Ray often rolls over onto his back when he sees one of us approaching him. An invitation to tummy rubs? Perhaps. He often starts “lip-licking” when in that position which brings his body language into question.
As many of you already know, “lip licking” can be a sign of stress relief; a sign of appeasement or submission. While we often assume that he is inviting a tummy rub, he could be giving off a quite different message which we may not understand.
Just recently however, I believe that I received a very clear message from him. He was laying on the floor and, as I approached him, he did his usual roll-over to expose his tummy. I started rubbing his tummy when he started regular lip-licking! Mixed messages again!
Until I can understand him better, I chose to err on the side of respect for his possible wishes, and moved to his back legs which he presented in such a manner as to make a leg massage very easy! Being a Shepherd/Rotti X, he has a very good set of muscles in his back legs which make it very easy to massage/stimulate as desired.
As soon as I started working on his left back leg, his “lip-licking” stopped and he seemed to totally relax. After a few minutes, I switched over to his right back leg and repeated the process but, this time, he interrupted.
He turned his head towards me so that we had direct eye contact. He then lifted his head up and licked my nose, which was quickly followed by two quick, but distinct, nose touches! I think that I am pretty accurate in interpreting that as an unequivocal sign of approval. Love you too buddy! It was my pleasure!