When visitors come to my house, my dog gets very
excited and licks the air. I don’t know if this
is a nervous or submissive gesture. He licks for
a long period of time and eventually has a foam
under his lip. What can I do to get him to stop?
He sometimes does it to me but stops when I say
First, count your blessings. Many dogs urinate or bark incessantly when visitors arrive. Some dogs are very territorial, and may actually attack guests. Compared to these individuals, your dog’s habit is quite benign.
Many pets have rituals that they perform under certain circumstances, or when they are excited. Your dog’s ritual sounds harmless. If the behavior does not lead to gagging, coughing or breathing difficulties, it probably won’t hurt him.
Of course, the habit may still be annoying. And there are a couple of tricks you can try to eliminate it. The focus of the tricks is to reduce the level of excitement that your dog experiences when guests arrive.
Try to keep things low-key when company first arrives. Encourage everyone to speak softly and remain calm. And, have everyone ignore the dog for the first several minutes. Over time, this may reduce the level of excitement that he feels when the doorbell rings.
If the behavior really bothers you, you can try isolating your dog in a bedroom when guests are expected. After they have settled in, you can let him out, but encourage everyone to stay very calm, and to ignore the dog for the first few minutes.
If these tricks don’t work (and I don’t guarantee that they will), take heart in the fact that your dog’s beahvior isn’t hurting anyone, including him.