My maltese is about 9 yrs. old and he is a licker too! We got him from people who didn't take care of him at all. He had an abscess through the side of his cheek due to no vet care in years. His gums and teeth were very infected. We spent a good deal of money getting him taken care of. He had to get 11 teeth pulled and lots of antibiotics for the infection, he literally had green snot looking discharge coming from the abscess. He is taken care of very well now, but still constantly licks. We recently took him back to the vet for twitching his head funny (found out the groomer got water in his ear), but they checked his teeth as well and had another small gum infection. Maltese are very prone to teeth/gum problems especially mine since he wasn't properly cared for. BUT If your maltese has bad breath and is constantly licking I would guess there is something wrong with his teeth or gums. If you can I suggest brushing their teeth to remove plaque every few months if the dog eats any kind of soft food such as canned food or treats. Rawhide also can get caught between their teeth causing them to lick excessively, somehow mine got the smallest little rock between his teeth that the vet found at the last visit. Older maltese should get their teeth cleaned every 6 months b/c the breed is so prone to dental problems. His breath improved SO MUCH too after getting a small brush recently, but is already back to bad breath (only been about 2 months). I'm thinking about switching vets b/c I suspect his teeth/gums are still having a problem since they didn't ask for a check up (after finishing antibiotics) after this last visit. His breath is bad again so I really think there could still be an infection, he also won't eat any hard treats (milkbones and even duck jerky which he loves) and cries if I don't break it up for him in small pieces. I really think dental problems are a big sign of excessive licking. I have talked to the vet about this, and they also said it could be allergies. Dogs who have allergies tend to lick their paws and body nonstop and also chew. When humans have allergies we sneeze, have runny noses, etc. but when dogs have allergies their bodies itch all over causing them to chew/lick theirselves alot. I give my maltese about 1/3 of a benadryl pill (10lbs.) when he starts showing signs of excessive itching. This helps the itching, but shouldn't be given to them all the time b/c they can become immune.
If you have ruled out dental problems and allergies, then I would have to guess the dog is OCD or is very bored. Try playing fetch or tug of war with squeeky toys or even getting on the floor and rough housing a bit. My maltese loves this and gets him to quit licking sometimes b/c when were done he will go to sleep instead of starting to lick again. Also give chew bones to keep them occupied and helps relieve pain inside the mouth while also helps remove some plaque. Just watch out for certain kinds of bones. I have small rawhide bones I've been giving my maltese, but have been recently finding information that rawhide is bad for dogs. So I'm still researching this.
My dog still licks the air, bed, blankets, everything, but I have talked to the vet several times. The allergies and dental problems were some of the bigger reasons. I'm still trying to find more info, but I'm starting to think my dog still has dental problems OR he is just OCD which I have not talked to the vet about yet. I'm running out of options...I wish I knew how to stop it! Hopefully one of these reasons helps you and your dog, but I'm still looking for my little one. It could be the OCD, but I'm not sure I will ever put him on medication as it is just like antidepressants for humans.
Also the whole not going into the grass thing, my dog did the same thing (not hyperventilating though). He was locked in a small cage everyday with only the chance to go outside to use the bathroom a few times a day. The people had 2 larger MEAN dogs in the yard, so he would use the bathroom on their concrete patio never going into the grass. It took us months to get him to go in the grass. I think since he had never been in grass, it made him itchy so he didn't want to go. We would pick him up and put him in the middle of grass so he didn't have a choice and reward with a small treat and praise afterwards. He still doesn't like when the grass is long, but we have no problem with him now using the bathroom in the yard. Grass is just itchy so it takes them time to get used to it, but he will get use to it after time, and it won't itch him as much unless the grass is really long. Just takes patience and praise and he'll be out there in no time. Make sure you stand in the grass with him in case he is scared, so he realizes your their to protect him and there is nothing to be afraid of. Good luck hope this helps!
Any more ideas on the excessive licking PLEASE POST!