Dog Drool

You gotta love it.
By Karen B. London PhD, November 2009

Yesterday, I was listening to one of the Harry Potter books on CD as a way to motivate myself to clean my house. (It’s a losing battle, but I remain ever hopeful!) Anyway, what really caught my attention were the scenes with Hagrid’s dog Fang. I found it so amusing that the author always has Fang choose to be near Harry and to drool all over him. Harry never seems too thrilled, but accepts it as part of life. I myself have been drooled on to excess by Saint Bernards, Newfoundlands, Pit Bulls, Bulldogs, and the occasional elderly Golden Retriever.

When I was working full time with seeing dogs with behavioral issues, my clothes were often covered in dog hair and dog slobber by the end of the day, and I never really minded. I always felt so lucky to be spending my days with dogs that the fact that I was wearing the evidence of that happy occurrence was of no consequence to me. Of course, when I returned home at the end of the day, my own dog sniffed me like I had been unfaithful.

One day I picked up my dry cleaning and the owner of the shop came rushing out to the front of the shop in a hurry. As he slid up to the counter, he suddenly assumed a casual, unhurried air and said, “Say, I was just curious. What do you do for a living?” When I told him that I worked with dogs with serious behavior issues, he said, “Aaah, I see. Dogs.” I’ve always suspected that the employees had a pool going about what I did to get my clothes dirty in such an unusual way.

The dry cleaner was an ally in my battle against slobber. I wore black a lot, which worked out well since my own dog was black. After I’d worked with a Samoyed, a Yellow Lab, an American Eskimo or any other light-colored dog, I required a once-over with a lint brush before going out in public. Or not, if I didn’t feel like bothering. The mess is just part of living with, working with and loving dogs.

How do you deal with the drool, hair, and other related issues? Or, is it so irrelevant that you simply ignore it?

Karen B. London, PhD, is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer who specializes in working with dogs with serious behavioral problems, including aggression. She is the author of five books on canine training and behavior.