I have a 10-month-old bichon shih tzu, Maggie. She’s had all of her shots and has been going to dog training classes once a week for a number of months (she’s currently in an advanced class). She’s also going through our local Pet Therapy Society screening and training so she and I can volunteer after she turns one. She’s very well socialized with all types of people and dogs – except one. My friend brought home a Pug puppy last week and Maggie has visited him on three separate occasions. Each time she looks happy, tail up, posture is positive, and she’s very appropriate in her play with the pug. However, every time she’s seen this dog, she drools and froths from the mouth so excessively that she leaves pools on the floor. She does not look stresses or overexcited. I’m very concerned because we were hoping to have them enjoy play dates and puppy sit for each other. HELP! I’m taking her to the vet along with the Pug this Friday but am afraid they will not have an answer (my trainer had never heard of such a situation before). Like I say, it’s only when she’s around this one dog – no others. When they’ve seen each other, it’s always been in a different location too, so I don’t think it has anything to do with the environment. I look forward to hearing what you have to say.
My first question is – are they both spayed or neutered? This can be a cause of many behaviors, including excessive drooling. For example, when a dog is in heat, a male or a female can drool and froth. Or when a dog wants to eat and they can’t get to the food, they’ll drool. Both are behaviors where they want something and it causes the natural reaction of drooling. It takes a stimulus – or excitement – to get to this point. Food and sex drive are the strongest, most powerful drives a dog has. It doesn’t sound to me like food is involved in this case. You can think of this situation like you would a submissive pee – a behavior that is not necessarily a “problem” but an inconvenience and something you would like to discourage. I would suggest continuing to familiarize the dogs with one another. Go for more walks together, with the dogs side-by-side, not head on, or one leading the other. Control their playtime and make sure that you are only allowing them to meet and engage when they are in a calm state of mind. And, if one or both are not spayed or neutered, this is something to seriously consider as well.