unexpected, the resultant shock is more than a trifle unbalancing!
If your dog is licking you because he is feeling affectionate and wants to let you know, it will bebe pretty easy to figure out whether this is the case or not.
His body language will be relaxed and although the circumstances will be variable, the surrounding mood will generally be stress-free and happy.
For example, when he licks you on the shoulder or ear from his vantage-point in the backseat as you drive him to the park.
Or lathers your hands and wrists with goodwill and devotion when you return home from a hard day at the office.
Puppy love is by far the most common cause of licking.
Having said that though, most of the time excessive licking is simply due to excessive exuberance in your dog: he’s happy, he loves you, and he has to let you know right now.
For more information on other problematic dog behaviors, check out Secrets to Dog Training.