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Dogs Behaving (Very) Dribbly?

Drool-lovers, explain. Why bother with slobber?

Ceri Gould Thomas

Posted 7 months ago ago


Watching Dogs Behaving (Very) Badly is my favourite guilty pleasure.

Snuggled on the sofa with Daughter and Darling Dog we gorge ourselves on chocolate (and dog) biscuits and on the very many ways dog owners get dog-owning so very, very wrong.

For those who haven't yet had this slice of fur-filled wonder, it's Channel 5's masterpiece, led by the canine crusader Graeme Hall. From pampered pooches to naughty nippers, Graeme takes on every challenge a dog can bring to someone's life. He's calm. He wears cravats. No obvious link between the two. 

As you can see in this picture he sports big turn-ups on his jeans and plaid on his waistcoats. He always wears a smile.

The other truism is, according to Graeme Hall, that behind every badly-behaved dog there's a doting owner who's to blame.

He's right. 

One of his biggest challenges recently was a Newfoundland called Monty who really, really didn't like walkies. Monty, seen taking a breather from his hectic (ahem) filming schedule with Graeme above, would only put one lumbering paw in front of the other if he was bribed with pieces of lemon drizzle cake.

His mum, Heidi, also confessed to putting squirty cream on his low-fat dog food because otherwise our Monty wouldn't bother to eat it.

Now, Daughter and I had quite a lot to say on the subject and had a disagreement about whether Monty could actually do with skipping a few meals. Daughter thought I was being cruel, I argued I was being cruel to be kind.

Anyway, Graeme, of course, saved the day with a calorie-free dose of excitement. It's all about the voice. Of course it is. He explained, 'You need to create this exciting feeling for him...People and dogs all have things that motivate us and other things that we're just not bothered about... You've got to find that thing that sparks a bit of joy in them and then use that to reward them.'

What failed to get Daughter and I excited was just how much drool a Newfoundland can drizzle... on the cake, on its owners, on itself.

I found myself turning away from the camera and wondering just what is it people like about a salivator?

What do you do with all that dribble?

Mybrownnwefies.com explains why the breed dribbles. It's all because of the mouth apparently. Jen says, 'Newfies drool because... they have loose lips (flews) and the corners of their mouth tend to turn down where the drool or water accumulates and spills over.

'Dogs that don't' have loose lips don't have a place to store their saliva so it goes down their throat'. 

But that goes no way to answering my question - why get a breed that can't swallow its own spit?

Does it get better? According to Jen's blog, it never does. 

'You don't have to like (it) but you'll have to find a way to get used to it. Twelve years ago my husband couldn't stand dog drool. Every time he would step in it he would get grossed out...if he happened to get drool on him he would gag.'

Uh-huh. Me too. 

What am I missing then? A search for 'best bits about Newfoundland dogs' reminded me that they are 'affectionate, gentle... wonderful service dogs and family pets'.

Yeah but... what do you do about the drool?

Can you ever get to love it? 

Turns out you can buy dog bibs to deal with it and magic erasers to clean up after it.

However lovely the dog though, I don't think I could ever be a slave to slobber.


Dogs Behaving (Very) Badly is on Channel 5, Tuesdays at 8pm

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