Why Do Dogs Lick Each Other’s Penises?

Dogs engage in various behaviors that may seem strange or even inappropriate to humans. One such behavior is licking each other’s penises. While it may appear shocking or disgusting to us, this behavior is an instinctual and natural part of their social interaction and communication. Just like humans shake hands or give hugs as a way of greeting each other, dogs have their ways of expressing affection, establishing dominance, and maintaining social bonds.

1. Instinctual Grooming Behavior

Licking is a fundamental grooming behavior for dogs. In the wild, dogs would use their tongues to clean themselves and their pack mates. Since they can’t reach certain areas with their paws, they rely on licking to keep themselves and their pack members clean. This behavior fulfills a hygiene and self-care instinct.

2. Social Bonding

Licking serves as a way of reinforcing social bonds within a dog pack. When dogs lick each other, it releases endorphins that promote feelings of pleasure and relaxation. This helps in cementing their relationships and maintaining a harmonious social structure. It is also a way for dogs to display submission, respect, and friendship.

3. Communication and Canine Body Language

Licking is a form of communication for dogs. They have a keen sense of smell, and by licking each other’s genital area, they can gather a wealth of information about the other dog, including their age, sex, hormone levels, and overall health. Scent marking in this way is part of their natural instinct to communicate and gather information about their surroundings and pack members.

4. Establishing Dominance and Hierarchy

When dogs lick each other’s genital area, it can also be a way of establishing dominance or hierarchy within their pack. This behavior is more common in male dogs and is often seen during territorial disputes or when a male seeks to assert dominance over another male. It is a way of displaying superiority and asserting control.

5. Learned Behavior

Licking each other’s penises can also be a learned behavior among dogs. Puppies observe and learn from their mothers and older pack members. If they witness other dogs engaging in this behavior, they may imitate it as they grow older. It becomes a part of their social interactions and may carry forward as they interact with other dogs in their adult life.

In conclusion, the act of dogs licking each other’s penises may seem strange or uncomfortable to us, but it is important to understand that it is a natural part of their social behavior and communication. From grooming to social bonding and hierarchy establishment, dogs have their reasons for this behavior. By better understanding their instincts and social dynamics, we can appreciate and accept their actions as a normal aspect of their canine nature.