What A Handsome Cocker Spaniel!
We have had a male rescue cocker spaniel for over a year - we also have an older female cock-a-poo. Lately, the cocker has started licking the back of the neck of the cock-a-poo.
Does this have any particular meaning?
Reply from Pauline (Web Owner)
Dogs lick for many reasons. They lick as a form of social interaction and communication, for example, they may lick one another to say 'hello'.
Your male dog may be licking your female as a show of affection, or he may be grooming and cleaning her.
Is your female the Alpha Dog? If so, the licking could simply be a show of submission by your rescue Cocker.
Or, he may simply enjoy doing it - it may be calming or relaxing for him.
But be aware, it's quite possible that licking can become obsessive and result in sores on your dog's skin.
To stop the licking, you'll need to break the habit. Each time your dog goes to lick the other, say 'No' in a firm voice and lead your dog away (the one that's doing the licking).
You may want to consider putting him on a lead to make this easier at first. Don't fuss over your dog as he may see this as reinforcement and continue all the more.
All you want to do is to 'distract' him from licking.
If your dog isn't getting the message after a few attempts, try moving him away to another part of the room and put him in a 'down-stay'. Release him after two minutes. Don't interact with him during this time and don't look at him.
Continue with this training and he will eventually get the message.
Another thing you might like to try is to coat the area where your dog is licking with something like 'bitter apple' to help deter your other dog from licking.
If the situation is really chronic, or you're not around all day to monitor your dogs, you may need to separate them until the training is finished.
PS: I don't want to worry you unduly, but dogs have wonderful senses - it's possible your dog senses something on the back of the other dog - feel for a lump or swelling.
If the skin under the coat is red, it could simply be the result of your dog's constant licking.
Either way, it may be a good idea to ask your vet to take a look at your cock-a-poo, just to be on the safe side.
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