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Issue with foster dog

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This is my latest foster dog, Keeva. She is about a year old, small, wiry, sweet, strong and clever. She is also beautiful, loves everyone she meets no matter what species it is, and is full of energy without being hyper. She is soft, lacks self-confidence and is an Omega dog, but I think she has great potential to make a fine companion and sport dog.


Her one and only issue is that she has a strongly ingrained habit of hyper-wiggling and intense manic licking of any part of a person's body that comes close to her. I worry about her being adopted like this because if she doesn't learn not to do this her life will be the worse for it. Most people do not react well to massive and constant frantic licking, and their negative responses would just feed her insecurity.


What I have been doing since day one is that I often invite her for petting, or respond to her requests for it, but as soon as the licking starts I say "ah" and stop petting her. I have repeated this hundreds of times in the 2 weeks or so that she has been here. Recently I started saying "ah" and then getting up to walk away as well. If she stops licking and settles back down I resume petting her. Most of the time she is back to wiggle-and-lick within 5 to 10 seconds, although eventually after perhaps 30 corrections she sometimes will settle down nicely and just accept the petting. I always pet her calmly and slowly, speaking softly to her; nothing to rile her back up again.


Anyone have any other suggestions of things I could try? I know this is a deep habit and will take some time to change, so I am not surprised that it has not improved yet. Just wondering if there's a better, or alternate, technique.


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Do you do clicker work with her? I think I'd start with some confidence building clicker games like 101 things to do with a box. Ie, build some confidence then start teaching you what you want rather than correcting what you don't want. Carry around some treats and reward her for anything that is acceptable.


When you pet her, quit before she has a chance to lick you. For now that's probably one casual "good girl" pet, then leave and repeat later.


Kenzi is also a dog that can be frantic for attention. She tries to crawl into people's laps and plaster herself against them :blink: I think part of it is a stress reaction "people, people, people!! Please love me and accept me!!!" so I'm careful about using corrections with it because that just adds to the stress/anxiety and therefore the unwanted behavior. Even the "ah, ah" makes her increase the annoying behavior of trying

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My sister's toy poodle is an on-your-lap and in-your-face constant licker. I started with petting her, and immediately switched her around so that her muzzle faced away from me. Continued petting her. She started to twist around to be face to face with me, I stopped her in mid-twist and continued scratching her chest, while she faced away from me. After maybe a dozen reps of this, she calmed down and sat on my lap calmly while I scritched her chest, while she faced out.


I was able to transition her from constant petting pretty easily to a couple strokes now and then.


My sis and nieces were all agog. Well, Sis encouraged it All The Time, while the oldest niece hated it and pushed the dog away. That of course made the dog more anxious, so she tried even harder to do the licking.


So, I'd say keep giving her attention on your own terms. Perhaps have her sit and face away from you while you pet, or have her lie down. The instant her head comes up off the floor to lick, you move away. Or some version of that.


And stroke once or twice, then stop before she even thinks to lick. It may be too much social pressure for her. If there's anything else she likes to do with you, that doesn't allow for licking, I'd do a bit more of that.


Good luck!


Ruth and Agent Gibbs

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Send her to me :)/> Nick has been a wiggler-licker for almost 9 years, and we love it. He's learned to "air lick" at certain people who don't like the actual contact, although there wasn't any actual teaching. He's a very intuitive dog & picks things like that up all the time.


Sorry, that's not much help... Nick will at least "go lie down" or "back off" when told.

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Dew's a licker lover too! She also loves to hug you tightly around any part of your body she can manage to wrap her paws around. She was cute when little so we didn't make a big deal of staying off.

So now we pay the price. She's pretty good about a bit of loving and then leaving us alone, unless you ask for it.

But, a stranger can be fair game. She usually slinks up to strangers as I'm warning her in the background to stay off.

So she developed a way to hold herself in check...almost.... She will jump up on someone and turn her back to them so her feet aren't touching them and her tongue stays pointing away from the stranger. Self taught coming from "no feet" meaning she can't put her feet on someone. So it's her back, not her feet!


She's quite the character. At a stop sign if a car pulls up next to us you can see our whole car wiggle with her excitement to be eyeball loving the car next to us! She definitely gets bank and store treats as people are always noticing her wigglebutting. She has a beautiful smile that is closed mouth and is so big her eyes squint!


I'd try to curb your foster a bit or teach her some alternate behaviors but not all people are turned off by lovie, licky dogs.

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Thanks for the advice and encouragement.

Today there has been a major breakthrough and now I think things will be fine. She was on my lap for over 1/2 hour today with no wiggle-licking. Previously I had not even gotten 30 seconds at a time! Such dramatic progress was unexpected. She seems to have caught on, because now much later in the day she is also much calmer, seeming to be content not to be licking or trying to lick. If this continues, rather than just vanishing in the next few days, I will be very encouraged. :-)

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