You arrive home after a long day at work, and your Pug greets you at the door. You bend down to hug her, and she starts slobbering you with some doggie kisses. She seems to do this regularly. It’s not unusual to wonder, “why does my Pug lick me so much, and what does it mean”
Why Does My Pug Lick Me So Much?
Unlike humans, dogs can’t talk, and licking is a standard canine tool that your dog will use to communicate with you. It can also be a sign of a medical or compulsive order that requires attention.
The Pug behavior differs from some dogs, but every dog will give their owner canine kisses regardless of the breed.
Those “doggie kisses” may have several meanings behind them, so let’s take a closer look at why dogs lick their owners.
But first, you need to understand why some of the reasons dogs lick.
Mother Dogs and Puppies
As soon as your pup leaves it’s mother’s womb, the mother dog licks them to clean her newborns and also to stimulate their breathing. The licking behavior provides a puppy a sense of security, comfort, and reassurance.
The puppies learn when they lick their mother, they get fed, attention, groomed etc. Licking is how dogs interact with other dogs. Adult dogs will lick other dogs which is a pack mentality that is visible in all dogs even domesticated pets.
It’s a learned behavior that never goes away, and a dog owner needs to understand what their dog is trying to tell them.
Why Pugs Lick?
There are many reasons a dog licks you. Below are a few of the reasons your Pug may be licking you.
Many dog lovers call it a “doggie kiss” because they believe their dog is trying to tell them they love them. Licking is a common way canines express their affection.
They get excited when you get home, and they’ll lick your face with wet kisses the moment they get a chance. In fact, there are several reasons why Pugs will lick your face.
It’s the same reason that they bond with you and follow you around the house.
If you let them, they will sit on your lap while you’re watching TV and lick your arms, fingers, and face until you tell them to stop.
You’re their person, and they want to show you how much they care. The Pug licking process also releases feel-good hormones like oxytocin and serotonin, making your pooch feel warm and fuzzy.
Remember that warm fuzzy feeling you got when you kissed your first boyfriend or girlfriend? Well, those are the same feelings your dog gets when she’s around you.
#2 I Need Attention
Pugs don’t want to be ignored, and if they are craving attention, they may greet you with a tongue kiss because they know it will get our attention.
Remember that first time your puppy kissed you, and you were so happy, you rewarded her with belly rubs, hugs, and tons of petting?
Well, your dog realized that when she licks you, she gets attention. Even if you really didn’t want the kiss, you still acknowledged her by pushing her away.
She doesn’t understand whether your response is negative or positive. All she knows is that when she licks your hands, feet, face, or hands, you’ll give her attention. They’ve learned the behavior because you’ve given them attention whenever they kissed you.
#3 You Taste Yummy
A person’s skin is salty, and some dogs like the salty taste.
If your Pug suddenly starts licking you when you get home, it could be because you taste nice! When you leave the house, you expose yourself to several smells.
For instance, you go to lunch with some girlfriends at a restaurant. You’re surrounded by several smells from the food that is cooking in the back, and those smells linger on your skin.
When you get home, your pooch licks you and won’t stop because your skin tastes yummy to them. It’s also one of the reasons dogs will sniff you after you’ve been outside all day. They can smell all kinds of smells on you.
Just like your dog licks their bowl food bowl after every meal and the floor where you gave them the treat, they love the salty taste of your skin.
#4 Sensory Tool
Unlike humans, dogs can’t examine things with their paws. Therefore, they use their tongs to explore. According to Psychology Today, Canines have millions of sensory cells on their tongues, which is why they have much better taste buds than humans.
Some dogs will engage in excessive licking behavior when they are roughly playing with people. If you engage in rough playing with your Pug, they will most likely substitute their tongue instead of their teeth, so they don’t accidentally bite you.
#6 Survival Instinct
Puppies lick their mothers as a way to communicate that they were hungry. As long as the mother was feeling good, she would then allow the pup to eat.
Lower pack members in the wild will lick their superiors as a way to get an invitation to dine on prey. Canines lick their superiors to show them respect and submission.
While your Pug is not a wild animal, that behavior is inbred in domesticated canines. After all, she sees you as the pack leader and knows that you provide the food, water, and overall care.
#7 Separation Anxiety
If it’s a constant licking or over-grooming, it could be a sign that your Pug is anxious or nervous. It is a type of obsessive disorder that is common in this breed.
Several studies have shown that the act of licking increases endorphins in the brain, which helps calm canines while it’s licking.
#8 They’re Hungry
Licking can be an indication that your pup is hungry and wants something to eat. If your four-legged friend licks you early in the morning before breakfast, or after a long day, it may mean they want to eat.
Dogs learn very quickly what time you normal feed them and if you’re late, they will gently remind you by licking you.
#9 Trying to Comfort You
If your dog licks you when you’re crying or sad, they are likely trying to comfort you. A mother will lick her uppies to help them feel more secure. A dog being submissive and licking your face is trying to make you feel better.
This experimental protocal showed that dogs sniffed or nuzzled their owner when they pretended to cry rather than when they were talking or humming.
Some breeds will be more empathetic than others, but most dogs will try to comfort their dog owners, especially, if they know it upset their owner.
#10 They Want Some Space
Some dogs will lick their dog owner to get some space. This usually happens when a person puts their face too close to their dog’s face.
It is known as appeasement kissing and quickly learns that a person will give them space if they lick their face.
How Do I Know What Kind of Lick My Pug Is Giving Me?
If you just got your puppy, it can be hard to determine what your dog is trying to tell you. However, as you become more familiar, you’ll start picking up on your dog’s body language.
A long lick, especially on your face or legs after you’ve put lotion on or are sweaty, means your pup likes the taste of your skin.
If your dog has a relaxed kiss and gives you loud noisy kisses, they are showing you signs of affection.
A hyper pup with a wagging tail and constant licking can be a sign they are ready to eat, or just happy to see you if they’ve been home alone. It can also be accompanied by some barking, especially if you talk to them.
If your pup licks your face when you try kissing them, it’s likely an appeasement kiss and they want more space. They may even put their paw on your face as if trying to stop you from putting your fact into their space.
Final Word On Pug Licking
Some Pugs will lick you out of affection or because they like the salty taste. Your Pug’s licking behavior is a sign of affection. However, it could be that your dog is dealing with an underlying compulsive disorder that requires attention.
If it’s excessive licking, it may be time to speak to your veterinarian and determine if modification is needed. Once you know your dog is not dealing with any underlying medical issues or compulsive behavior, you can start taking steps to stop your dog from licking you so much.
References And Further Reading
Science Direct – T King, P.H. Hemsworth, G.J Coleman – Fear Of Novel And Startling Stimuli In Domestic Dogs