dog licking lips/yawning/shaking head
I have a 3 year old vizsla mix who is a higher energy dog than I've ever met. (we exercise her regularly, at least 30 to 60 minutes of hard running at the park daily, usually in addition to a walk.) She seems to be regressing in her training so I've been doing some reading up on things she does. She has always been a very "licky" dog, which we have tried to correct since she was just a pup (have tried ignoring, sending to timeout any time she licks). Nothing has worked. She still walks up to you and snipes a lick if your hand is hanging down, and with other people she licks like a maniac puppy, and still puts her mouth on others like puppies do. It's horrible. The other thing that she has always done is anytime anyone touches her, she licks her chops obsessively. I've know that this is calming for the dog, and happens under pressure or stress, but that means that if she is truly stressed, we can never pet our dog. She always has tail wagging, and seems otherwise happy, but it is absolutely impossible to touch her without her licking her chops. I'd like to add that she LOVES LOVES LOVES people, and there is nothing better in her world than to meet a new or old friend. Could it be that at this point that the licking chops is just a habit? That maybe it started out as a stress sign, but now she just does it out of an obsessive type behavior?
Also, when we ask her to do something (heel, for example) she automatically shakes her head, or yawns. She will then usually proceed to do the behavior, but always does a displacement behavior first. It is like she is being defiant, though I know supposedly that isn't the case, but it is beyond frustrating when you ask her do do something she has known how to do for 2.5 years, and she shakes her ears instead. We don't know how to respond when she does this..do we ignore it? scold her for it? When she is doing something that SHE wants (like tricks for treats) and she does this, we just get up and the fun stops. But if she needs to do something (stay, heel) and she shakes her head, we don't want her to learn that shaking her head lets her get her way and she doesn't have to do what we ask.
Any advice from those who are experienced at dog training/behavior?
Re: dog licking lips/yawning/shaking head
About the licking behavior when you pet her, I wouldn't worry about it. Stress is not always bad, it can be from good things. Excitement and extreme happiness is a form of stress. This seems like a dog that is very eager to please and is feeling conflicted. Instead of correcting her for licking, I would train for an incompatible behavior. Then instead of feeling punished and needing to perform appeasing behaviors (licking) she can be successful and feel more confident. If she feels really confident, she will still want to lick but she won't NEED to.
I think the head shaking is a displacement behavior BECAUSE she feels your frustration. She's confused. Just ignore it and make sure all your training methods are positive so she does not feel confused or upset. Have you tried clicker training with her? She sounds like a perfect candidate who really wants to know what to do. Clicker training would also be a perfect way to teach her not to lick without a correction, but with a reward instead. At first you would click and reward the second she stops licking. Do some research on clicker training and you will see how that would work.