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The FlavorForget the psychological and instinctive motivations behind hand licking -- some dogs just do it because they like the taste. Pack SubmissionDogs in the wild live in packs, and packs have their own rules and group behaviors.
Affection and RelaxationIf you've ever been a nail-biter, you may understand why your dog licks your hands. Compulsive BehaviorSome dogs develop compulsive behaviors because they find them comforting, much in the same way that humans do. I'm sure many of you have felt that odd love from your dog, when she uses her tongue as a washcloth. Of course, many peoples first thought goes to this: the dog licks you because it loves you.
As for licking cuts on humans, dogs have a natural instinct to try to heal sores by licking them. AnonymousAugust 4, 2013 at 1:32 PMI am probable crazy in some peoples thinking, but I am a dog lover and I find it pleasant to have my dog lick my legs. With such a greeting, it’s only natural that the tongue is one of the primary instruments by which dogs interact with their environment. Whether they are around other dogs or with people, dogs also lick those to whom they would show deference and submission. Anyone who is licked by a dog for the first time may find it a startling, ticklish, or amusing experience.
In the ancient world, wise folk and healers noticed that dogs licked their own wounds as well as those of people. Your dog isn't testing the waters to see if you would make a tasty snack -- he just wants to show you his love and trust while engaging in a simple pleasure.
Licking your hands can give your dog a simple sense of satisfaction and stress relief, because it releases endorphins. Like a mother cuddling her baby, when a dog licks for affection, endorphins are released, and it makes the dog feel good. Its what they do in the wild and they think that they can help us by cleaning our wounds, too.


When humans sweat, they send out little bits of information in the smell, from the eccrine and sebaceous glands.
Given this, we must expect the tongue, and its power of licking, to play at least some part in their interactions with people.
They lick each other in packs when they are in the wild, in environments where two or more dogs live together, or just lounging around the house with their human owners. If a dog gets a sense that the act of licking people brings them pleasure, and earns them a pat on the head or a scratch behind the ears, he may come to link the two. His licking behavior may puzzle you as a human, but to dogs, licking hands just makes sense. It isn't unusual, then, for the rest of the dogs in the pack to lick the dominant dog as a sign of submission, trust and obedience. It's the same thing that happens when you bite your nails or exercise -- when your body releases the endorphins, a sense of calm pleasure washes over you.
If your dog refuses to stop licking your hands, you may need to consult a canine behaviorist who can determine the root of the behavior -- sometimes dogs develop compulsions as a coping mechanism after past traumas or current unhappiness. They can be so persistent and intent on slobbering over every part of our leg or arm, it can seem as if they think we taste like pumpkin pie, or perhaps we are so filthy that we need their help washing! When dogs meet new people and other dogs, the brief licking on the face and mouth is most likely for showing friendliness. When the leaders come back, the other wolves will lick the mouth to try to encourage the leader to share the food, or even regurgitate it.
Dogs use licking as a gesture showing that they are submissive to the person, like their perceived pack leader. Dogs may not have any healing properties in their mouths, but at least the thought is nice. Dogs have heightened senses, in their noses and taste buds, so many of their communication skills come from sniffing and licking things. Mom uses her tongue to clear away baby’s nostrils, encouraging each puppy that emerges from her womb to breathe the sweet air and make use of tiny lungs. Dogs lick people for some reasons that we can safely interpret and likely for many reasons we will never understand, until that glorious day when dogs acquire the power of human speech.


Dogs lick people as a form of communication, but licks do not always convey the same message. From the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece, and Rome all the way through to the Middle Ages in Europe, you might be surprised to learn that dogs were not only encouraged, but even trained to lick wounds as a mode of healing. The dog is trying to tell the new person that she has no aggressive feelings or fear towards them, and they use licking the face as that form of communication.
So, many dogs do seem to lick people near the mouth, and may be trying to see if there's any leftovers for them. Even though it is a bit yucky, dogs can pick up information from your taste and scent, after you've been out for a long day. DeleteAnonymousMarch 16, 2014 at 9:06 PMMy schnauzer licks my legs and feet especially at bedtime when I have had a long day and I find it relaxing. If you’re anything like me, though, a communicative lick is just as much a dog asserting his control over you! When puppies lick her mouth, she will regurgitate whatever she’s eaten and offer it to her young. We’ve all met dogs for the first time, offered a hand for them to sniff, and found our hands licked in return.
When dogs lick people, particularly about the mouth, what we may think of as a kiss may actually be a request for food. I’d know I found the desired spot because, for a couple of seconds, as I scratched, she would lick my arm. I have a mild case of psoriasis on the backs ofor my legs and my dog lick them every single night at bedtime!
I sometimes wonder if my dog detects an illness when he licks my ankles and once in a while my legs.



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