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Are Dog Licks Kisses?

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Are Dog Licks Kisses?

What does my dog's kissing and rolling over really mean?

You might think that when your dog licks you, it's a sign of affection, like kissing. However, dogs don't typically express affection in this way, so the licking may be for other reasons, such as taste or anxiety.

Sometimes they will lick your face or hands because they smell food. Since small children are usually at the same level as your dog's face, it's easy for your dog to lick away traces of food around his mouth. This behavior will be reinforced because they get a taste of the food and your child will squeal with excitement. Your dog may also lick sweat or water off your arms or legs after exercising, swimming, or showering. These licks are usually distinct and self-reinforcing and do not indicate anxiety.

Dogs sometimes lick their faces to seek distance. This often happens during play, cuddling, or sitting close to each other. This may be a sign that your dog is anxious and needs space. Another sign of discomfort is staring. Better to turn your head and look away. If they don't move, walk away and call your dog in a cheerful voice. When they come, guide them to another area. Changing the environment gives them the space they need to avoid escalating tensions.


Careful observation of your dog's body language when cuddling or playing with children may reveal how your dog avoids eye contact, yawns, and licks his lips in an attempt to shoo the child away. If they feel cornered or the kids continue, your dog may growl, raise his lips, growl, and bite.

Your dog may show discomfort by rolling over. Your dog may be asking for space rather than inviting petting or belly rubs. Context is always important when interpreting body language. The tail may beat very slowly or quickly, or may be held close to the belly. Your dog may lick his lips or close his mouth tightly, look away, or sneeze. They may appear stiff when lying on their back, or they may roll over to face away. As you turn away, speak softly to your dog so they can sit up comfortably.

If your dog is wriggling on its back with a slack mouth, soft eyes, and tail sticking out from its body, it's most likely an invitation to play. Call them to you and play with a toy or do an activity your dog enjoys. Children should be monitored closely during these interactions.


Kissing or exposing your belly are two potential early signs of anxiety. Instead of encouraging them to lick or rub their belly, walk away to relieve their stress. Practice good housekeeping and teach your children to respect your dog's personal space. Call your dog to you instead of forcing them to show affection

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