Hi froup.
My question is this...What does it mean when dogs lick each other's muzzles?
I've read through old posts from this NG, but nothing that I saw really addresses this particular question. I've seen posts about younger dogs licking the muzzles of older dogs as a form of submission, but nothing that indicates what it means when the licking is reciprocal. Is it a form of affection or something along those lines? Recognizing that the other dog is a member of the same "pack"?
The reason I ask is that my wife & I have a 7 yr. old female Rott and we're thinking of adopting another female Rott (3 yr. old)that has come into our rescue organization. The two seem to get along very well (no nipping at all, and they infrequently growl at each other). No raised hackles or any other sign of aggression. I'm just wondering if I'm missing something.
Thanks for your help.
bb3

www.bigskyrottrescue.org
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Hi froup. My question is this...What does it mean when dogs lick each other's muzzles? I've read through old posts ... growl at each other). No raised hackles or any other sign of aggression. I'm just wondering if I'm missing something.

My two big dogs lick each others' muzzles occasionally. Dylan (9, GSD female) is clearly the dominant of the two. Oppie (7, Lab male) isn't interested in dominance; he's just a happy-go-lucky goofball. But she licks his muzzle about as often as he licks hers, I'd say. I wouldn't characterize the situations where this happens as either begging or submission, but beyond that, I can't put my finger on the significance of it.

My two chihuahuas (12, M and F) not only lick each other's muzzles, they groom each other's faces. One sometimes puts a paw on the other's back and holds him/her down while doing a thorough cleanup of face and ears. These two are littermates, so their bond is tighter than most.

I don't know if this helps; at least it's a data point that the significance of muzzle licking can go beyond submission and begging.

How much time have the two Rotties spent together? Enough to become used to each other, friendly and playful?
FurPaw

Brain cells come and brain cells go, but fat cells live forever.

To reply, unleash the dog.
My question is this...What does it mean when dogs lick each other's muzzles?

It can mean various things - submission or demand depending upon its persistence.
I've read through old posts from this NG, but nothing that I saw really addresses this particular question. I've seen ... form of affection or something along those lines? Recognizing that the other dog is a member of the same "pack"?

No - I wouldn't say that. Its status testing.
The reason I ask is that my wife & I have a 7 yr. old female Rott and we're thinking ... growl at each other). No raised hackles or any other sign of aggression. I'm just wondering if I'm missing something.

Rottweilers, especially the female, are frequently intolerant of others of the same sex. In general it is better for the second dog to be of opposite sex, and all the more so in your breed. What I would expect from the younger dog is initial submission for maybe as long as six months if lucky 18 months. When she gets comfortable in her seting she will start to test the patience of the older dog. There are always exceptions, and certainly sometimes it works out. But if you want a second dog your odds of a harmonious family will be a lot higher if the two are of opposite sex.
Diane Blackman
this is a point too little understood.
Everyone seems to have gotten the "muzzle licking = solicitation of food = submission" mantra down pat. And then they ignore some behavioral responses that make it clear that the lickee is offended, not appeased.
It too me wayy too long to get it through my head that my young pit bull's persistent muzzle licking was NOT submissiveness, but something like what Diane calls status testing. And the other dogs did NOT LIKE IT.
I finally learned to "watch the dog" (as Clothier advises) and believe what they were telling me. And I stopped letting my dog lick muzzles.

EmilyS
Hi froup. My question is this...What does it mean when ... sign of aggression. I'm just wondering if I'm missing something.

My two big dogs lick each others' muzzles occasionally. Dylan (9, GSD female) is clearly the dominant of the two. ... begging. How much time have the two Rotties spent together? Enough to becomeused to each other, friendly and playful? FurPaw

Thanks for the reply.
The licking I've observed doesn't really fall into those categories either. Mostly when they first get together and then at random times while they are together. My first thought was that it was a greeting.

They've spent several days together, and don't seem to have any problems with each other. Maggie (our older Rott) isn't really playful at any time. Her "perkiest" time is first thing in the morning while on her walk. They seem to play a bit at that time. When I have the two of them, they ride in the extended cab portion of my truck and have no problems with each other in such close quarters (which I assume to be a good thing because I would think that Maggie would be territorial since it is generally only her there). They spent the whole of last weekend together, as well as several hikes that we have taken the two of them on (often spending an hour or more in the ext. cab).
Thanks Diane. I've heard the same thing about 2 female Rotts together, but in our experience with Maggie (our older female) we have found that she is more intolerant of males (we have taken several on walks and transports). The lady that had her before we did had another female (non-Rott, but a little larger and I don't remember the breed). This lady is a friend of my family and never mentioned any agression on either dog's part. Maybe this makes her more accustomed to the gender?
I've heard the same thing about 2 female Rotts together, but in our experience with Maggie (our older female) we ... my family and never mentioned any agression on either dog's part. Maybe this makes her more accustomed to the gender?[/nq]Or she was simply not prepared to challenge a larger dog. The situation won't be governed by her tolerance for the mere existence of another dog, but how she reacts when the younger dog attempts to take over the top spot. The prior experience with another female is a good sign, but that she is intolerant of ANY other dogs is not. Based on your description of their behaviors to date they are testing each other. If you read case histories of *** fights its almost always something that develops over a long period.

In a significant number of cases not only did the bitches initially get along they appeared to interact well. What changes is the confidence level of the challenging dog. Of course things may very well work out just fine. I can't see how the dogs are interacting, nor do I know either dog. I can only go on what you report, which makes me uneasy about the potentials here. You know the dogs and their histories and are in a better position to observe their interactions.

Good luck whatever your decision.
Diane Blackman
Some things are better left unsaid, but if you really want to know, .LipLickers are LipLickers because they want to know if the other guy/gal got anything better to eat than he/she did, that's all..
Some things are better left unsaid, but if you really want to know, .LipLickers are LipLickers because they want to know if the other guy/gal got anything better to eat than he/she did, that's all..

Sometimes the simpler explanation is the better, but in this case, it's not.
With my 2 dogs, Friday often licks Rocky's chops. Of the two, Friday is by far the less food motivated dog.
I agree with Diane insofar as it concerns Rocky and Friday - status testing. Every once in a while Friday will stop licking and grab a flew.

Matt. Rocky's a Dog.
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