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I have a rather neurotic little sheltie that we love, but I know that we need to make some changes with her. I know she doesn't get enough exercise and that is a big part of the problems she has.

Whenever my wife or I try to leave the house, she loses her mind, grabs a toy and whips it around as hard as she can and growls. She also freaks out whenever we get water or ice out of the fridge. She has even started to freak out when she sees signs that we might be doing either of these things. She has leash confidence really badly, and it makes it really difficult to walk her because she acts like she wants to attack every person and animal that she sees, but if you walk up to a person, she just wiggles and licks them.

The primary problem that I have some concern over is how she licks young children in the face. Anytime we have a friend visit with their baby/toddler, our Sheltie will do everything she can to get to their face and she intensely licks their face and jumps up on them if they stand up so she can try to lick their face. She can knock them over, and will just keep licking their face. Also, if someone then picks the child up, she freaks out and jumps up at them like she's trying to get to the child.

I believe she tries to do this with grown people too, but they can fend her off and she'll give up, where a child can't stop her from licking their face.

Is the face licking and jumping something to be concerned about? Anyone have any suggestions or tips for any of this?

Thanks
 

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If she's knocking people over, yes, that's a problem.

Look, I could give you all kinds of advice, but you already know what to do: exercise her. Without enough exercise, dogs are poorly behaved. Full stop. You need to exercise her, today, tomorrow and every day for the rest of her life. How can we even know how poorly behaved she really is if you aren't exercising her?
 

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To add to that, you should probably not let your dog close enough to a baby or toddler so that the dog can knock them over and lick their face. You should have control over the dog when children visit. Kids speak in higher pitches, move faster, and are more spontaneous. That can scare a dog or make them hyper or excited. Accidents can happen in seconds.

Besides that, when we have guests, we want our dogs to behave. If they don't, we remove them from the situation.
 

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I have a dog who also LOVES to deliver kisses to anyone whose face she can reach. She is 40lbs. I've managed to train her quite well, even in complex behaviors such as those required for agility, yet I cannot break this desire. So management is the only option. If I'm not 100% sure that the person wants to be licked, then I manage the situation to make sure that doesn't happen. If guests come over and there's a small child, the dog might need to be crated. Leashes can go a long way to curbing the behavior, too. And having good recall and good attention to you is paramount, so that you can redirect the dog and stop the obsessive behavior before it starts.

Doxiemom, I hear what you're saying about accidents happening in a flash, and that's why I think dogs should be supervised around children. I dunno about the OP's dog, but I trust Kit 100% not to intentionally inflict harm on anyone, including small children, no matter what they do to her. She will not get scared by them, and will not retaliate if they pull her tail, grab a paw, etc. But I recognize that the jumping/licking thing, while not intentional, could injure a child. Again, management is key.

FYI: A lot of people think this behavior stems from puppies licking the faces of their mothers to get them to vomit up something to eat. In my experience, it is the most food-motivated dogs that do it obsessively. If this is true for your dog, then food will be the answer to your problems. A very food-motivated dog is a trainers dream because they'll do anything you want for the smallest of rewards. For example, a very food-motivated dog could be convinced with a long-lasting treat toy to happily settle in his crate while visitors are present. Similarly, you could turn your departures into happy times for the dog by providing something tasty that will last for a while. By the time the dog finishes it, you're long gone and they're feeling sleepy.
 
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