A couple months ago Jack started licking fabric. Usually the sofa covers, but sometimes the rug.

I know dogs can develop obsessive-compulsive disorders, but he does not seem stressed or obsessed when he does this. He's very relaxed, actually, and sometimes I'll think he's just dozing and when he gets up I see he licked a nice damp spot on my couch.

He's always been a very busy dog, difficult to keep entertained and not one to lie down and relax. He has always liked fabric and when he was little he'd sort of suck on his towels. We get him the fake sheep-skin stufffingless squeaky toys, and he'll lay down with one and just mouth at it instead of chewing a bone. I get the feeling he's just bored; Maddie will hang out and lie around in the evening but Jack nearly always needs to be doing something if he's awake. However, he's such a mooch for food it's also possible that he smells a spot where a crumb was or something and just licks it til any chance of finding more food is totally gone.

Any ideas what I should do? Just ignore it? Or correct him? If I notice it and stop him, he'll stop.

This isn't something he's laying around doing for hours at a time or anything. Maybe once a day I'll find a damp spot or two on the furniture covers.

Does anyone else's dog do this? Any input would be greatly appreciated!

Oh, and I wanted to add that this is NOT an anxiety thing. Jack is about the least anxious dog I ever met. Busy and involved, yes. Anxious? Not even a teensy bit. People always comment on how relaxed he is.

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Yes, Beth my Wynn will do this and usually it's to my jean leg if he's sitting on my lap. I have seen him do this to a few other things occasionally but not often. Now my jeans I could have spilt something on but I don't believe this is why. It's not an anxiety thing with Wynn either as he is so patient! I am not doing anything about it with Wynn as it might make things worse and as long as he's not hurting anything! Wynn will not always stop when I ask him to! It will be interesting to see what others say! Wynn also is a dog that does not chew stuffed animals and I keep his separate just for him and give him them when he's kenneled or my other monsters would have it devoured in 2 minutes!
Hi Beth, Misty does this too and you might remember that she also has a problem with eating fabric and has had several surgeries. Consequently I take it very seriously and correct her when she does it. I think it is a self soothing behavior much like puppy nursing. Either way I would probably watch for it and give him something appropriate to chew on when he does it.
I had this problem with Cody when he first came home. He'd suckle on the blanket in his crate and when he was out he'd find my hand made afghan to suckle on. Every time I caught him I would tell him "no", eventually he grew out of it and stopped. When we go to visit my mom he gets up on her couch and licks a specific spot, everytime. We correct him and eventually he gives it up, I dont know why he does it and the vet isnt really concerned I just think its a thing to keep him busy.
Finnigan licks a lot too. He will usually lick a stuffed toy, the carpet, my foot or his own paw. It is a slow lick and after a few minutes of that he will go to sleep. I mentioned it to the vet the last time we were in because I wanted to be sure the paw licking wasn't allergy related. She said if he does it late at night or usually just before falling asleep, it is likely a relaxation technique. She said her dog licks his paw before bed as well and she will usually stop him and give him a Nylabone instead. I think this is why Finn does it too. If he's licking the carpet or his paw I will sometimes stop him but I don't think it's a problem. There is no sign of stress or anxiety and it does not seem to be an issue of OCD.
My Sophie has done this since a puppy - for 12yrs now. She'll lick the tile, carpet, sofa...I think it's a soothing zen thing. I can usually hear her when she's doing it and then say AhhAhh...and she'll stop. It sounds pretty common with corgis.
Hi Beth - our Summer does this all the time. She too is very relaxed. I believe that it must just feel good to her. Our couch is made of microfiber fake suede and if Summer is laying next to me, she is usually licking the couch. She also loves licking blankets - especially the fleece type. It doesn't seem to hurt anything I also tend to agree with you about the food theory. Summer too will stop when we tell her to. All we can do is correct/stop her when we catch her doing it. I don't want to ban her from the furniture so we just live with it and love her for who she is. I know I haven't helped any except to let you know that this behavior is not unusual. Patty, Summer's Mom
Thank you all! Based on your feedback and my observations, I will just stop him if I'm right there and notice he's doing it, but I can't get him all the time (he will sometimes do it if no one is here) and I don't want to make a big deal of it either, for fear it might cause an anxiety that is not currently present. He's such a good boy I hate to make a mountain out of a molehill.

He's never been an intentional eater of fabric, nor destroyed anything that was not his own toy after puppyhood, though I always do watch for signs of fabric-eating. He can't have rope toys because he sometimes swallows the string, but that's because he shreds them and the pieces get stuck on his tongue, not because he tries to eat them.

I do think with him it's just a non-compulsive comfort thing at times, but other times crumbs must be involved. For example, if he eats a treat in his crate, he will then spend a couple minutes licking the towel that he uses for bedding, because he still smells treat there and wants to make sure he didn't miss any!

Since he will stop in a heartbeat for something better (a toy or game, a walk, a treat) to me it's not near the level of compulsion so I'll just keep half an eye on him and not worry too much, though the damp spots I could do without! :-)


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