So, my 2yo black lab Alice is very quiet, especially when she was a puppy. Then she learned how to start barking when she felt threatened (people on the street, new people--she learned that on her own of course) when she was about 1yo (still trying to get down 'hush' when that happens, about 75% there--not sure if itll ever be 100%) and started slurping when we were upset with her. For example, if we were yelling or being stern she would become submissive and slurp. By slurping I mean she's not licking anything, she's making licking sounds in her mouth, it sounds like a person eating loudly and not even trying to close their mouth. She always LOVED to lick to show affection, and we have cats so we didn't even think about it. But! now it's a lot worse.
The slurping became more and more frequent as we started teaching her not to lick people so much. Then she started licking her paws (like our cats). Now she's making slurping noises it seems like once every minute, and especially at night, I literally am about to go crazy.
We thought that maybe she is trying to communicate and doesn't know how, so we're teaching her how to 'speak' which took a loooong while but she's now starting to bark. But, she takes forever to bark and acts super anxious while she's trying to bark. Eventually we want to teach her 'yes' and 'no' barking so that she can answer us.
Not sure what's going on here or how to handle it. Is she trying to communicate? How can we stop it and channel it into something else? I'd appreciate any thoughts! Thanks!
Is it possible she is having a dental problem?
Mom to Spike & Tiller
Actually, no. We thought about that and keep an eye on her teeth, but her teeth look great. It feels like she's trying to communicate. We have feeding times for her, so I've wondered if she might be trying to tell us she's hungry. Either way, I'm not sure how to stop it.
i think mick's mom is on the right track.. she may lick people (in part) to as a gesture of submission/affection, and though you've managed to stop the actual action, her impulse remains, she NEEDS to offer that gesture, and now it is turned inward.
What about finding an alternative behaviour that is incompatible? Fetching a stuffed toy might be a good replacement...
I agree 100%. Why are you yelling at her?My personal opinion is that this isn't so much a behavior problem, but that your dog is insecure and trying to show you she is submitting to you (the barking when she "feels threatened", slurping when you yell, licking). I'd work with building up her confidence. Maybe some small obedience classes (Rally would be great, too). Pet her when she isn't slurping, and ignore her when she is.
"Each is a creature of Earth and is entitled to reside on it with dignity"