Obsessive licking in bed, waking up in middle of the night

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Obsessive licking in bed, waking up in middle of the night

This is a discussion on Obsessive licking in bed, waking up in middle of the night within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Our dog has gotten into a habit of obsessively licking our bed. She usually starts by grooming her paws but then moves to the bed ...

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Old 04-17-2013, 11:42 AM
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Obsessive licking in bed, waking up in middle of the night

Our dog has gotten into a habit of obsessively licking our bed. She usually starts by grooming her paws but then moves to the bed and will continue to lick for a while if we don't stop her. It's gross (big wet spots) and loud (keeps me awake). She will usually stop if we give her a chew toy, but that's loud as well. She usually does this as we are going to bed for ~10-15 minutes. Lately she's been waking up around 3-4am (about 6 hours after we go to sleep) and starts doing it again for a while. Sometimes she will stop if I pick her up and move her to a different spot in the bed, sometimes not. As far as I can tell she never does this when we are not in the bed with her. She occasionally has the same behavior when we are on the couch, but not quite as bad. She's been sleeping in our bed for about 10 months, but I think she's only been licking like this for 3-4.

Activity - most work days she has 3 good walks and 2 quick pee walks. Weekends we spend a lot of time in the park. However even on days when we go to the park for a loong time (and she is exhausted at the end of the day) she still will wake up in the middle of the night. She'll be passed out on the couch before bed, but once we get into bed it's licking time!

Stress - Our cat tries to beat her up pretty often, but he's fine at night. So not sure if it's related.

Does anyone have any ideas?

Thanks in advance
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Old 04-17-2013, 01:23 PM
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Take her to the vet. Obsessive licking can be a sign of illness or stress. If the vet clears her, then it may just be the dog version of OCD, which is treatable. Basically, you remove the ability to do the obsessive thing and encourage other behaviors. It's more complicated than that, but get her checked out first.
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Old 04-18-2013, 05:13 AM
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Calypso does this. For her it is a self-soothing behavior that helps her calm down so she can go to sleep. She spends much longer at it when she was actually reasonably settled down before I lifted her into bed, or if (as you observe) we get up in the middle of the night and she is trying to fall *back* asleep.

There doesn't seem to be much I can do. If I limit access to the sheets (by lifting her chin or something), she licks the air. When we get into bed and she is NOT previously tired/relaxing, she spends a good 15 minutes tearing around the bed (keep in mind I sleep in the same twin bed I had when I was 2). I prefer the licking.

So I have taken to getting in bed 10 minutes before I intend to fall asleep.

ETA: The thread on Blanket Sucking also has people talking about stuff-licking, and you might find something useful there.
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Last edited by Sundog; 04-18-2013 at 05:15 AM.
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Old 04-18-2013, 06:55 PM
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Shadow will lick his front legs like that and like your dog it's when I'm ready for bed and usually at no other time. I'm not sure if it's self soothing or just feels good, but whatever the reason for it the sound of it is very annoying.

What I do is let him lick for as long as I can stand the sound of it then I'll call his name or touch him to break his focus on it. Most of the time once he's stopped he doesn't start back up till the next night. Since he doesn't sleep on my bed wet sheets aren't a problem.
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Old 04-18-2013, 08:16 PM
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With our Addy it seems to be a self soothing behavior as she does it before she goes to sleep...your dog - might be more OCD, unless she is doing the licking to try to get back to sleep again after waking up.
The question is: does she wake up to do the behavior OR does she randomly wake up and need to lick to get back to sleep????
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