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Why Do Dogs lick Pillows? How to stop it?

    There are several potential reasons why dogs lick pillows, and it is important to understand the underlying cause of the behavior in order to effectively address it. Here are some potential explanations for why dogs lick pillows, along with some tips for addressing the behavior:

    Boredom: As mentioned earlier, dogs are intelligent, social animals that need mental and physical stimulation to stay healthy and happy. If a dog is not getting enough exercise, attention, or mental stimulation, they may exhibit undesirable behaviors such as licking pillows as a way to occupy themselves. To address this issue, it is important to make sure the dog is getting enough exercise and mental stimulation on a daily basis. This can include going for walks, playing fetch, engaging in interactive toys or puzzles, or participating in training or obedience classes. It may also be helpful to give the dog plenty of interactive toys to play with, such as chew toys, Kongs, or treat-dispensing toys, to help keep them engaged and entertained.

    Self-soothing: Some dogs may lick pillows or other objects as a way to cope with stress, anxiety, or other negative emotions. This behavior may be particularly common in rescue dogs or dogs that have been through traumatic experiences, as they may have learned to self-soothe as a way to cope with their emotions. If this is the underlying cause of the behavior, it may be helpful to provide the dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and reinforcement-based training to help them feel more confident and secure. It may also be helpful to enlist the help of a professional trainer or behaviorist who can help to address any underlying anxiety or behavioral issues.

    Medical issues: Excessive licking can be a sign of underlying health problems such as dental issues, skin allergies, or hormonal imbalances. If a dog is licking pillows excessively and other behavioral changes or physical symptoms are present, it is important to take the dog to a veterinarian for a thorough examination. The veterinarian will be able to determine if there are any medical issues that may be contributing to the behavior and recommend appropriate treatment.

    Learned behavior: If a dog has received positive reinforcement (such as attention or treats) for licking pillows in the past, they may continue to do so as a way to get attention or rewards. In this case, it is important to stop reinforcing the behavior by ignoring the dog when they lick the pillow and instead reinforcing positive behaviors with praise and rewards. It may also be helpful to provide the dog with plenty of other attention and opportunities for positive reinforcement throughout the day, so they do not feel the need to engage in undesirable behaviors to get attention.

    Overall, the key to addressing a dog’s pillow-licking behavior is to understand the underlying cause and take appropriate steps to address it. By providing the dog with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, addressing any underlying anxiety or behavioral issues, and reinforcing positive behaviors, it is possible to stop a dog from licking pillows and help them lead a happy and healthy life.