Sunday, February 1, 2009
Is a kiss just a kiss? What does a lick from your dog mean?
Dogs use their bodies as language and to communicate. One of the most misinterpreted behaviors is the "kiss" or licking. When, how and why dogs lick us or lick in general varies and this is something most people do not think of
The dog to the left is "licking lips" due to the closeness of the child. This sign (to another dog) might indicate a need for space and that this dog did not want a conflict or problem. The bottom line is this child being this close is uncomfortable to the dog and he is communicating in his doggie way.
How might a child view this lick? Kisses? Then move in closer which will be total MISCOMMUNICATION and cause more stress for the dog.
Here is my boy Windsor offering a gentle "submissive Kiss" to his brother Duke. Notice how gentle he looks and this is a one flick to the mouth of Duke. Windsor's intentions are clear with his head tilt, soft eyes and ears down and back. Duke turns to the side slightly allowing the lick and communicating clearly no conflict is about to happen.
Windor gives Kayleigh a "kiss" similar to Duke above. This is a soft, gentle loving quick flick. Mouth is closed and ears are back, soft eyes and is just a "drive by" kiss. Windsor is offering this vs kayleigh forcing this. This is a good example of a true and geuine gift interaction. :)
Here you see a bit more of another form of communication. The dog (Jazzy) is surrounded by the boys. She gives a full tongue lick to the face of the child hugging her. This in turn gets the child to turn away. That works for Jazzy as it decreases the intense closeness.
Notice she e is also raising a paw (left) indicating a bit of feeling overwhelmed. She would prefer the child did not have his arm around her. Dogs that lick your face.....sometimes are doing their best to increase space. Test it out by turning your head to the side or tilting slightly and breaking direct eye contact. See what the results are.
Aren't dogs fascinating! They truly are good communicators but....we often don't understand. It is our job to learn their language when we invite them into our home!
Posted by Dogs & Storks at 10:05 AM