The “D” word

It’s the white elephant in the room whenever a Mastiff, St. Bernard or Bloodhound is present.

Owners of these breeds – and other loose-lipped dogs – typically carry a cloth or handkerchief tucked in a pocket or purse for on-the-spot damage control. The walls of their houses are covered with washable paint. Their furniture is covered in indulgent fabrics. Their clothes are machine washable.

I am of course talking about Drool.

There are two kinds of slime.

A drop or two of saliva that emanates from a Cocker Spaniel or Boston Terrier while the dog is waiting for its meal to be prepared – this is a type of drool. I’m not talking about little dribbles like that.

I’m talking about another kind of slime, one that seems to have a life of its own.

It loops and swings like a rope of gooey syrup that keeps getting longer and longer.

It clings to chairs, pant legs and bare arms.

It forms in puddles of slippery shellac.

It sparkles and hangs from the dog’s lips, swinging freely as it dances towards you, each of the two ribbons threatening to collapse at any moment.

The humans run for cover when she shakes her head, ducking to escape the splash.

Generally dogs with the kind of shoelace drooling are adorable and affectionate pets.

This means that the guests and the owner are greeted with passionate and very humid enthusiasm.

And here’s where training comes in. In case you are wondering what drool has to do with dog training.

If your dog is a big drooler, you might have a Love me, love my dog attitude. As a result, you’re resigned to living a lonely life as your friends and family find excuses to avoid visiting you and your soggy puppy.

Or maybe you’re the dog owner who grinds his teeth when visitors receive the slobbery treatment, even when the victim denies any discomfort, as in ” Oh, I’m good. That does not bother me. I like dogs.” That said while your guest throws a ball of spit at his Manolo Blaniks.

If you dread these intimate, wet encounters and want to avoid inflicting them on others, you can teach your dog to:

A) not answering the door,

B) sit before being petted,

C) go to her house/bed when you have visitors, and

D) stay away from the table while eating.

The orders Sit, Stay And Place are particularly useful here. If your dog’s behavior is under control, so is his drooling. Or at least the chances of it landing on your visitor’s clothes are somewhat diminished.

Make sure that when teaching these commands, don’t pull or drag your dog where you want him to be. He has to go alone. Otherwise, he will wait for you to grab his collar and pull it to the right place. If your dog runs towards the door when the bell rings, head to the area – well away from the door – where the dog should stay. Call him, ask him to sit and stay, then walk to the door to answer it. Only open the door when the dog is calm and sitting/staying. Don’t reward bad behavior by opening the door; the dog will think that his barking and running towards the door opened it!

The only way to control drooling is to take a cue from the professional dog show circuit and put a bib on your dog and a placemat under his dish. And finally, If your dog does not normally drool and suddenly starts drooling, call your veterinarian immediately.. He could be sick or have a foreign body stuck in his throat.


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