Originally Posted by Gibbs Mom and Dad
Gibbs would have simply picked the bone up and walked away. He does it to me all the time when I want to play and he doesn't.
I will reconsider his intent when I pick him up and hold him. Just last night I picked him up and held him to my chest. He gave me a "kiss fest" on the cheek. Perhaps he wanted down, although he usually squirms when he doesn't want held.
I think the kissing, in that instance, is because he has learned that you like it, and it has become pleasurable for both of you. that's very different from frantic licking at a stranger.
The trouble with a lot of stress signals, and I think, one of the reasons they are so hard for people to learn and interpret well, is that they are contextual. MANY of them are things that perfectly happy, content dogs do SOMETIMES "just because", but in other instances are calming signals.
Licking - is one of those things. Some people like licking, encourage it in their puppies, so it becomes something that both the dog and owner share and enjoy.
Yawning - sometimes dogs yawn because they are sleepy or because they are just waking up. Other times, in stressful situations, when you see it happen, it is a calming signal.
Lip licking - Sometimes they're just getting food off their faces, other times it is a very clear sign of stress.
Turning away - Sometimes it means "I need space", sometimes it means "What did I just see over there?"
There are many, many others.