Why does my puppy snarl before licking my face?

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Female puppy, approx 6-7 months old. Had her for around 3 months. American pitbull cross. Lately she's been exhibiting this odd behavior: she will look me in the eyes and purse her lips as if about to bite before continuously licking my face. Like if you slo-mo a dog growling or snarling, her lips look like she's about to show her teeth, but she never does, and she never growls, she just lunges in for licks. Note, I do not put my head/face near hers, I do not go to the ground or go into her space; I know some dogs hate that. She will jump into my lap, sometimes to go after my hands for nibbles, or to sit in my lap quietly. She will often end up sat on her hind-legs, staring me in the face. If I coincidentally look in her eyes and/or talk, that's when she most often does it. If I look away, or avoid eye-contact she will desperately lick and paw at my neck/jaw in a 'play with me' way. Then she will make like the previous sentence and do it. I want to think it's just aggressive playing; when she goes after my hands she never bites, or even nips, but growls, yips, and 'tooths' my hands by catching them in her mouth and applying the slightest pressure; I'm trying to teach her play doesn't always equal rough and tumble, but I don't want to get complacent and have her bite my face (off).

I haven't really seen any aggressive behavior from her; the only incident was a misunderstanding where a chew-bone of hers was about to fall in a hole and I made to move it with my hand.

submitted by /u/JauntyCrustacean
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