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Great Jowls and Dry Socks: Teach Manners to Dogs that Drool
Here are some dogs who love to drool!
Simple steps to dryer floors...
Whether or not people realize it, there is one common factor they think about when picking out dogs. This is what kind of mess they will make. It includes everything from shedding (Alaskan Malamutes) up to drooling (Mastiffs and Great Danes). We will focus on the latter; because I can help you make this a non-issue, instead of something that could keep you from meeting you next best friend, even if she is a Rottweiler! The massive, droopy jowls of these great creatures don’t need to be a reason for you to avoid your favorite breed.
This process is an easy one if your canine companion is already clicker trained, but it will require some persistence. The key here is positive reinforcement. When trying to influence the behavior of a dog, it is important to understand how they think. Being the socially adept animals that they are, it is not too impractical to say that it is similar to teaching a small child. They are both (typically) eager to please, even if they are stubborn. All you have to do is solicit praise to your dog when they do what you like.
In the case of our Siberian Husky, she has a habit of drinking water and walking away from the bowl before swallowing her last gulp of water. As you can imagine, this ends up making her look something like a very leaky, very furry, VERY mobile faucet. Granted, this is sometimes funny to see, especially, if while drinking, she gets distracted and feels the needs to stop to listen more closely to a background noise. If you can picture her doing this, then imagine the sound of someone pouring a glass of water on the floor. Luckily, she is usually nice to clean up those messes. As funny as that may sound, it is not funny when you step in her small drips of water that follow in her wake as she leaves the scene of the crime, particularly in the winter months!
There is a way to curb this annoyance! Some may call it training, but all you are doing here is giving a name to a habit the dog already knows how to do. “Lick your chops!”
They key is to watch your dog as they continue about their daily activities. The best time to watch for this behavior is after they eat. Dogs will lick their chops, or lips, after they are done eating to help suck down the remaining bits of food and saliva. You have to watch closely, because they may be walking around during this clean-up process after a meal. If the dog is clicker trained, you may click when you see them do this, and it will cut the training time down tremendously. If not yet clicker trained, verbal praise is also very effective. If going the verbal route, please be very excited! The clicker aspect gets the dog excited naturally because they learn that a treat is always followed by the noise. With verbal, it is your job to sound excited, and throwing in a treat can only help.
The dog needs to feel accomplished after licking their lips, so treats and verbal excitement help drive the point home in their minds!
After a few rounds (and possibly days) of this, your dog will begin to figure out that you like her to lick her lips. Now you have to put a name to it. Instead of just praising her after she does this, be more specific and say things like, “Good girl, licking your chops!” Or whichever command you will be putting with this action. They will not understand what you are saying, possibly ever. But what this does is creates keywords for your dog to draw on when you begin commanding the action. The dog will be familiar with the keywords lick, chops, or lips respectively and the wheels in their heads will slowly begin to turn.
So, you’ve made it to the final stage. You are in a training session and the companion is performing to best they can in order to earn their treats. Enter the command, for the first time as such, “lick your chops!”
Most likely, you may not get an immediate reaction. But because you have treats in your hand and the dog is already attentive to performing, they will most likely lick their lips in excitement. All you have to do from there is praise and reward. Once the dog learns and clearly understands what the action is, start using it after they get drinks of water. As time goes on, you will have less and less mysterious indoor precipitation near your dog’s food and water bowls.
Note: You will likely need to be persistent around the feeding times to get the dog to engage in muscle memory after drinking. This is so they learn to do it on their own without commands after a period of time.
Cheers to dryer socks and floors!