What do dogs think when you kiss them?

Answered by Tom Adger

When it comes to understanding what dogs think when you kiss them, it’s important to consider their individual personalities and experiences. While we can’t know for certain what goes on in a dog’s mind, we can observe their behaviors and make educated guesses based on their reactions.

1. Physical Sensations: Dogs have a heightened sense of touch, so when you kiss them, they can definitely feel it. It might tickle or cause a slight sensation on their fur or skin. Puppies, in particular, may find it a bit strange or unfamiliar at first, but they quickly get used to it as they grow older.

2. Associating Kisses with Affection: Dogs are incredibly perceptive and can pick up on our emotions. Over time, they learn to associate kisses and cuddles with positive emotions, such as love, happiness, and affection. When you shower them with kisses, they may interpret it as a sign that you are pleased with their presence and behavior.

3. Bonding and Social Interaction: Dogs are social animals, and they form strong bonds with their human companions. Kissing can be seen as a form of bonding and social interaction between you and your dog. It strengthens the emotional connection and reinforces the bond you share.

4. Body Language and Context: Dogs are masters at reading body language, both from humans and other dogs. When you lean in for a kiss, your body language likely conveys warmth and openness. Combined with a gentle tone of voice and a relaxed demeanor, your dog can interpret this as a positive gesture.

5. Individual Differences: It’s important to note that not all dogs enjoy being kissed. Some may find it uncomfortable or stressful, especially if they haven’t been exposed to it before. It’s essential to respect your dog’s boundaries and observe their reactions. If they seem anxious or try to avoid the kisses, it’s best to find alternative ways to show affection that they are more comfortable with, such as gentle petting or belly rubs.

Personal Experiences:
I’ve had the pleasure of owning several dogs throughout my life, and each one had a unique reaction to kisses. One of my dogs, a Labrador Retriever, absolutely loved being kissed. Whenever I showered her with kisses, she would wag her tail, lick my face in return, and lean in for more affection. It was clear that she associated kisses with positive emotions and felt loved and appreciated.

On the other hand, I had a rescue dog who had a difficult past and was initially fearful of physical contact. For her, kisses were overwhelming and triggered anxiety. Instead, she preferred gentle chin scratches and sitting close to me for reassurance. Over time, as she gained trust and felt more comfortable, she gradually became more accepting of kisses.

While dogs may not fully comprehend the concept of kissing, they are aware of the positive emotions and affection behind the gesture. Through their interpretation of body language, social bonding, and learned associations, they recognize kisses as a form of love and connection. However, it’s crucial to remember that not all dogs enjoy being kissed, and their individual preferences should always be respected.