View Full Version : Licking...everything.

11th April 2007, 05:50 PM
So, I know all dogs lick, but Fiona's new thing is to lick EVERYTHING. She licks the walls in the house, the couch cushions,the floor, in the middle of the night I'll wake up to her licking my pillow or the sheets or the window...everything. Is this normal? It doesnt bother me, except for in the middle of the night when the noise is right by my head, lol.

11th April 2007, 07:29 PM
Hmmm, that sounds like it is possibly an obsessive compulsive behaviour. When she is doing it, have something around like a favourite toy or filled kong that you can just distract her quickly with and then praise her for shifting her interest to the toy. For some reason cavaliers are a bit prone to doing things like this, fly catching and tail-chasing, and usually it is nothing more worrying than a slight annoyance for the owner. Sometimes though such things can be a sign of a neurological issue (many would feel an obsessive compulaive behaviour on its own is a neurological issue that can manifest in varying dgrees of severity, but sometimes they can be a sign of other problems -- some neurologists feel fly catching can be associated with epilepsy and SM for example, but again, it isn't always). Jaspar tail chases sometimes for example but does it much less now then when he was a puppy. Most behaviouralists seem to feel that you shouldn't scold a dog for such behaviours as the reward of your attention may only encourage the displays -- hence it is better to distract and redirect the behaviour. If she is young they will often grow out of these behaviours but it is wise to gently intervene whenever you can.

11th April 2007, 07:32 PM
This should be of interest: http://www.purdue.edu/UNS/html4ever/021021.Luescher.compulsive.html

Obviously not all situations are cause for serious concern, but it is good to do things to distract. One other thing recommended is to gve your dog some cues to obey -- sit, down, etc. as soon as the behaviour begins.

11th April 2007, 07:34 PM
Faithey licks.. and licks.. and licks too!! All the time she feels like she has to lick it seems. Usually I will pick her up and flip her over and rub her tummy or scratch her chest and give her some lovin.. :lotsaluv: Sometimes I'll initiate play.. Distraction is the best way, like Karlin said. :)

She does it much less now than she used to do it when she first came to us too .. Good luck! :rah:

11th April 2007, 07:42 PM
Here's more info.


The general recommendation is to make sure there is no underlying medical cause for obsessive licking if it is really an issue, as it can be linked to some health conditions.

Sara I'd be cautious about unintentionally rewarding the behaviour by flipping Faith over and rubbing her for this behaviour -- distracting her with something she has to do, rather than you doing something to her that she likes which is essentially, saying 'do that behaviour and you get rewarded for it!', is a better option. :thmbsup: It's tricky sometimes to remember that what seems a distraction may instead be a reward! The distraction needs to be interpreted by the dog as a task/action, something that keeps the dog otherwise focused, not something that says, hey doing that previous action is something I like so much that I am going to reward you with a rub/play session/treat. I find this one of the hardest aspects of training -- thinking thru the DOG's eye view of things!

11th April 2007, 07:52 PM
Thanks Karlin, I never thought of that. She does weird things sometimes.. like lick.. chase shadows.. bark at headlights (icon_nwunsure) and freak out at the central vacuum cleaner.. I just figure she's "quirky." :lol:

I also should note that I see a huge decline in these behaviors after we've had a good training session. Maybe she does it because she's bored.

11th April 2007, 08:57 PM
Mary Alice did that continuously when we first got her.
(She's a rescue dog that was severely abused).

We think it was anxiety in her case, but she also had some medical issues.

As she's settled in, most of it has stopped or at least slowed a lot.

Now, she does it if she's anxious or unhappy.....which isn't often! :)

12th April 2007, 12:27 AM
The licking is something we've talked about on the boards before. While constant licking could be a compulsion, it seems that a lot of cavaliers really enjoy licking. Cedar is our worst licker. He favorite is licking skin--human skin. She never licks herself excessively, but she LOVES to lick us. I dislike it, so I've taught her "no lick." She tries to obey, but you can tell she has to really TRY not to lick. My husband actually enjoys it <shudders in disgust!> so Cedar gets her licks in on him. Especially at night. When he takes his shirt off at bedtime, even if Cedar is dead asleep she wakes up specifically to lick his arm or shoulder or back.. whatever is available. She reminds me of a toddler, who refuses to sleep because of an action they REALLY want to do. Cedar will be asleep yet still lick...then she'll fall asleep completely for a second, wake herself up and keep licking!!

Sometimes the NOISE of the licking annoys me, and I pull her away from him, give the "no lick" command, and she settles down to sleep.

Willow has learned that if she licks your hand, you will pet her. :S It's kinda the situation Karlin described: The licking is annoying, so I pet her instead. She stops licking until you stop petting. When you stop, she licks again...and the cycle goes on and on and on.....

12th April 2007, 10:11 PM
Hmmmm - my "licker" is my shih tzu!! She loves to lick the leather recliners, and she licks and flea bites at the covers on the bed.

As others have said, it's usually the sound that really gets to me. One of her five toys (she's like a Rainman) has her attention lately; she has been chewing on the ear until it just makes that awful gnawgnawgnaw sound. Last night I tossed it off the bed and she stood and looked at it until I handed her another toy.

Tibby will lick sometimes along with the scratching from her allergies. And I can tell where Wallis has licked her feet. Usually if I can't hear it I leave them alone!