Dogs are amazing creatures. They have great memories, they never forget an owner’s face, and some can even understand up to 250 words of human conversation.
But does this mean that dogs know what a kiss is? This question is one that many dog owners have asked themselves at some point or another.
We all know how important kisses are for us humans – so it makes sense that we would want our pups to get in on the action too!
In this blog post, we will answer your questions about kissing your dog by exploring key topics like, why do people kiss their pets?, do dogs understand kisses?, Do Dogs like kisses?, Do dogs know that kissing is an expression of affection?
Man and Dog
Dogs are so loyal and loving that they have been known to be better companions than humans at times, but there is a lot of truth behind the adage “man’s best friend”. A relationship with a dog is one of the most rewarding relationships you can have.
Dogs are an important part of many people’s lives. They offer companionship, protection, and unconditional love. Dogs have been with us throughout our history as a species.
Dogs were domesticated by humans at least 15,000 years ago to herd livestock and help in hunting. In a recent study in 2021, archeologists have found that dogs were domesticated as early as 23,000 years.
It has also been claimed that man did not walk alone on American Land but walked with dogs. Here is the newspaper clipping if you would like to read more.
Dogs were domesticated in Siberia over 23,000 years ago, study posits – Archaeology – Haaretz.com
Today dogs are used for search-and-rescue operations, law enforcement work, military purposes including guarding allied forces in hostile territory and locating explosives or drugs.
Some dogs even assist their owners by providing mobility assistance or alerting them of alarms when they sense danger nearby! There is no denying that dogs make amazing pets.
In the process, we humans would like to understand our pets, their thinking, and their emotions. One such question is about kisses.
I want to begin by acknowledging the contradictory opinions that are out there about dogs understanding kisses.
This prompted me to look at the timeline of the articles and the references provided before I began my research and arrived at a conclusion on the much-debated topic.
I state this because you need to know that this article is not a mere expression of my personal opinion.
Do Dogs Understand Kisses? – Overview
Dogs do understand kisses, and here’s why! Dogs can sense humans’ feelings by reading their body language or facial expressions.
They also pick up on different sounds that come from our mouths such as high-pitched voices for happy emotions and low grumbles for anger or frustration.
When you kiss your dog on its head, it will know that you’re showing affection towards him/her because of all the signals he/she has picked up on throughout the day.
It’s almost like how babies will imitate adults doing things even though they don’t completely understand them.
All dogs may not understand kisses. All Dogs may not understand kisses in the same way. Dogs can be very different and unique. Some like to be kissed.
Some don’t because it is a sign of dominance and submission. Just like we are individually different, dogs are different too. Let us understand a few factors:-
The age of the Dog: Circumstances like the adoption of an adult dog may have an impact on how the dog understands your behavior and perceives you are kissing it. It may also involve the dog’s preference for receiving kisses.
If the dog has remained a street dog all along or if the dog was never pampered or fondled by its previous owner your dog may not exactly know what is happening when you are kissing it.
The Breed – Hunting, Gun dogs, Toy dogs, etc: The breed of the dog also matters because hunting dogs and Gun dogs were trained for specific purposes and over generations, their genetics are wired that way.
On the contrary, some breeds have been created for easy handling, maintenance, and fondling. These Breeds may find it easier to understand human behavior because their ancestry is not exactly purely wolfish.
The Level Of Interaction With The Dog: It may also be the case that you may not have been interacting with your dog every day due to your busy schedule and on one fine day you decide to shower your affection. This may confuse your dog about what you are trying to convey by a kiss.
The Immediate Circumstances: Just imagine a circumstance when you find a dog being hit with a stone and you’re trying to kiss it the very next moment. The previous situation will have an impact on the dog’s perception.
Is There A Difference Between Kissing Your Pet And Kissing ‘A’ Dog?
There is a difference between kissing your dog and a strange dog. A lot of people might not know the difference, but it’s important to know that your pet understands you better than a strange dog. If you’re new to owning dogs then you should know how a strange dog would react to you.
Your Dog will usually lick your face if they feel safe around you. This means that they aren’t feeling threatened by you which is good! However, strange dogs are protective about their owners and may not welcome you’re getting too close.
It may also be because some dogs may not like an invasion of their personal space (which could be as close as an arm’s length).
So, don’t presume that all dogs understand you just the way your pet does. This article will give you a few pointers a little later about how you should deal with strange dogs.
What Exactly Do Dogs Perceive From Your Kiss? Do Dogs Know What Kisses Are?
A kiss is a type of affection that you can give to your dog. Dogs perceive this as a sign of endearment and love, which allows them to feel safe and happy with their owners.
A kiss on the nose or forehead is especially comforting for dogs because they are usually associated with intimacy in human relationships. While there are many ways you can show your dog affection, kisses are an excellent way to start any day with your pet!
Dogs can understand when you kiss them and it is important to read your dog’s body language after you do so!
Here are some signs that your pup understands: wagging tail, licking, sitting, or laying down with eyes closed. If your pet is doing any of these things then they most likely feel happy and loved as well!
Dogs are known to be affectionate and loving creatures, but they don’t just understand that we love them. They know how much we love them and can tell when we’re kissing them.
It’s not just a sign of gratitude; it’s a sign of deep affection for our furry friends. Dogs will return the favor if you let them! To your dog, kisses mean love!
The Oxytocin And Cortisol Level Experiment
A study conducted between dog owners and dogs measured the blood levels of owners and dogs before interaction and after the interaction.
The whole process was recorded and the owners were encouraged to touch and pet and spend time with their dogs. The results of the study were twofold:
Reduced Stress Level In Humans: During the experiment stress level in humans goes down after interacting with the dog. Cortisol is a stress hormone in the human body and increases the heart rate and elevates blood sugar levels.
The blood tests conducted during the experiment showed that post interaction with the dogs The cortisol levels were lower in humans. during the study, it was found that the cortisol level in owners began at a level of 389.8 (119.7) before interaction with the dogs and went down to 305.2 (62.6) after interaction with dogs. [cortisol levels were measured in nmol/l]
Increased Good Hormone Levels In Dogs: It was found that after interaction with humans the dogs did feel good and their oxytocin levels went up after the interaction with their owners.
Oxytocin is also known as the love hormone. It was found that the oxytocin level in the dogs began with 155.8 before interaction with humans and went up to 251.8 after human interaction.[oxytocin levels were measured in pmol/l]
Increased Good Hormone Levels In Humans: during the study, it was also found that the oxytocin level in humans increased from 168.5 to 187.0.
Both humans and dogs benefit from interaction and this is a clear demonstration of the fact that dogs do understand human interaction positively as indicated by this experiment if you would like to read this research paper please find the link below.
Oxytocin and Cortisol Levels in Dog Owners and Their Dogs Are Associated with Behavioral Patterns: An Exploratory Study (nih.gov)
Dogs are a lot like humans when it comes to their need for love and affection. One study found that dogs will respond more positively when they receive kisses from their owners, and the dog communicates instantly without any prior thinking or practice.
Do Dogs Like Kisses?
In 2016 a research paper was published by a group of six established authors bearing the title “dogs recognize dog and human emotions”. In their findings, they established that dogs could differentiate between positive and negative communication.
It was also found that dogs perceive human emotions and process them through hearing and through a vision to understand what it means in the context of a positive or a negative. Here is the link to the paper.
Dogs recognize dog and human emotions – The Lincoln Repository
So, dogs do like kisses. This isn’t just a cute saying, it’s a fact that dogs enjoy affection from their owners. There are many things your dog wants you to do with them including: give belly rubs and hugs!
While these actions may seem simple and unimportant to you, they can go a long way in strengthening the bond between you and your pet. Dogs love attention from their owners so make sure to spend time with them!
All that you need to remember here is to not just kiss your dog, but observe the dog’s reaction to make sure the dog is receiving it well. Don’t forget that dogs have a personality too and we must respect them too.
My Little Experiment: Do Dogs Like Being Kissed?
While writing this article I tried a little experiment with my dog. I found her peacefully sitting on the pillow and wanted to see how she would react.
I took the doll next to me and started kissing the doll and watched my dog’s reaction. She immediately started wagging her tail and establishing eye contact with me.
It is when I kissed her and she acknowledged by licking my cheeks back. Through this, I was able to understand that the sound of a kiss was easily understood by her.
What Should You Know Before Kissing Your Dog For The First Time?
There are a couple of things you should know before you kiss your dog.
Start Young: The earlier you begin to communicate, the better. Younger dogs will understand you as they grow and will soon know what kissing means.
Although it has been established that Dogs understand kissing, we still need to recognize the limitation that dogs are not humans and they need time to process human behavior.
Help Differentiate: The initial days with a dog and periods when dogs are being trained are times when they hear more admonition than praise.
So help the dog understand that your kissing is not an expression of admonition, by first rewarding the dog before kissing it.
Be Gentle: Allow the dog to process your behavior by kissing the dog gently. Fast kissies may give your dog confusing signals. Have a calm disposition while kissing your dog.
What Should You Know Before Kissing A Strange Dog For The First Time?
Know You Are A threat: Strange dogs do not place their trust in you. They will be wary about your moves. Approach the dog with caution and with slow movements. Do not stare at the dog since dogs do not perceive staring as a kind gesture.
Ensure The Dog Is Calm: Before you touch the dog, ensure you know it is not agitated or it does not feel threatened. Observe the tail of the dog. A lowered tail is not a good indication.
Ensure You Meet The Owner: If the dog has an owner, ensure contact with the owner first so that the dog understands that owner approves of you. This tells the dog that it need not be defensive about itself or protective about the owner.
Pat The Dog First: Stroke the dog gently and allow the dog to feel your good vibes. Get closer and allow the dog to smell you before you kiss it.
Pro Tip: When you are dealing with a strange dog, be sure it is groomed well and clean. Remember dogs do carry germs that can be transmitted to humans.
What Is The Best Way To Kiss Your Dogs?
Dogs at home must be:
Vaccinated: Ensure that the dog is vaccinated for all diseases and has routine checkups.
Groomed Regularly: Ensuring that your dog is regularly and kept clean. It is one of the most important things that you should be doing.
Dogs like being kissed on their forehead. Nevertheless, I don’t think we humans restrict ourselves kissing the dogs only on the forehead. It is trite that there is no one “right” way to kiss your dogs.
Do not kiss the dog on the mouth: Dogs lick themselves a lot and it is not wise for you to keep the dog in the mouth.
Dogs see the world in a different way than we do. They don’t see color and they can only detect motion, not detail. But despite their limitations, dogs understand human gestures like kisses!
Many studies show this is true. The benefits of this simple act could be tremendous for both you and your dog. Dogs are social animals too, and they seem to understand kisses as attention too.
They perceive positivity and love in a kiss just like we do. So next time you’re feeling stressed and want to calm down, try kissing your dog.
Is It Bad To Give Your Dog Kisses?
Kissing your dog is okay! Kissing your dog on the mouth or letting your tongue touch them or their mouth is not. It’s not okay to kiss on the mouth or let your tongue touch the dog.
Do wipe your lip if they jump up and get it wet! With a little caution, you and your dog can have a healthy relationship without any hassles.
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