International Kissing Day

International kissing day is celebrated on April 13, 2021, a gesture that in our species symbolizes affection and loving each other. But does it have the same meaning for other species as well? For the dog, for example, kissing is not part of his communication tools and filling it with kisses could generate misunderstandings. International kissing day is celebrated every 13th April. A gesture that, at least for our species, symbolizes affection and “loving each other”. The choice of date is probably due to a competition that is celebrated every year in Thailand and which saw a couple who kissed for 58 consecutive hours win on this day. Not bad, right? Another reason could be due to the release in April 1896 of a short film called The Kiss, which showed a kiss on the big screen for the first time: the film caused scandal and disapproval especially in the ecclesiastical environment. The date of Kissing Day, however, is not always attributable to April 13. In fact, some countries celebrate July 6, a date probably established in England in 1990 to celebrate “the stolen kiss”. Whatever day you decide to celebrate, you can take the opportunity to kiss your friends, your family and your partner because, you know, kissing is generally a very appreciated gesture. However, this does not apply equally to all species, such as the dog that lives with us, for example. Before filling him with kisses, it is important to stop for a moment and ask yourself: does he really like it? Man-dog misunderstandings Dealing with species other than ours, such as the dog we live with, allows us to know aspects of the other and of ourselves that we could hardly have access to with the mere relationship between humans. On the other hand, however, it is very easy to run into some misunderstandings due to the fact that there are gestures that have a meaning for us and for the dog instead have another totally different one. For example, the hug is for us a gesture that expresses affection and therefore linked to the emotional sphere, while for the dog, girdling the other with its paws, a scene that you probably happened to witness, is a sign of assertiveness and could therefore feel uncomfortable if he finds himself “forced” in your arms. When we kiss him, remember that the dog doesn’t like it as much as we do Likewise, kissing someone is also a sign of affection for our species linked to positive emotions, but which may not be seen in the same way by the dog. In fact, the kiss is not a canine communication tool but exclusively human. This does not mean that the dog cannot communicate the same affectionate concept of kissing, but it simply means that he does it differently from us and therefore may not correctly interpret our gesture. For the dog, what can be compared to our kiss, in some situations, is “licking”, but we must be careful not to fall into the trap that if a dog licks us it must necessarily mean that he is kissing us. In fact, licking can have different meanings: the dog sometimes does it to “disinfect” his wounds, to express stress, or to get information about the other. In the event that the behavior is directed towards our face it can be a request for attention, a sign of arousal or high arousal, or a way to get rid of a stressful situation. Sometimes it can even be a sign of distancing rather than approaching: if we are too much on him and he licks us insistently it means that the situation is bothering him and that it is better to leave him some space. On the other hand, “licking our faces” can also be a sign of affection: it is in fact a parental behavior of the dog, that is, it has its origins in childhood when the mother licks the little ones to stimulate them to do the needs and remains then in adult life as a social behavior and precisely with an emotional value. The dog then understands that you are giving him affection by kissing him and he expresses it too but he simply does it differently from us. Knowing the dog at the base of the relationship This does not mean, however, that we can never kiss our dog or that he does not see it in any way as a gesture of affection simply because it is not a communication tool that he normally uses. The dog is in fact a social and very flexible species and within a relationship there are many gestures allowed and appreciated. Exchanging kisses can be a personal way of communicating with your dog or, for example, a kind of game of your own. The important thing is not to overdo it in filling him with kisses and above all always try to understand what he is communicating to us and if we are transmitting our“message of affection” in the right way. It must also be considered that each dog has different preferences and what one individual likes may not like another. The important thing in the relationship with the dog is to recognize his needs and learn to understand when he is sending us signals of stress to tell us that the situation is making him uncomfortable. In fact, not putting our pet in difficulty is one of the foundations on which to build a healthy relationship. Furthermore, there are gestures granted to one’s reference human but not to all the others: therefore, let’s not let strangers kiss the dog, but let’s first understand if he can really like it.