8 months ago
Last edited at 1:52PM on 9/11/2012
It is a friendly request, they want something from you. Attention, food, play, etc. It's more like "please love me" than "I love you". Most owners discourage the other request gesture, pawing, but allow licking because it's not as painful, though it's just as manipulative! You can easily replace this natural gesture with an alternate one like "sit" to be the default when the dog wants something, saving yourself and guests from unsolicited slobber-fests.