I have a 13 year old Papillion that is constantly licking and biting its feet. He has licked the top of his feet to the point that the hair is gone and raw (even bloodly) skin is exposed. He is also licking the pads of his feet and has caused them to become so tender that he has trouble walking. The vet thinks it is an allergy and has prescribed some meds but the behavior has not changed.
One thing to consider involves the answer to the question, "What do you and other people do when the dog licks?" If anyone reacts to the dog in any way--regardless what they do-- that rewards the behavior. Because of this, the dog can start with a legitimate reason to lick--such as an irritant of some sort--but it can segue into an attention-gaining stress reliever over time because of the human response. If this is what is occurring in your household, consistantly distracting your pet BEFORE he starts licking by tossing a toy or squeaking one to orient him toward you will help relieve that stress in a more acceptable way. The key is timing. Anything done after he starts licking will only reinforce it.
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