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Canine Behavior/dog licking


I have a 13 yr old dachshund.  within the past couple of mo. he is all ways licking me where ever there is bare skin.  He has even learned to pull up my shirt in the back if I'm sitting on the couch.  Should I be worried that he is missing some thing in his diet.  He also eats dirt after eating his dinner.
thank you for all your help

Licking is an appeasement behavior.  Thirteen is elderly; it's possible your dog has some difficulty with cognition, just as SOME humans develop "sundowner's syndrome", dementia, etc.  His eating dirt is not healthy and may also be associated with a problem with cognition (if it has just begun to be demonstrated).  This is "pica"...eating inappropriate objects.  While eating dirt may not really harm him (after all, dogs are scavengers), what's IN the dirt may (residual bacteria from urine from squirrels, raccoons, other dogs, etc.)

I suggest you find a veterinary behaviorist.  This is a professional who is trained in assessing behavior associated with physical problems, illness, etc., or even just plain anxiety.  There are medications available to boost cognition in an older dog. Such a professional will be able to help you to help your dog advance in age in the best possible way.  You can call the veterinary college in your geographical area for referral (they will certainly have one on staff and know of others) and look at the following sites:

Meanwhile: attempt to treat both problems behaviorally.  Whenever the dog initiates licking you, get up immediately and move away, count to five, go back.  At first, you may find yourself popping up and down a lot (but let's look at this as good exercise lol).  The dog will begin to associate his licking you with your withdrawal.  Regarding the dirt, do not allow the dog to do this.  Interrupt by clapping your hands in a joyful way, get his attention, scoot down to his level and when he comes to you give him a teeny treat (have to watch weight in a Doxie).  This will change his "mind" about eating dirt without rewarding it.

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

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Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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