View Full Version : Solutions to stop licking

14th August 2012, 01:15 AM
I have 2 Cavaliers: one is 13 an the other is 16 months. I would really like some advice on what to do to stop some obsessive licking that both seem to have, especially the crate licking my 16 month old is doing.

Here is the background:

I'm not sure when it started with my older Cavalier (maybe 2 years ago?) but he started licking the kitchen area rugs. I really didn't think too much of it but it turned into a morning ritual of licking these rugs and the carpet around our family room chairs. I'm sure there must be some food smells there... but honestly, my husband is a clean freak and we vacuum daily. So I really don't think there is a lot of food/crumbs on the floor.

I've become more concern because my "baby" cavalier is doing the same thing. It is limited to the same space. Both now do this when I'm in the kitchen- breakfast, lunch, dinner. They don't go there on their own but they both lick the family room carpets in the morning (occasionally at other times).

The younger cavalier also likes to lick his crate doors in the morning. It is really this behavior that is driving me to ask questions about this. On weekends, he knows that 5:30-6:00 am is the time to get up and he starts licking his crate. At first it was mild but now he does this until I get him out of the crate. I have tried relocating the crate (which results in digging the crate - very noisy), I have shaken the crate and I have "thumped" the crate with a pillow. None of these corrective actions result in a change of behavior. I have kept this up for 30 minutes too. A few weeks ago I was sick and needed to sleep in a chair to be able to breathe. I let him sleep on my lap and I had no issues with the licking.

I'm hoping someone has a solution for me. I don't want to put him in our bed. I also can't stand the licking noise at 6:00 am on Saturday and Sunday morning.

Any advice?


14th August 2012, 10:42 AM
Sorry to hear this, unfortunately Cavaliers are one of the breeds prone to obsessive compulsive disorders

This thread might help http://www.cavaliertalk.com/forums/showthread.php?41913-6-month-old-puppy-tail-chasing-alot!&highlight=obsessive+compulsive+disorder and if you search on the forum you will find other threads on the topic too.

Firstly get a vet to check both dogs to make sure there is nothing else going on - they may need referral to a specialist to rule out conditions. Then ask them for a referral to a trainer using positive, reward based techniques who should be able to give you some ideas of how to distract them.

Usually distraction techniques are used to treat these conditions, extreme cases may require medication. This isn't something that will resolve overnight especially after a long period of time.

Please don't shake or thump the crate no matter how frustrated or stressed you are getting with the behaviour, you will be causing stress to your dog which will only increase the behaviour, also you are rewarding him for continued licking as any attention is better than no attention at all.

It is possible that initially there were crumbs even on just one or two occasions which started the carpet licking and it has become obsessive. No matter how careful we are something always gets spilt! It seems to have become associated with your presence in the room. If you remove the dogs from the kitchen to another area whilst they are doing it do they continue with the behaviour?

Could you distract them with a game, or perhaps a stuffed kong [lots of recipes in the Rupert's Fund recipe book available from http://cavalier-gift-shop.org/index.php?searchStr=recipes&_a=viewCat&Submit=Go

Are they getting plenty of stimulation and exercise?

14th August 2012, 11:52 PM
My 6-year old cav has licked the glass patio doors since I got him when he was a year old. It took some time but he no longer pays attention to Bitter Apple. After using many bottles I just gave in. I'm beginning to think it's a cav trait. He did not come from the best place and judging from his original condition he probably never saw a patio door. So maybe it's something to do with the texture of your carpets that's attracting him.

20th August 2012, 01:34 AM
Thanks for the reply. I must confess that I haven't done a lot to distract this behavior on a consistent basis and I know well that this is the key to any training. The licking is limited to the kitchen when I'm there and also includes the crate licking in the morning for my young Cav. As a result of the advice, I've done two things:

1.) For my 16 month old Cav, I have been increasing the exercise routine and added consistent distractions, he does seem to be responding well. Before this advice, I played ball about 30 minutes in the morning and we did weekly agility classes. Now, I have continued these activities but included a 30 - 45 minute walk per day. (instead of the treadmill, I'm now outside). If he starts licking, I either pick him up or bring him into another room or play ball. For now, I am trying to rise before him to prevent any crate licking. This happens naturally on weekdays. On weekends, it is something that I hope not to continue. I'm hopeful that if I break the pattern, it won't happen in the future.

2.) Regarding my 13 year old Cav, he has arthritis; while he gets regular exercise, long walks and runs are not in his future. What I have done, is just pick him up and/or put him in my lap. He likes that. I've also transported him to his favorite sleep spot when I can't hold him in the kitchen.

I'm hopeful these changes will result in long-term changes. So far, so good.