But perhaps not always. It's certainly nice to think so. Alexandra Horowitz said, "It is not a stretch to say that the licks are a way to express happiness that you have returned". But then again - it could just be that leg moisturiser you just applied.
What an conundrum licking appears to be - but it certainly seems important to dogs!
I think it's important we keep asking these kinds of questions and considering the answers from the dogs' perspective.
Til next time, big slurps to all!
Mech L.D., Wolf P.C. & Packard J.M. (1999). Regurgitative food transfer among wild wolves, Canadian Journal of Zoology, 77 (8) 1192-1195. DOI: 10.1139/cjz-77-8-1192 Horowitz, A. (2010). Inside of a dog: What dogs see, smell, and know. Simon and Schuster.
Abrantes, R. (2013). Dog language. Dogwise Publishing.
Serpell, J. (Ed.). (1995). The domestic dog: its evolution, behaviour and interactions with people. Cambridge University Press.
Bradshaw J.W.S., Blackwell E.J. & Casey R.A. (2009). Dominance in domestic dogs-useful construct or bad habit?, Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 4 (3) 135-144. DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2008.08.004 Bonanni R., Cafazzo S., Valsecchi P. & Natoli E. (2010). Effect of affiliative and agonistic relationships on leadership behaviour in free-ranging dogs, Animal Behaviour, 79 (5) 981-991. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2010.02.021 Photos by Chris Sembrot used with permission.
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