Mrs. Frankenstein asked in PetsDogs · 1 month ago

Is there a reason why a dog would lick one person more than another person?

Just curious. My dog LOVES to lick my husband stupid. He doesn't really do that to me at all, unless I'm very sweaty. I get the leg lean and the sitting on my feet, and what I call the "dramatic cuddle up," where he'll get up with me and flop his whole body over for belly rubs and he'll just stay there and fall asleep. He does listen to me more than my husband, and he constantly prompts my husband for play time. We do nose bumps a lot, too. I'll get to his level and he'll bump my nose or cheek with his nose and wag his tail. He doesn't do that at all with my husband, only me.  

My husband and I joke that I'm the "matriarch" of the pack and he's looked at as more of the brother role. I also read that licking could mean anything from affection to trying to be dominant to grooming. And no, I'm not trying to get him to lick me more at all, just wondering if there is a reason why a dog would lick another person more, or why they show different kinds of affection to someone. 

4 Answers

  • Maxi
    Lv 7
    1 month ago
    Favourite answer

    "My husband and I joke that I'm the "matriarch" of the pack and he's looked at as more of the brother role" You are correct, you are 'packleader' and the dog accepts and respects you as such, so the lean, sit as close as he can to packleader is normal and your husband is his litter mate so thought of as a more equal level to the dog ...maybe best not tell him that! From what you say, it is more likely the dog respects you not to lick you and you have taught the nose bump as a replaced you took the time to teach  it something, where as a lick is natural and can be submissive behaviour, can be grooming ( and pack leaders are not groomed unless they ask/demand  to be groomed)

  • 1 month ago

    But your dog DOES lick you if you're 'very sweaty'?

    I think that's your clue.  Sweat is salty, and your dog likes that taste.  Tears are salty, too, and many dogs will lick your face if you're crying.  It's not dominance, not grooming, not even play.  It's salt.

    As to why a dog will show a different kind of affection toward one person than to another, it often depends on how that person typically interacts with the dog.   

    For example, my son and my dog play 'ruff' together (lots of cuffing about the head), play-pouncing (as a dog would do with another dog), vocalizing and generally 'mouthy' play.  They both understand that it's their way of showing affection toward each other, and they both love it.

    The dog won't do any of that with me, though.  She knows that I won't allow it.  I do play with her, but don't swat her about the face (even though she LOVES that), don't let her pounce toward me, and she understands that if she makes 'growly' sounds, even though playful, or gets 'toothy' in any way, playtime is over and we're done.  Her way of showing affection toward -- and seeking attention from -- me, is to snuggle up close and rub her head on whatever part of me is closest to her.  She's asking, not demanding.

    Why the difference?  My son is 30+ years younger than I am, a foot taller, and 100 pounds heavier.  The dog, even though she really likes rough play, understands that my son will allow and engage in it, and I won't.  And she behaves accordingly.

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    Probably it's a buddy thing. Or affection. Are you a feminist? 

  • Barry
    Lv 5
    1 month ago

    Your dog regards your husband as the alpha male, i.e., the pack leader. It doesn't mean he doesn't hold you in high regard and I expect he would protect you as part of the family. But someone has to be the leader and that's hubby.

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