As he enters his twilight years, Tucker (now ten and a half) is enjoying a new experience: having his mouth licked every time he’s greeted by our current puppy trainee. Kyndall does it pretty reliably almost every time she sees him after even the briefest separation:
What intrigues me is that she rarely licks Steve or me. This is good. We both like dogs a lot, but neither one of us has ever much enjoyed being scrubbed with a canine tongue. And only one of our dogs has ever done it much (Yuli, our second CCI pup, we think, though frankly the memory has faded.)
Steve recalls that Darby (CCI pup #4) often would lick the inside of Tucker’s ears. But what Kyndall does is different: she rushes up to Tuck and licks both sides of his mouth, usually wagging her tail enthusiastically as she ministers to him.
I’ve looked online for opinions about what all this may mean and found several interpretations, including a) it’s a demonstration of subservience (“Let me lick your chops for you, oh master!”), b) an invitation (“GREAT to see you again; let’s play!”), or a sign of affection (“Kisses!”) Tucker takes it in stride, patiently standing there as she works on him.
So we don’t see any harm in it. On the contrary, it helps to mitigate what has long been the most disgusting thing about Tucker, his tendency to drool. Now that I mention it, I suppose there could be another explanation: maybe Kyndall likes the taste? (Eewwwwwwwwwwww.)