Maggie’s dog behavior was quite perplexing for Sue. Maggie, her 4 year old female Lhasa Apso compulsively licked her lips. Being an avid reader, Maggie’s noisy lip-licking began to grate on Sue’s nerves as she tried to read with Maggie sitting by her.
Have you ever noticed when its real quiet, how a constant, soft sound can become a reverberating annoyance? Like a dripping faucet, it just wears on your nerves, doesn’t it?
The numbing sound would continue as Sue tried to fall asleep while Maggie licked her lips at night in bed. But licking isn’t the only noticeable dog behavior problem.
Sue noticed other behavior problems as well
She also noticed that all Maggie seems to care about, other than her occasional cat chasing hobby, is lying around in Sue’s lap. Except for the occasional quick potty breaks during the evening, she was just content lying in Sue’s lap.
Maggie has also started barking and whining when Sue leaves the house for work or short trips out of the house.
Vet check-up first
The first thing I always do is to make sure medical issues are ruled out before we delve into behavioral issues. Sue had Maggie checked out by her vet for dental problems and anything else the vet could rule out.
When I first visited with Sue and Maggie, I discovered how isolated their existence was and suggested that Maggie wasn’t getting enough stimulation.
Insufficient stimulation can often cause or exacerbate a number of behavior problems including obsessive licking and other compulsive disorders.
Sue said that when she first got Maggie, she was excited to walk her and take her places but that as time went on she did less and less with Maggie. Sue also mentioned that she just loved Maggie’s company and companionship.
I suggested that perhaps she was focusing too much on her own needs and not enough on Maggie’s needs. That brought up the question of: “What else could Maggie want?”
What your dog needs
Your dog needs to walk and explore and do fun things with you. It helps to stimulate your dog’s mind. In fact, your dog needs both physical and mental stimulation.
If you notice that your dog has developed some compulsive dog problems, think about the following suggestions that I gave to Sue for Maggie:
- Two good brisk 30 minute walks a day ( it will do you both a world of good).
- Three, 2 minute dog obedience training sessions daily to include sit, down and come.
- Put your dog’s food or half their meal in a Buster Cube or Roll-A-Treat ball so that your dog has to work for some or all of his food.
- Switch out the treat dispensing toys a couple of times a week to keep things interesting.
- Take your dog on weekend outings to the beach, lake or a great hiking venture outside the neighborhood. Going to the local park for a walk can be a welcomed change for your dog.
Sue noticed that after 4-5 weeks of consistent physical and mental exercise, Maggie’s lip-licking greatly subsided and she is a much happier dog. With new treat dispensing toys and doggie puzzles, Maggie’s environment was richer.
Do you often find that you tend to get hung up satisfying your own needs? And do you think: “What more could my dog possibly want out of life other than my love and affection, food and a warm bed at night?”
You might just find that if you follow Sue’s lead, you could take your relationship with your dog to a fresh new exciting level. Try it. You’ve got nothing to loose and everything to gain!
We’re always learning and there’s a bunch of you out there we are grateful to be able to serve and learn from. I’m really interested in your thoughts and opinions on this. I’m here to help.
Remember: “Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”
Jim Burwell, Houston dog trainer for 25+ years, serving over 9000 clients, has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad. Jim has the ability to not only steer dogs and puppies down the right path but to also train the owners to understand their part in having a great dog.
His Ground Rules for Great Dogs is your must have, easy step-by-step process to helping your dog. Be the dog owner your dog needs to be a great dog. Ground Rules gets you there. Grab them now.