Until about two years ago I know nothing about dogs, and didn't particularly like them. Then my wife decided to adopt a rescued papillon. Upon first seeing Bella (the dog) I fell in love with her.

She and her more recently adopted papillon companion, Chablis, love to lick. Bella licks my face, aiming for nose and eyes. Hands, feet and anything else are fair game for her. Chablis goes for the ears. Since the dogs seem to enjoy the licking so much, I let them lick away.

Does anyone know why they might be doing this? Does it tie in with some sort of ingrained doggy pack behavior?
Thanks.

Jerry Bank
Trenton, New Jersey
Music is the language of the gods.
Does anyone know why they might be doing this? Does it tie in with some sort of ingrained doggy pack behavior?

Maybe.
One way that dogs will test their limits is by licking other dogs' flews. Obviously, they know you're not a dog, but that doesn't mean they won't check it out. Either that, or you ate chicken.

Matt. Rocky's a Dog.
Does anyone know why they might be doing this? Does it tie in with some sort of ingrained doggy pack behavior?

in addition to what Matt told you, dogs will often groom each other. my male dog is a licker/groomer. he will lick any exposed skin, especially the legs. summertime is fun in my house. i assume he does it because i'm a member of his pack and he likes me. i don't think there's any ulterior motive.
my other dog is a kisser. she only licks me on the mouth or cheek. she does have an ulterior motive. she kisses to manipulate me sometimes it's to appease me and other times it's to get something she wants. i usually let her get away with it, because it's pretty darned cute. i also turn it around on her. if she wants something, i might make her give me a kiss in order to get it.
both of my dogs can get obnoxious about it, though, so i think it's important to teach them to knock it off when told to. especially elliott. there's nothing quite like standing at the sink, washing dishes, and suddenly having a sloppy slab of ham plonk itself on the back of your knee. ugh. so, "icky licky" is a handy command.

shelly
http://home.bluemarble.net/~scouvrette>> http://cat-sidh.blogspot.com

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. Eleanor Roosevelt, This Is My Story, 1937
THAT'S INSANE.
Licking is SUBMISSIVE behavior. Your dogs lick on accHOWENT of YOU HURT and INTIMIDATE them
Until about two years ago I know nothing about dogs, and didn't particularly like them. Then my wife decided to ... anyone know why they might be doing this? Does it tie in with some sort of ingrained doggy pack behavior?

Gordo, my male chihuahua, licks excessively, particularly when he is getting scritches, and he is also very submissive, your classic "omega". I suspect there is a relationship there.

I get Gordo's licking under control by using a command, "no lickies!" ("shardebash" would work just as well), and I temporarily withdraw the scritches (withdrawal of reinforcement). It hasn't eliminated the licking, but it's decreased the frequency and persistence. OK, I'm not consistent - I withdraw scritches only when the licking is really annoying me, because he does seem to enjoy it.
FurPaw

"Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o'clock in the morning."
- T. S. Eliot
To reply, unleash the dog
he will lick any exposed skin, especially the legs. summertime is fun in my house.

Zoe's first summer was extremely challenging for the same reason. Suddenly, everyone was showing their toes! Why, they must be asking for kisses!!

Catherine
& Zoe & Queenie
& Rosalie the calico