Nature is truly amazing! It has given female dogs the instinct to protect and to keep the puppies clean, and this is done by their long tongues. Licking is picked up by dogs from birth. Mama dog licks the puppies to remove the smell that would attract predators. By licking the newborn puppies the mother dog cleans the puppies and also gets the nutrients from the placenta. Have you noticed how the mother dog would lick the puppies while nursing? She is taking advantage of the immobility of the puppies to lick them clean. Licking is done to show maternal affection. The dogs tongue serves as the very personal baby wipes that not only cleans the bottom but also stimulates the pups to relieve themselves.
In older dogs licking has a different purpose. Licking can be a greeting ceremony that can be done when the dogs wake up in the morning. It is their way of saying “Good morning”. In the wild, dogs that are gone for the day to hunt will be met with a lick by the other dogs that were left behind. The same thing goes when a dog has been way from the group. Dogs lick each other to let everyone know that all is okay.
The licking behavior has been handed down to the modern day dogs by their ancestors in the wild. Notice how a dog returning from the vet or from a stroll in the park will be licked by the other pets that were left behind.
Dogs lick other dogs to clean and to groom themselves. Humans have hands that can reach all parts of the body. Since dogs do not have the hands to reach inaccessible part of their bodies, other dogs will do the cleaning for them. In the absence of hand and hairbrushes, the tongue will do the cleaning and the grooming. It is a give and take agreement between the dogs – you lick and clean my ears and I will lick and clean your ears too.
Dogs lick other dogs to show affection. This time licking will be done in short licks that will move gradually around the body, very similar to the petting of human hands. Licking can also be a form of massage. Long stokes of the tongue is done along the dogs back. You will notice the dog whine in contentment.
Male dogs lick a female dogs private parts and female dogs reciprocate the action. This is a kind of sexual act that verifies if the female dog is ready to be mated.
Source by Jerry Welsh