Excessive Licking

Posted by merryblueeyes
Apr 27, 2012
I frequently puppy-sit my neighbor's little terrier mix. We think it is part Yorkshire terrier and part wire hair dachshund. Sandy is very hyper and she constantly wants to lick everything: the blanket, the cushions on the couch, the laptop computer, me! This things are all clean, or were before she was licking them. She can't seem to get near me without constantly licking. I think this is an effort to establish dominance, but how do I stop it? So far the most affective thing has been to bark at her as if I were an angry dog. I feel rather foolish doing it.
My little Maltese is a much easier little dog and is well trained. Sandy doesn't respond too well to rewards and treats for good behavior as my Maltese did. In fact, she keeps repeating the bad behavior so as to get a treat when she stops! Her owner is at her wits end.
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Apr 28, 2012
Hi Merryblueeyes,

I don't think Sandy licks you to establish her dominance but it is more like an insecurity or anxiety, or just simply being affectionate

Instead of growling, why don't you teach her to "Leave it". When she starts licking an object or yourself, tell her to "Leave it" and remove the object or yourself. You can give her something else that she can lick (not a treat since treat can be consumed instantly), such as a bone/nylobone/toy or rawhide with peanut butter on it... In other words, differentiate things she is allowed to lick and not to lick.

One of my dogs used to lick our hands excessively when we first adopted her. She was insecure and lack of confidence at that time. Over the years, she has been building her self-esteem/confidence and her life has become more interesting with more activities and other dogs so she stopped licking after a few months. I know how annoying to be licked all the time

Sandy simply doesn't understand that she is annoying you by licking excessively. Leave it command is very handy so I think it is well worth teaching it. When my dogs see squirrels on walks, I tell them to "Leave it", when somebody on skateboard or bicycle goes right by us, when I drop a pice of onion on the floor by my dogs, when walking by treats aisle in a pet store, it is endless...

I hope Sandy will soon learn how to Leave you alone and lick on something she is supposed to.

As for being hyper, I am afraid Sandy gets enough exercise. When you puppy-sit her, walk her and your Maltese at least one mile before settling down inside the house. I hope they play with each other too.

Hope this will help. Good luck