Pet Q&A: How to kick bichon's eye-licking habit

NewsdayJuly 6, 2013 

Question: My 3-year-old bichon has a very bad habit of licking my eyes while I sleep. I am a very heavy sleeper, and on too many occasions I have awakened with eye infections requiring medical intervention. I've tried an eye mask and safety glasses, but she somehow gets under them (and, yes, I sleep through the entire episode). Can you give me any suggestions to help her break this habit so I won't have to lock her up every night?

Answer: Dogs love the salty taste of tears, and licking each other's faces is a natural behavior for them. The fact that you just lay there and let her do this while you are sleeping allows her to justify the action in her doggy mind. I am sure that when you wake up and discover her doing this there is a lot of drama, but since the drama does not happen as soon as she starts licking, she cannot learn from you that this behavior is not acceptable.

So, the idea here is extinction therapy. If you do not allow her to do it for a long enough period of time, the behavior becomes extinct. How long it will take is hard to say. Since it gives her so much pleasure, I would say you are going to have to lock her up at night or keep your bedroom door closed for a year. This may sound like a long time, but she is only 3 now and bichons can live for a long time.

Q: My elderly mom has a built-in pool in her yard that she can no longer use or maintain. It is cleaned yearly but is now full of leaves and rain water.

Two large bullfrogs have taken residence there and seem quite happy.

Most of the time they hide, but in a rainstorm they like to swim laps. The largest is at least 12 inches from head to toe. I am worried they will lose their habitat when my brother cleans the pool.

Will the frogs be OK if we put them in a creek?

A: Unlike most of the amphibians that live in North America, the bullfrog is hardy and adaptable enough to thrive in areas where humans have altered the natural habitat. In some areas, they have become pests in ponds and lakes where they had never lived before. If you catch them with a large fish net and put them inside a wet pillowcase, you can safely take them to the creek and turn them loose.

Merced Sun-Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service