It's kind of cute when your best buddy chases his tail or licks your face, but when he starts licking furniture, you may think something's up. Like humans, dogs can develop OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). Find out why before trying to stop the licking.
Visit your vet to see if there are any physical reasons for your pet's behavior. He may have a bacterial or viral infection, a head injury or he may be a nervous dog.
Identify stressful situations. Dogs may lick objects repetitively if they are experiencing stress. If you find your pup is licking when he hears loud sounds, eliminate the sounds, if possible.
Teach him tricks to focus his attention. Learning to sit and shake hands takes a few minutes each day for your pup to learn. Other tricks to include are playing dead and rolling over.
Redirect his attention when you catch him licking the furniture. Give him chew toys or fill a Kong toy with peanut butter. Play with him or have him perform one of the tricks he learned, such as shaking hands.
Provide plenty of physical and mental stimulation. Take him on daily walks. Play tug-of-war or have him fetch a Frisbee. Give him a puzzle toy such as the Buster Cube. Your pup has to roll it to get the treats hidden inside. Physical activity tires your pup so he is less likely to resort to repetitive behaviors. Mental activities stimulate his brain and relieve stress and anxiety.
Soak a cotton ball with a bitter spray and have your pup smell it. He won't like the smell and will probably turn away. Wipe the spray on the furniture he is licking to deter him. Bitter sprays are available at your pet store.
- Talk to your veterinarian about medication for your pup's compulsive behavior.
- Never punish or scold your pup for his compulsive behavior.
Pauline Gill is a retired teacher with more than 25 years of experience teaching English to high school students. She holds a bachelor's degree in language arts and a Master of Education degree. Gill is also an award-winning fiction author.