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During an introduction, a timid and lower-ranking dog will lower his head, avoid direct eye contact and gently extend his tongue to lick the muzzle of a more dominant, confident and higher-ranking dog. Help your dog make friends with his peers: Carefully select confident-but-friendly and patient-tempered dogs to play with your shy dog, to help him hone his social skills. If you foster a dog and have three or more resident dogs, introduce the foster dog to your brood one dog at a time and let muzzle-licking between them happen naturally. Dogs might not seem as mysterious as cats, but canines do have their fair share of behaviors that are truly baffling. While you might not always want your dog to cover you in slobbery kisses, his licks are actually his way of showing affection.


I get to spend a lot of time observing different groups of dogs because of my work as a dog walker and dog rescue volunteer. The first dog licks the muzzle of the second dog to simply reconfirm that he comes in peace. Exactly why dogs cock their heads to the side remains uncertain, but behaviorists speculate that canines are trying to make sense of what they hear. Another explanation could be that canine mothers lick their puppies (and puppies lick their mothers and littermates) for grooming and social reasons.
Behaviorists believe that when wolf-like dogs lived in the wild, they would walk around a spot to pat down the leaves, grass or other debris to create a nice nesting spot.


It could just be a behavior passed on from their ancestral cousins, but behaviorists also think that howling is instinctively necessary and rewarding for dogs. They also look out for each other: A dog who excessively licks the muzzle of his canine pal may be doing this because the dog has a tumor, cut or other medical need that requires attention and treatment.



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