This paper presents an overview of a discrete element method approach to dry friction in the presence of a third body. Three dimensional computer simulations have been carried out to show the influence of the third body properties (and more specifically their adhesion) on friction coefficient and profiles of dissipated power. Simple interaction laws and a cohesive contact are set up to uncouple the key parameters governing the contact rheology. The model is validated through a global energy balance. As it is shown that dynamic friction coefficient can be explained only in terms of local energy dissipation, this work also emphasizes the fact that mechanism effects and third body rheology have important consequences on the energy generation and dissipation field. Therefore, asymmetries can arise and the surface temperature of first bodies can be significantly different even for the same global friction coefficient value. Such investigations highlight the fact that friction coefficient cannot be considered in the same way at the mechanism scale as at the contact scale where the third body plays a non-negligible role, although it has been neglected for years in thermal approaches to study of surfaces in contact.