Many dog owners know the feeling of getting licked all over their face. Some claim this is a way for your dog to show them how much they love you, others are just disgusted by the thought of dog saliva on their faces.
Much like barking and growling, licking is a way for your dog to communicate with you. They use their whole body as a tool of communication, but what do they want to tell you?
You taste nice
Your dog might like the taste of you, because perhaps you ate something nice earlier. The smell of this might encourage your dog to lick you in order to get some tasting of what you ate. Especially with puppies, this might be the case. As young dogs tend to lick their
mother's mouth in order to get food from her.
It is a natural behaviour for a dog to lick one another in order to show their affection. Much like mothers lick their pups and littermates occasionally lick eachother. This behaviour starts as puppies wanting food from their mother but evolves as they grow up to be more affection-related.
To 'feel' things
Their paws don't have as much sensory nerves in them as their tongue, so they might lick you or something else to get more information about how the object feels.
If your dog is licking you or himself an unhealthy amount, it is important to find the source of this behaviour. Always check with a vet before making hasty conclusions. There might be underlying problems like skin conditions.
Solutions to excessive licking
If all medical problem are ruled out, this can be treated as a behaviour issue. In order to get your dog to stop licking excessively, the first thing you should do is drain their energy. When they can lose their energy in other activities, they might prefer resting at home instead of licking themselves.
When they should start licking themselves excessively again, try to redirect their focus. You can use toys, a Kong or just some play time to make them forget about licking themselves.