How to Face a ‘Licky’ Love: Expert Advice

Courtesy of Michelle Tribe

Every month we ask you to send us your dog related quandaries and in turn we send them to our resident dog behaviour expert, Lisa Day — a certified IPG Master Groomer and obedience expert — for some advice. Here is this month’s question and answer.

Q:  I have a one-year old poodle-terrier mix: Champ. He is very loving and affectionate, but almost too much so. He is a very ‘licky’ dog and will lick at people’s hands and faces almost non-stop. If we’re curled up on the couch watching a movie, he will not settle down unless he is licking either my arm or hand. Needless to say, it’s kind of annoying, but I feel awful for trying to discipline his affection. What should I do?


A:  Hi Margaret,

Well lucky you for having a pet that finds you so ‘tasty!’ But I can definitely see how quickly this over indulgent display of affection could become undesirable; if for no other reason than the constant feel of slathering on you and the subsequent need to shower from the saliva.

Many times dogs will start a behavior all on their own and if it’s not discouraged, or if it’s rewarded (and the reward is something the dog decides, not you, especially if the act is self-rewarding and this sounds like it may be), the behavior will continue. 

In the beginning this action may have seemed cute or even endearing. But as you’re finding out, the appeal is wearing thin — as well as your skin. It sounds like you  need  to start claiming your body parts as your own. When the licking starts, just give a mild but firm push away from your body and  follow up with a verbal enforcement, such as, “Leave it,” “Ah Ah,” or quite simply “No.” You could then offer a more acceptable oral diversion, like a chew toy or bone. You may have to repeat this process a few times as he has had over a year of habit that needs to be altered.

Don’t allow your sense of guilt to dictate your definition of boundaries concerning your body. If it is uninvited, then it should not be allowed.You may be mistaking compulsive behavior as uncontrollable affection. A few licks here and there is perfectly acceptable, but any sort of non-stop compulsive behaviour, even licking, should be addressed.The premise of this situation is the same as if Champ were constantly jumping on people or barking all the time — he is demonstrating a behaviour that is undesirable and compulsive.

If you are firm about claiming your skin as your own and redirecting your pup’s energy into more productive measures, you will be perceived as the one in control. When someone else is in control and not the dog, it is a better place for the dog to be, and far more safer.You will be better able to keep your dog safe from harm if they listen and respect you as leader.

Hope this helps and you’ll soon be able to watch movies without the constant ‘coating’ process. 
All the best,
If you have a question for Lisa, write to us at info@pawsh-magazine.com!

You Had Me at Hello

Make sure your pet’s name and information is impossible to miss with a fabulous “Hello My Name Is…” identification tag from Sofa City Sweethearts.  Available in square and circular fashions, these tags showcase a unique personality and sense of individualistic style. Simple, silver and sassy — what’s not to love?

Pip the Cocker Spaniel

We would like you to meet this week’s pet in need, Pip the Cocker Spaniel. A beautiful old soul, who is 10 years young, he spent the majority of his life as stud at a puppy mill. He was forced to live most of his time in a small, cramped crate before miraculously being rescued by Hopeful Hearts.

The Hopeful Hearts team have been working tirelessly to rehabilitate this sweet dispositioned fellow. He had his first ever shave and grooming, has been busy learning how to walk nicely on a leash and endured a vet visit with flying colours. Everyone is amazed with this pooch’s loving and easy going nature, despite the harshness that used to dominate his life.

He gets along famously with other dogs, loves to play outside and has discovered the comfort that comes with sleeping on the bed (cheeky guy!)

If you are looking for a gentle, loving gentleman to share your home with, please consider Pip. He desperately needs and deserves a loving forever home with people who will adore him.

To learn more about Hopeful Hearts Rescue and Pip please click here.

Hooray for Family Day!

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Happy Family Day! If you live in Canada you’ll know what we’re talking about. If not, let us explain! Today is an official holiday set aside specifically for families to enjoy some uninterrupted time together. And since our beloved pets are an important part of the family pack, we thought we’d share some of the activities that we, the PAWSH team, will be busying ourselves with on this wonderful day off.

1.  PawsWay Pet Discovery Centre

We’re a big fan of this delightful centre that welcomes human and canine friends alike and on Monday the PawsWay will be hosting a jam-packed day of fun and games. Take in some lively dogshows, skating, bouncy tents, live music and more! And be sure to bring your pet friend along for the ride! Free admission and lots of treats! Woof! (To learn more about the PawsWay Pet Discovery Centre, click here).

2. Sgt. Woof and the Woof Troop

Come down to Toronto’s waterfront to visit with the K9 Safety program, including Sgt. Woof himself! Entertaining demonstrations in canine sports, obedience, dancing and agility will be running all afternoon, providing a great way to educate little ones about proper pet care and safety. A wonderful outing for the whole pack!

3. Take a Bath

Washing the dog may sound like more of a chore than a fun family activity, but many dog behaviourists believe that grooming rituals are a terrific bonding activity. Give every member of the family a job during the process. For example, a different person could be in charge of shampooing, lathering, rinsing, toweling and brushing. Your dog will revel in hands on attention and their quirky nature around water is sure to elicit laughter from the whole family!

Oh, and we’d recommend using an eco-friendly shampoo such as Earthbath. Gentle on canine skin, nourishing to the coat and good for the environment!

4.  Hide and Seek

Games are always a good idea in our books; hide and seek especially so! Not only does this game encourage a dog’s natural ‘hunting’ and obedience instincts, but it also reaffirms the bond between a dog and its pack. To play simply have your pooch sit and stay while slowly backing away. Once you are hidden, call your dog’s name and wait into they find you! Of course, not all dog’s are great at the ‘stay’ command, so it might be helpful to have one family member distract your doggie detective while the other family members hide. They release the hound and wait for the giggles!

5. Bake Cookies!

Spending time in the kitchen is an amazing family activity and baking treats for your pup automatically includes them in the hustle and bustle. There are numerous recipes suitable for your dog, a lot of which are organic and healthy! Check out The Poop Pantry (trust us, the name is very misleading, but the recipes divine!) to find a flavourful that is especially delicious. Oh, and don’t forget to pick up a cute cookie cutter or two for the special occasion!

From Dog Like Nature
Happy Family Day! May it be filled with good times and great memories! What is your pack getting up to today?

Lounge in Style

If you haven’t already found yourself wishing you led a dog’s life these luxurious custom crafted pet beds from ModPet certainly will! Tufted and top-stitched cushions (complete with memory foam) provide an unbeatable pad for your sleepy pet upon a solid red oak frame. Oozing a mid-century modern aesthetic, this piece means that your pet can lounge about in style without roughing up your own designer couch.

Next we have a stunning sofa sectional, ideally sized for any furry couch potato who just wants to sprawl out and relax. Available in charcoal, denim, taupe, avocado and espresso twill, the elegant clean lines of this piece will lend itself nicely to a wide variety of decor, while catering to your pets’ napping needs.Plus, the cushion covers are removable, providing easy cleaning — bonus!

Last, but not least, there is the oh-so dapper chaise lounge chair. Deep stitching and firm bolstered cushions provide an extra comfortable nook to snuggle into and the sturdy pine and plywood frame can hold up to 160lbs!

This weekend we hope you all have a chance to lounge around and relax! See you on Monday!