“My dog constantly licks the floor! I need to know how to stop it?” It was driving this dog owner nuts. Bill had had just about enough with his dog Pancho, a Chihuahua/Daschund mix.
“I’ve changed from using cleaners to wash the floor to using water only. I’ve put rugs down. Nothing seems to work!”
These types of behavior can be more common than you think.
Some dogs develop OCD (obsessive compulsive disorders) which can be easily identified by obsessive compulsive activities such as: licking the floor/carpet, furniture, tail chasing, air snapping, light chasing, flank- sucking, or water bowl digging. And some owners actually promote this behavior with laser light beams and wind up regretting it later.
Stress in the environment may also play a role in developing this disorder in your dog.
If, like Bill, your dog is exhibiting a similar behavior, don’t just think, “My dog constantly licks the floor!” let’s take a look at what you can actually do to remedy the situation.
The first thing to do is to see if your dog is getting enough quality exercise and mental stimulation. If you are able to check off these on your check list, it’s time to take a look at your overall relationship with your dog. You may already be doing some of the following – if so – just check them off and continue on down the list.
• Begin by providing adequate rules, personal space boundaries and expectations. Control food, space, articles of play and affection. That is, put your dog on a learn-to-earn program; everything he wants, he has to do at least a sit. That would include his food, access to your lap, his toys and any affection he gets from any family member.
• Embark on a rigorous exercise program of leadership walks. Two brisk 30 minute walks a day – by your side. Be sure and take time out in the middle of the walk to let him sniff, pee/poop and explore with his nose before resuming your walk back to the house.
• Supplement exercise with frequent dog training sessions of come, sit and down back and forth between two people and leave it commands. You would be surprised what 3 – 2 minute training sessions a day will do for your dog. That’s just 6 minutes a day. Surely you have 6 minutes each day for your dog! Teach and reinforce a command like a sit, down or place command to replace his OCD behavior when it occurs.
• See if you can reduce as much stress in your dog’s life as OCD is triggered by stress. So find the stressors in your dog’s life and remove them. If you can’t remove the stressors, then manage his environment to reduce your dog’s exposure to those stressors that cannot be eliminated. Better yet, enrich his environment. Get some great ideas from my previous article entitled, “A Bored Dog is a Troubled Dog.”
• Stop any family behavior (like laughing and attention) that might be reinforcing your dogs OCD. One young pup’s tail chasing or spinning was cured by all family members getting up and leaving the room every time he engaged in his OCD. It stopped in about 4 weeks.
• Some have found that anxiety wraps – creating body pressure on acupressure points can also be of tremendous value when dealing with this disorder. Anxiety Wraps for dogs is a simple spandex-like sweater that “swaddles” your dog in just the right places and in the right way to help reduce the stress of the disorder.
Finally if your dog has OCD, do something now! Make the commitment today. While there may not always be a cure, life with your dog can be happier and more complete.
I’m always curious about your input – it’s important to me.
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. If you dog exhibits any of these things, please know, I’m here to help.
“Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”
Jim Burwell, professional dog trainer for 25+ years, serving 8700+ 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 the culmination of these years of training into an easy, step-by-step process so that your dog understands what you expect of him, you empower him to be able to give you the behavior you want and you empower him to be successful at living in a human home.