Compulsive licking

(5 Posts)
HormonalHeap Wed 30-Dec-15 16:23:40

Has anyone experienced this? Our 12yo King Charles Cavalier is like a sofa licking machine. Vet thinks it's a form of ocd. When he's not resting, eating or walking, he's licking. Unfortunately we've just bought a very expensive sofa in the sale.. any experience?

cranberryx Wed 30-Dec-15 17:08:17

IME (unqualified) experience CCD or canine compulsive disorder is very real - mine had an obsession with a certain rug and mouthing the corner and licking it. It was his ritual everyday, however when we moved and got a new rug it didn't interest him anymore, but he did find other outlets.

I would suggest puppy no-chew spray perhaps? Although this can stain fabric so be careful, it might also help to be vigilant and distract your dog with a toy or treat to lure him away, but be consistent and make sure he isn't left alone with the sofa - his CCD may move to something else, but your sofa might survive!

Cheerfulmarybrown Wed 30-Dec-15 17:47:54

Is this a new behaviour? I would want the vet to check thoroughly that there is not a physical reason.

If you and he are happy that it is behavioural then there are some things you can try. I would recommend that you get a qualified behaviourist to help with this as there can be many reasons for the licking.

Generally though licking releases endorphins which make the dog feel good so they lick and lick to feel better. I would want to work out why the dog feels the need to release the endorphins eg is the dog stressed, bored, got separation anxiety or some other issue.

The behaviourist would look at the dog in his own situation and ask you questions about diet and the daily routine of the dog. eg exercise time left alone, if the dog licks at particular times etc. This would help to work out the reason and then the cause can be treated.

In the meantime I would distract the dog but give other activities that will also give the endorphin release. If the dog is not a guarder I would give bones or stuffed kongs. I would also look at increasing the exercise if the dog is fit and healthy.

Never ever tell the dog off for licking as this will cause the dog more stress and the need to lick will be even more than before.

Cheerfulmarybrown Wed 30-Dec-15 17:48:49

Not sure why I assumed the vet was a he - sorry I think I mistook your dogs sex for the vets blush

HormonalHeap Wed 30-Dec-15 20:02:31

Thank you all so much. We got him checked and physically there's nothing wrong.

This has been going on for years but worsened in the last couple years. He does have extrememy bad separation anxiety from me. Cheerful so interesting re the endorphins, I didn't know that. Also, we do tell him off for licking as didn't know any better. He doesn't lick at particular times it's all day, and impossible for me to keep him amused all day. We will enlist the help of a behavioural therapist if we can find one! Thanks again.

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