Many dog owners will thank their dogs for kisses after getting a few licks on the hand or face. But dog licks are not exactly the same as human kisses. There are many reasons that dogs may lick.
Some reasons do indicate your dog’s love while other factors can indicate a health issue. Understanding why your dog is licking offers some insight into your dog’s brain.
Scientists have good reason to believe that dogs will lick out of affection. When observing wolves and wild dogs, scientists have noted dogs licking each other's snouts when one returns to the pack. Licking is also a grooming behavior between mothers and young dogs. Your dog could be imitating these behaviors with you when you get home from work or you are cuddling together on the couch.
There are also several other reasons scientists have noted for licking behavior. These include:
Although every lick may not be an affectionate kiss, it can still often indicate the trust your dog has for you. Like any other behavior, you can also encourage it or teach your dog not to lick by redirecting the behavior into something more appropriate such as playing with a toy.