Why does my shih tzu lick at the air for no reason?

Asked by Chuck on Jan 18th 2009 Tagged licking, airlicking in Other Behavior & Training
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Zackintosh CJ

Its either a submissive behavior or an OCD.
If its the latter, then just don't encourage it, distract him whenever he does it.
If its submissive, then no big deal, he's saying he thinks your the alpha.

Zackintosh CJ answered on 1/19/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


My grandmothers older dog does that. It could be that they see something in the air. Or something is on/ bothering their nose and they are just trying to get it off!? So if it bothers you that much you could try to put your hands near his snout and just wait til he stops.

Bailey answered on 1/19/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


There could be a few reasons that he is doing this. Usually, licking the air is something that the dog develops at some point in their life, and eventually just becomes a habit and something that they really cannot stop doing.

I had rescued a Pom/Chi mix who was abused and would lick the air when she was anxious or afraid. I would notice if there was a loud noise on the television, we spoke to loudly, or sudden movements, she would start to get afraid and run into her crate and lick the air incessantly. When she would lick the air, I would touch her in the neck and tell her 'no' or 'stop'. Eventually, after much patience and practice, she realized that she didn't need to do this when she got anxious or afraid. There are times now when she will try to lick the air, and most often, it isn't because she is anxious either - this was a habit that she had for years, and sometimes wants to do it, but each time, I tell her not to.

Sometimes dogs will lick to relieve anxiety and if they have nothing to lick, they lick the air. I would discourage it, only because the dog is probably obsessive over it, as most dogs who do so are. When you do discourage the behavior, do not get angry or frustrated with him - just simply tell him 'no'.

Please message me if you have questions and let me know how he does.

Sergeant answered on 1/19/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer