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Re: obsessively licking windows and door frames

Posted by:  Marie Evans
Posted on:  November 08, 2002 at 14:52:50

In Reply to: obsessively licking windows and door frames
Category:   Behavior Problems
Posted by:  Alexandra Hull
Posted on:  November 08, 2002 at 14:15:55

Question:

: After taking my three year old JR to the vet-having a complete battery of blood tests and X-rays his physical health came back normal. However, he has started(about a month ago) licking and scraping(which includes panting,shaking,and salivating) all of the window frames and also the front door frame and my bathroom frame(where he tore up the curtains and carpet). When offered the option of going outside, he declines, and runs back to whatever he was occupied with at the time(eg.window,or doorframe). I have put him on medication for this behavior, but this only seems to minimize the duration and make him lethargic. When he is like this my 16month old daughter can easily touch him, which normally had not bothered him, but recently he has growled,snapped, and had his hackles up. He was NEVER like this before, and he's such a wonderful little dog. Now I feel like I am a prison guard b/c I have to keep the two of them away from each other...Have you ever heard of this? Help!


Response:

Hi Alexandra,

It sounds like your terrier is suffering from an obsessive/compulsive disorder, and while drug therapy can help, it's also important for the disorder to also be addressed by a certified animal behaviorist.

Just like a human with a psychological problem, you wouldn't expect them to get well with just drugs but would also need therapy.

Many dogs can suffer from these types of disorders if they are not getting enough in the way of exercise. And with this breed exercise is not a luxury it is a necessity to keep them sound in mind along with body.

A behaviorist worth their salt, will come to your home to observe your dog in its own environment and diagnose your dog. They will put together a detailed plan on how to alleviate this behavior in your dog, which very well might include the use of drug therapy. You might have to try several drugs to find the one that will help the most.

Not knowing the entire background of what is going on here, it is impossible for me to speculate anymore than I have as why your terrier is doing this.

You are headed in the right direction though, ruling out the physical. Now ask your vet for the name of a behaviorist, and the sooner the better.

In the interim try to get this dog more exercised. A tired dog is a "good" dog. Just letting a dog out into the backyard is not exercise. Most dogs after a few minutes of running around like maniacs, end up just tootling around and napping. So even if they are out all day long, chances of them getting a good 1-2 hours of solid hard exercise are pretty nil.

You have a good chance of nipping this in the bud now, as he has just started this behavior but the longer that it goes on the harder it will be to break him of it.

Regards,
Marie