Mamamia’s Keryn has a strange problem with her pupper, Vinnie, aka Vincent Maree. “My dog is licking my lounge. It’s made of fabric and he just keeps doing it. I tell him to stop but he just does it again. Why is he doing it and how can I stop him?” she asks.
Dog trainer, Mel Ritterman together with Animal Behaviourist, Dr Kate Mornement, reveal the answers!
Dogs lick for a number of reasons. There is never one simple explanation for something like this because behaviour in dogs is so complex!
I thought I would turn to my lovely friend, Dr Kate Mornement from Pets Behaving Badly to help us out with a more in-depth and specific answer. Dr Kate is a PhD qualified Applied Animal Behaviourist. She consults to pet owners and people working professionally with animals. She is a media spokesperson, educator and Kate is also a mum!
“According to behaviour science - any behaviour that maintains or increases in frequency must be reinforcing (rewarding) or it would not continue. Although licking is a normal behaviour for dogs, when it becomes excessive it should be addressed. Stopping this behaviour requires understanding the motivation behind it," Dr Kate Mornement says.
"In many cases, excessive licking is related to an underlying health or behavioural issue such as Canine Compulsive Disorder. A trip to the vet to treat or rule out a medical issue is a good first step. Excessive licking can also be related to anxiety. Dogs lick to relieve anxiety just like some people bite their nails or fidget. Treating the underlying cause of the anxiety, under the guidance of a qualified behaviourist, will help stop the licking."
"Finally, if the licking is not excessive, and just something your dog does occasionally why not provide your dog with appropriate outlets for licking? These can include soft toys, chew toys and feeding your dog from puzzle toys. Reward your dog for licking these items with lots of attention and treats. If your dog licks the couch, redirect them to lick the appropriate items and reward heavily. With some time and repetition your dog will be much more likely to lick these items instead of your couch".