Licking and dog kisses

The snuggler

I opened my eyes and looked outside; it was still really dark but it felt like time to get up.  I rolled over to have a look at the clock, 1:15?  What?  Weird how it can feel like you've slept all night when you haven't.  I rolled back over and threw my arm over Elsa; she's a great snuggly sleeping companion.  She turned her head up high and upside down to reach me; giving me some kisses.  She is constant with her kisses at night; if she can reach skin, she's kissing.  She has a need to tend; she use to do it to Luke but now that he is gone she tends to us.  

I've never minded licking and I don't quite understand it when people freak out about being licked.  Of course there is licking and then there is licking.  Elsa's licking is very purposeful.  She does not just dish out absent minded licks.  Some are delivered for affection; but much of her licking are close pack bonding licks.  The kind of connection licking saved for the close inner circle members, like me.  :)

Elsa does give kisses to others who are outside of the pack but those are very different.  Dogs lick for all kinds of reasons and if you watch and know your dog you will be able to differentiate between them.  Like any other behavior, licking can become obsessive where we need to step in and help our dogs to stop.  From my own experiences dealing with client dogs; many puppy mill dogs have excessive licking issues.  They come from very questionable and sad places; having gone through much turmoil as young puppies.  Licking excessively can stem from the bad. 

Licking is often a self soothing behavior.  Just about all of our poodles over the years have gone into the "licking zone" when we are close and they are heading off to the land of nod.  Watching television dog pile style at night; they often licked the leather couch several times before falling asleep.  The licking is slow and often accompanied by head rubbing.  They have all done this, it doesn't last long and then they are asleep.  Elsa does this but to a lesser degree. She is a busy girl during the day; people to see and things to do so much of her licking happens at night, in bed. 

I fell back asleep and awoke again in the dark.  This time when I rolled over to check the time; I got a kiss smack dab on the face.  It was 5:55, time to get up and get the day going.