Paralyzed Dog Started Excessive Licking A Year Ago

Kim Abston

Well-Known Member
Hannah--this is she in my profile pic--is eleven, she paralyzed at age five. I lost one of her sissy's in Oct of 2010 and, shortly after, Hannah started obsessively licking her bowl after a meal. Now, she's licking our elbows in bed! She stops the second I ask her to, but I am concerned that she may either be still grieving Shari, or else still a little overwhelmed by our new puppy Shana. I've talked to the vet about it and he says that older dogs often do this--he thoroughly checked her out and, there is no return of her cancer and she is, apart from paralyzed, very healthy. Hannah seems as content and happy as ever, so I may be worrying over nothing, but I want her to have the best life possible. She has a wheelchair, she takes vacations with us, and she is nothing less than perfect. Should I just stop worrying about it??


Honored Member
well, if your vet gives her the thumbs up, she's probably right. It's sad how this began after Hannah lost her housemate, and escalated after the new puppy.
We just had a thread on here, a few weeks ago, from another dog with compulsive licking, but that was a younger dog.
wish i could find that thread, as there was some good advice on it...

ah, here it is:
there is a VIDEO in reply #2 of this thread, that *might* inspire you a bit, not sure if it will help or not. At any rate, you can see, you are NOT alone...;)

still, very heartwarming story and admirable, your efforts to give Hannah the best life possible. Do you teach Hannah tricks?

If not, you might find learning tricks really jazzes up Hannah's life, and may give Hannah some "me" time, against the new puppy, who knows?
We can help you compile a list of tricks to try teaching to Hannah,
does Hannah have fully functional front legs, but zero use of her back legs? is that right?

Kim Abston

Well-Known Member
You are SO inspiring, thank you! I guess I had rather thought along the lines of, "you can't teach old dogs new tricks," when it came to Hannah - but, I must say, she is incredibly bright. She is not much of a barker, but she is not a bit backward in coming forward when she has an opinion to express or she needs something either! Honestly, she vocalizes as if she is actually talking to me--and, it is amazingly helpful. When she needs something or wants something, she tells me. If she is soiled or uncomfortable, she let's me know immediately.

We have to empty her bladder three times a day because her paralysis is from her waist down to the tips of her paws and prevents her from voiding on her own. Bladder infections are very common in paralyzed dogs, but Hannah gets surprisingly few because we are able to keep her very clean. I discovered that a preemie baby onesie, turned around backwards and snapped closed on either side of her tail, then sewn at the neck to keep it on (a human baby has a much larger head than a Doxie!) works perfectly. I stick a ladies panty liner in to keep her extra clean and change it with every emptying--it works perfectly. As to her bowel movements... well, the neurologist told me that this particular function would just happen when it did and we'd simply have to pick it up when it took place. This proved very messy but, within just a few days, I noticed that if I massaged her in just the right spot--well, Hannah produced most "favorable" results! So, since then, she gets a "complete" emptying three times a day. She very rarely has an unscheduled emptying and is, therefore, rarely soiled, however, if one does start to happen, Hannah lets me know in short order.

So anyway, yes, she has lost all use of her back legs, but is still able to use her front legs. We have to baby her a little on that front though, because the vertebrae between her shoulder blades is fragile and, the vet tells me, subject to rupturing. (If that happens, it will be over because she will be a quadriplegic and, keeping her that way, would just be cruel.) So, if she shows signs of fatigue or "tells" me she is tired, I take her off her wheels or give her a rest.

I think part of the reason her back gave out when it did is because she always "danced" on her back legs, pawing the air whenever she was excited, or just wanted to get someone's attention. She is small, even for a Dachshund, and I think perhaps this tended to make her feel "taller." As a paralyzed dog, she still "bounces" in exactly the same manner--joyfully and irrepressibly--only now, on her front paws, making a rather noticeable thumping noise on the floor as she does!

I don't know why I've sat here jabbering on about all this--I suppose it's because you actually seemed interested! Please forgive me for being so long winded and telling you more than you probably ever needed or wanted to know about my little dog--please know that I would be most interested in any suggestions you have for teaching her fun things to do, that take into consideration her special needs. I promise not to be as verbose next time. :unsure:

Thank you for looking up the thread on the other "excessive licker," I will read through it with great care in the morning. Also, thank you for showing so much interest in all three of my girls (who are aged ten (on Sunday), eleven, and one, btw).

Kind regards,
Oh, this is Hannah...

and here are Lai'Lah (black & tan) and Shana (chocolate and tan)...



Honored Member
wow, do YOU ever take great care of your dogs, WOW! i am humbled! It sounds like you have a great attitude, and great tips for anyone else facing these same dilemmas! Are your dogs so lucky to have YOU. thank you for the explanations, i learned a lot there.

Oh YES, you can absolutely teach an old new tricks! I myself, think older dogs make far superior students than puppies, by FAR.
Any dog NEW to tricks training, i think, it's best to start with only a 5 or 10 minute lesson, and overtime, help dog build up a longer attention span. Most dogs new to lessons, zone out easily at first, and their owner then walks away "See? my dog can't learn tricks..." BUT he CAN, but you have to start with SHORT lessons at first.

it is not hard at all,
and it is FUN,
and in soooo increases both your bond and enjoyment of the dog,
and the dog's bond and enjoyment of you! (IF that is possible in your case!!)

Here is one of my alltime favorite ever dog tricks, is "smile" :D that your dog can do:
(i rescued a fairly serious minded dog, who is not very "smiley" but rewarding his smile, HAS so increased the number of times he smiles now on his own even)


Honored Member
Other tricks, your dog might be able to do,
~targetting an object with his paw, or nose.

~Finding a treat hidden under one of 3 cups.

Pawing or Nosing the toy you tell him to.

Shake head "yes" or "no"
(which was one of the hardest of all the tricks i've ever taught, ever, but some ppl say their dogs got it easier than my dog did)

"show me your GOOD side"
is pretty easy trick, but the 'wow' factor from others is remarkable, gets lots of oohs and coos, for some reason:

there really ARE LOTS of tricks that your dog might ENJOY so much!! Dogs LOVE a chance to EARN something.
PLEASE feel ever so free to post any questions you may have, on how to even begin, if this is new for you, we are friendly bunch here,
and if one person doesn't know the trick,
someone else WILL!!! DOGS LOVE LEARNING TRICKS, and getting the rare chance to use their minds!!!


Honored Member
I don't know if some of these tricks might be too much physically but here's a few more suggestions...

Are you sleepy? (close eyes droop head)
shake a paw
give me five
ring a bell (when she wants attention maybe?)
press a button

Kim Abston

Well-Known Member
Thank you SO much for these wonderful ideas - I can't wait to read up on them and try them out--and I cannot begin to tell you how inspired I am to get started. I don't mean to be high maintenance, but how do you handle teaching one pup, when others (OK, I specifically mean one particularly high energy 1 year-old puppy!) are sort of exuberantly jockeying to join in? Do you teach them all together, or separate them?


Honored Member
To answer your question, I think you should teach your doxies seperately because they might have different attention spans, one might get the other excited, distracted, or one might just get bored and start playing with the others. You can try doing a trick session with one dog while the others are sleeping or if they're not interested in what you're doing at the moment.:)

I LOVE your pictures by the way!!!!!:love: SOOOO CUTE!!!!!!!!:ROFLMAO:


Honored Member
Great great question, Kim, and hopefully, some multi-dog owners will be by to give more credible than my 1 dog background,
but, i'd think, you may want to teach the small dogs to go to their mat.

Ignore ignore ignore the small dog's attempts to horn in on the action,
BUT, the moment small dog sits down, or looks away, or steps back, REWARD! tossing treat AWAY from where you are working with Hannah.

Dogs are shockingly keen to observe precisely WHAT earned them a treat. Lol, as you will soon discover, if you DO mistakenly reward 1 wrong move, lol, the dog WILL notice that, and do the trick wrong for a lil while, you'll see! We've all done that. Not to worry, it can be remedied by ignoring the wrong move a few times, it fades back out then.

so have the small dog (well, actually, i guess "younger" dog would be more accurate, sorry)
sit somewhere else, or across the room on her mat, and begin lessons with Hannah.
Yes, you are right, small dog WILL run right over at the site of treats,:ROFLMAO:
and maybe,
you can lead small dog back over to her mat. If small dog knows "stay" you could use that cue, too.
Sit down with Hannah, and toss treat over to small dog on her mat. Take care not set up a "i run over, mom leads me back and throws me a treat" cycle, as best as you can.:rolleyes:

Throughout your lesson with Hannah, if small dog is staying on her mat, you can toss treats over to small dog, for doing the right thing.

Then, of course, when Hannah's lesson is over,
then have a lesson with small dog, too,
and i bet, Hannah will try to scooch over there if she has her wheels on!

but, it can be done. Many of the members here, post "how to" videos, and you can see, their other dogs are in the background, just observing, and waiting for their lesson next.

This might take a few lessons, for small dog to get idea, "I just never ever get any treat when i butt into Hannah's lesson, but i DO get treats for staying on my mat." So don't give up, don't get frustrated, those dogs are wayyyy smarter than you realize,
and they WILL sort it out, oh they will!!! Or, if you have option to set up a baby gate, or move other dogs to other rooms, that works, too.

Here is "Go to your mat" by one of my favorite trainers who specializes mostly in managing behavior problems more than tricks: (not ALL trainers on youtube are positive only) The first half of this video is for you, the rest of it, is a lil more advanced than you need right now, but, still fun to watch. All kikopup videos are usually only about 5 minutes long.



Honored Member
thanx, Dogster, i hope it works. ALSO, KIM, since you DO have a breed which is prone to obesity, you especially will want to keep all treats tiny.
dogs don't care how big a treat is.


Honored Member
True, dogs really don't care about the size of a treat. You can buy semi-moist or moist treats and cut them, or you can break up dry ones. ( or you can use very small pieces of ham, VERY affective!!!:))


Honored Member
Yes, Dogster makes a good point, changing up the treats can make it more fun for the dog. I use itty bitty tiny treats,
and if i want to heavily reward a "breakthrough",:D then i hand 1 tiny treat after another, after another, after another, while praising my dog.(not one big treat, but many tiny treats)

dogs even scour the kitchen floor for even a crumb,:rolleyes: no crumb is too small for a dog to be interested in...


Honored Member
I do the same thing, Tigerlily, to reward a breakthrough!!!:D And, SOOO TRUE!!!! Shivon ALWAYS looks for crumbs in the kitchen, she eats it even if it's not a crumb....:rolleyes:


Honored Member
Staff member
This entire thread is just so sweet. :love:
Kudos to you, Kim, for not giving up on little Hannah. :) All of your Doxies are adorable. ^^

I think targetting could be Hannah's best friend! :D
Lots of tricks you can do with targetting. Targetting with the nose or paw gives you tons of options. For instance, simply by teaching her to touch a target with the nose or paw, you could eventually expand that to:
Touch the [certain toy]
Which one is the triangle? [various obviously different shapes, cut out of something)
Tons of other "which one" tricks
Touch various parts of your body--Where's my hand? Where's my foot? Where's Shana's foot?(Where's YOUR foot? I'm sure she can easily reach her paw on those short little legs. ;))
So many other things you could do with this....

Good luck, can't wait to hear how it's going. :)


Experienced Member
Lucky dog to have found you !
One of the happiest dogs I ever met was a paralyzed dog such as yours.
After his nap he would drag himself out to where people could see him and wait patiently for someone to put him in his cart so he could bomb around. I almost adopted him but someone beat me to him.


Well-Known Member
I train every dog seperatly untill they know their "waiting spot". Then I raise criteria with all dogs together. In the beginning i use a closed bench, building up to open bench, building up to sofa, ... Your paralyzed dog can also be taught to go to a mat.
I do practice harder on name games. The audio got lost somewhere, but here you can see name game and controle game.
And I love the fact that people here are giving you real good advice (I'm really starting to like this forum).

Oh, by the way. Does she lick the bed cover, pillows and furry things a lot ?? Or just you ??

Kim Abston

Well-Known Member
I train every dog seperatly untill they know their "waiting spot". Then I raise criteria with all dogs together. In the beginning i use a closed bench, building up to open bench, building up to sofa, ... Your paralyzed dog can also be taught to go to a mat.
I do practice harder on name games. The audio got lost somewhere, but here you can see name game and controle game.
And I love the fact that people here are giving you real good advice (I'm really starting to like this forum).

Oh, by the way. Does she lick the bed cover, pillows and furry things a lot ?? Or just you ??

Kim Abston

Well-Known Member
How fabulous your dogs are! I'm sorry there was no sound, but I played the video several times I was so impressed.

Hannah licks us, her bowl and her sister's bowls (obsessively), the bed (if we don't catch her and stop her first), pillows, blankets, stuffed toys, and anything else she suddenly takes a shine to. I just don't understand why--she didn't start this behavior until about 18 months ago. I thought the licking might be something to do with thirst for a while, but honestly, I put her in front of the water bowl SO often she actually knows, that "Hannah, have a cold drink," means I want her to drink water and she usually does drink, just to shut me up! The only time she digs in and refuses to take a drink is when she is just NOT thirsty. I give her cranberry ice cubes to chew before bed every night in hopes of helping prevent infections. Oh, she also started chewing up her panty liners. But, not every time I change them (which is three times a day), just the occasional one--but, when she chews it, boy does she ever!

I can't believe I'm about to out myself, BUT... Sometimes I think I'M more strange than she is. I wanted to make life as "normal" for her as possible, so every time I empty her bladder and bowel, I turn her around and let her "visit" with it like an able bodied dog would do. I have learned that, if she is developing a bladder infection, she is VERY interested in her urine, spending extra time taking in the scent. I have come to look for her reaction to her own urine as a first line gauge of whether she is developing a bladder infection and if it may be time to start antibiotics. She has never been wrong yet--if she starts paying extra attention to her pee, then I do too.

I have tried several different types of ramps to let her come in and out unaided, but she always seems to tip over and end up on her back, with her little legs flailing like a beached turtle. So, now I just give her a booster and takes the threshold pretty well.

Sorry--I've probably given you way more info than you ever wanted to know about a paralyzed dog, but it is certainly good to be able to talk about her issues. Not many people are interested in the life of a 7lb paralyzed dog. Thanks for listening. :unsure:


Well-Known Member
I'm guessing you give your dog "hard" things to eat in between like a dog bone or dried ears or ...
In nature a wolf "wraps up sharp food" with grass and furry things in their stomach to protect it and the rest as it passes trough their system. Our dogs nowadays live inside so they need a new way to "furralize". I have a small munsterlander that also licks a lot (kind of neurotic) and I did a test. So I stopped giving her those bones, within 3 weeks the behaviour was mostly gone. It also came back when I started giving these bones. Oh yeah, I don't make up this stuff. This is the short version of the answer I got from Shaun Ellis during a workshop a few years ago.
Maybe you can find your answer within this short explanation??

Some dogs are exploring the world far more with taste than others. 2 of my dogs are frequently tasting something and stand there with chattering teeth afterwards (I think it's called this way). In fact they are pushing the "taste" to the front part of the mouth and the chattering produces saliva that they can use for better "analyses" of the taste.

Those are possible explanations for your dogs behaviour that are perfectly normal (the wonders of nature).
Most likely you are stranger than your dog in his opinion ... You worry while he's "living his life". I can only stimulate the fact that you read his signs for exemple like after urinating. A dog will tell a lot through (for him) natural behavior.
And thanks for the nice comment on my clip.