excessive licking?

asked 2015-09-01 19:36:53 -0600

Does anyone have a dog that will just... for no reason, get a 'bee in their bonnet' and INSIST on licking (legs, feet) aggressively (like they are in a trance) for about 10 minutes straight? And if so -- do you just let them go for it - or have you figured out how to nip it in the bud?

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My dog has the same problem. Licking like crazy. I was going to check into calming bites

Tamara S.'s profile image Tamara S.  ( 2018-07-31 21:16:44 -0600 ) edit

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answered 2015-09-01 20:18:04 -0600

Licking in this way is usually an obsessive expression of a self-calming behavior. My second dog used to lick (usually just the air, but anything that came near her face) whenever she'd get a little stressed, and it was difficult for her to stop the behavior on her own. If you think your dog is doing it obsessively, it can help them learn to regulate the behavior on their own if you assist by interrupting it and giving him/her something else to do.

However if the behavior doesn't seem obsessive (you can usually tell by watching their movements and facial expression--does the dog look like they're enjoying themselves or do they look a little bit worried?) it's fine to let it continue, unless it's bothering others. My friend's dog LOVES to lick (mostly feet/legs, but anything that comes close enough), and when she gets too obnoxious with it she has to go get her binky, a big rubber ball she carries around that prevents her from being able to lick anyone who's not a fan of a doggy foot bath.

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I have a Bichon that licks excessively. He licks his paws, legs, the carpet blanket, pillow, sheets. We have to stop him, but it is only a temporary fix. I have heard that it is an allergy, but not sure.

Marti C.'s profile image Marti C.  ( 2015-09-02 17:08:49 -0600 ) edit

Yeah, I have had dogs with allergies who will lick when their skin is irritated until they get hot spots, and one of my current dogs will lick between her toes when the hair there starts to mat. Definitely worth ruling out an allergy or any other physical cause if the dog is licking its own feet/legs. I guess I read it as the dog licking a human, but after your comment I see that's not the only possible interpretation.

Laura R.'s profile image Laura R.  ( 2015-09-02 18:30:53 -0600 ) edit

Thanks guys -- I like the idea of trying to redirect. And yes - he licks MY legs for 5-10 minutes with this spaced-out look and intensity (like I MUST do this!) - I say he's "fixing me"!!

Karen M.'s profile image Karen M.  ( 2015-09-03 22:27:01 -0600 ) edit

just keep an eye out for licking the walls, that's a sign of health issues

Alexcis H.'s profile image Alexcis H.  ( 2015-09-07 20:05:13 -0600 ) edit

My 3 Chi's groom each other obsessively. My Asthma Service Dog, Hobbie (the long coat Chi) is the "motherly" type, probably because she has been trained to respond to my attacks by jumping up on me, putting her paws on my chest and licking my face to direct me to take my inhaler from her vest!

Scherry C.'s profile image Scherry C.  ( 2015-09-11 14:40:56 -0600 ) edit
answered 2015-09-02 20:26:31 -0600

My Pomeranian is notorious for licking, EXCESSIVELY. What we do is say give kisses, so you are allowing the dog to give you kisses, but then say no more kisses and kinda of not push them off but settle them down. It gives the time to kiss, but then knows when it is time to stop.

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answered 2015-09-02 17:10:20 -0600

There is always the 'cone of shame' if you want the dog to stop licking while in your care...

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hahaha ohhhh the cone of shame -- they are just so pathetic in those! But yes, good idea!

Karen M.'s profile image Karen M.  ( 2015-09-03 22:28:52 -0600 ) edit
answered 2015-09-02 14:50:20 -0600

10 minutes straight sounds obsessive to me. When I've experienced obsessive licking, it's usually very slow, not like excited licking. I usually interrupt dogs that lick as a habit. I interrupt them by moving whatever they're licking towards their face until they stop (very slowly, no kicking them in the face). You may have to do this a few times for them to realize they're not going to be able to lick you. For some, that's enough to curb their habit. For others, follow what Laura says - redirect to a toy or initiate some play or give them something else to do, even if it's going to bed to lay down. Just pay attention to their licking - excitedly licking your face for a minute when you come home is different than lying at your feet for 30 minutes licking your toes. Make sure they get a chance to give you some good ol' doggie kisses!

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Oh definitely love to get the kisses and greeting when I come home!! This is more like we are watching TV, he's in the room, and suddenly comes over to me to start.

Karen M.'s profile image Karen M.  ( 2015-09-03 22:28:01 -0600 ) edit
answered 2018-09-06 12:58:12 -0600

We have 2 Mini Foxies (1F & 1 M), our female loves to lick the bottom of my foot when I put her in our bed at 3am in the morning, when she is satisfied she lays down on my foot and goes off to sleep.

Our Male sits with me on my lounge and licks my legs, again once he is satisfied he also lays down and goes to sleep, however he doesn't lick if I am wearing leggings, jeans or track pants. So this seems to be a durrant.

They are Brother and Sister born 1 year apart (2 different litters, but same parents).

So in conclusion I would say it is definitely a soothing thing, a bit like a baby with a dummy.

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