Monday, January 20, 2014

Holding her Licker

Elka licks. It's a thing she does.

She licks people who let her (and sneaks it in sometimes on those who do not), she licks her toys, she licks herself. Occasionally I've had to utter the improbably phrases "Elka, don't lick the floor" and "Elka, don't lick the couch."

With a tongue like that, you might as well use it, I guess.

I posted back in June about OCD in Dobermans; persistent licking could be considered an OCD behavior. Now, I don't think Elka actually has OCD; if she did, it would mean she would never stop licking once she started. She would have no hair in the areas she licked, and she would have developed Lick Granuloma, which is not pleasant and results in kind of an endless feedback loop of licking and hurting and licking.

I can tell if Elka is licking even when I don't see her, because of the way her tags ring. I can in fact simply say "Elka, enough" and that's sufficient interruption. Sometimes, I think it might be a boredom thing, and that's a good cue to me to play some games with her, do a bit of training, etc. Mental stimulation is a good thing, especially with some of the bitter cold days and sloppy weather we've been having!

Elka does also have a "lick it" sort of cue, though. There are times I'll let her lick a spoon or whatever, something I don't want her to actually bite, and I'll say "lick it." She likes that game! And, by naming a behavior, it can (theoretically) be better directed. "Lick" then has the other end of the coin "No lick" (or "stop licking". We play fast and loose with vocabulary sometimes).


  1. People often put cues to behaviours to limit or stop them- good idea.

    Dina Mom

  2. "Elka, don't lick the floor," made me laugh. Sometimes Brut will lick the couch or a pillow at night. I think it helps to calm himself down, either that or there's a scent I don't know about on it. :)

  3. My Annie Beagle licks my nose before she settles to sleep by my legs. OMDog - I accidentally dropped the leg rest of my couch like chair - two dogs tumbled out, a third was on my left and two more on my right. I lose count!

  4. Baily cannot hold her licker at all!

    Stop on by for a visit

  5. Sweet Elka! She is so pretty. I have heard that dobermans are predisposed to have lick granuloma; do you know why that is? So interesting how these weird (and often unwanted) traits can appear within breeds (e.g., German shepherds being rather well known for shyness/anxiety; bull terriers getting OCD stereotypys).