I have noticed that dogs show affection in some habits like jumping on you or licking. The habit can be annoying if you don’t like it, although some people don’t mind. Licking is a natural habit for dogs and they do it for different reasons.
The first one is to show affection, so when you get home your dog can’t wait for you to take a seat so that he can welcome you home with a lick on your hands or neck. After you pet him or give him a nice treat he will show appreciation by licking you.
They also lick for grooming purposes. Your dog doesn’t have the privilege you have of taking a shower whenever you feel dirty, so he keeps himself clean by licking off dirt. Watch out for excessive licking though, because it might be an indication of anal irritation.
When a dog has a wound he might lick it to help in the healing process. The saliva contains some antibacterial properties that help the wound heal faster. If the dog licks the wound too much this might lead to the wound opening and getting re-infected so cover wounds that might pose this kind of risk.
Dogs sometimes lick out of compulsion. You will notice the dog keeps licking the same object over and over, for no reason at all. This kind of behavior calls for attention from a dog behaviorist.
Apart from licking humans, dogs lick each other to show submission or friendship. It’s just their way of communicating with each other.
When dogs are anxious for example experiencing separation anxiety, they lick to ease the anxiety. Licking calms the dog down as his energy is directed to the activity.
Lastly, it may come as a shocker but dogs lick humans because they like the taste of our skin. You already know humans taste salty when they sweat, and this is a taste dogs seem to enjoy.