Pet Wellness Guides > Do Dogs Know What Kisses Are? - Pet Insurance Review

Do Dogs Know What Kisses Are?

Posted: 05/23/2023 | BY: Jenna Bruce | Categories: Behavior , Dog , Top Tips

If you’re like a lot of people, you love to smother your dog with kisses. But do dogs know what kisses are? Do they like the kisses or merely tolerate them because they know if they do they’ll eventually get a treat?

Do dogs know what kisses are?

Kissing from a Dog’s Perspective

As humans, we view kissing as a sign of affection. It’s actually one of the top ways we show other people how much we love them. But we forget sometimes that our dogs are not people and what we do is not normal or natural for them. It’s not natural for a dog to “shake hands.” It’s not natural for them to stand on their hind legs and pretend they’re line dancing, nor is it natural for them to be dressed up in a pirate’s outfit replete with a fake parrot. Hugs and kisses are also not natural for them, and yet we subject our dogs to this unnatural behavior almost 24/7.

While some dogs may tolerate it, not all dogs will. Think from their perspective. Bringing your face very close to theirs can be seen as an aggressive act. When you kiss them it can seem that maybe you are trying to bite them. And should you wrap your arms around them and hug them at the same time, this can make them feel even more threatened. This can, in turn, put you at risk for a defensive bite. And this can be particularly dangerous for small children. This is why you should never let your toddler or young child run over to a strange dog and begin to hug and kiss them as they do their own dog. You simply never know how that dog will perceive what was intended as a loving act.

How Dog Perspectives Change

If you recently brought a new puppy home, you may have noticed that when you kissed them, they didn’t really respond to the kiss. Puppies do not yet recognize the kiss as anything meaningful or “good.” It’s when that kiss is paired with affectionate vocal tones, petting and, of course, treats, that the puppy learns to perceive that kiss as enjoyable. Yes, dogs can learn to like kisses when those kisses are surrounded by positive experiences. 

Having said that, it’s important to remember that every dog is unique. While some dogs may learn to actually love kisses from their humans, others may never get used to it. This is common among rescue dogs who started life out on the street. We will never know what their experience was like before getting adopted but we can assume they felt unsafe, unloved and threatened a lot. These poor pups may be very confused and uncomfortable with kisses.

Do dogs know what kisses are?

The bottom line is kissing is not natural for a dog. Some dogs will learn to like and happily accept your kisses and affection. Some will merely tolerate it even though they don’t really like or understand it. And others may show clear signs they do not want kisses from you. Pay attention to any signs like pulling away or growling and respect your pup’s wishes. 

Other Ways to Show Your Dog You Love Him

If you have one of those dogs that simply doesn’t like being kissed by you, don’t fret. There are plenty of other ways you can show your dog affection.

Gentle Touches

While some dogs may not want your mouth to come near them, they absolutely LOVE pets and belly rubs. Spend time each day relaxing your dog with a soft and gentle massage. Snuggle up on the couch and watch TV together, offering pets and a loving voice.

Go for Walks

Get outside with your pup and enjoy nature together. Walk him daily around the block, or take him for longer hikes out in the country. Some dogs even make good running companions, if that’s your thing. Exercising together will not only help you both stay in shape, it will strengthen your bond.

Play More

We all get busy and sometimes days can go by and we realize we haven’t spent any time playing with our pups. Be sure to spend time each day playing together. It can be playing frisbee, throwing a ball, or just running around and having your dog chase you. At the end of the day, your dog just really wants to spend time with you, no matter what you do together.

Enroll Him in Pet Insurance

Ensuring your dog’s health and wellness through a pet insurance plan is one of the absolute best ways you can show him love. Should he suddenly become ill or injured, you’ll be able to pay for the very best care with no questions asked. And without having to drain your saving’s account.

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  1. “Do Dogs Like Kisses?”
  2. “Do Dogs UNderstand Human Kisses?”



The information contained on this blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet's health care or treatment plan.

The authors of this blog are not veterinarians and do not claim to be experts in pet health. The information provided here is based on our own experiences and research, as well as information from reputable sources. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information.

We encourage you to do your own research and consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions about your pet's health.

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