Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My Obsessed Dog

          I debated whether or not to talk about this. I was unsure if the problem affected a lot of people. I looked into it and found I was not the only one with an obsessed dog. I know, I know, you are probably sitting there wondering how a dog can be obsessed. Let me first say that I am not one of those people who believe in doggie psycho therapy. Dogs live in the moment, and I have found that this trait makes it easy to help a dog with an obsession.

          So what exactly is a dog obsession. I never heard the term before I found my dog staring at a spot of light drooling and licking at the floor where the light was. I thought it was odd at first, so I called her and nothing seemed to break her concentration on this spot of light. I had to go over and physically remove her from the room where the light was, she spent the next 20 minutes whining and pacing. At this point I decided to do a little research. As it turns out, dogs can become fixated on certain things. Usually this is not a problem, however when the dog exhibits this behavior over and over and a habit forms it can be nerve wracking for the poor dog, and stress related conditions can start to occur.

          I was not sure how to treat my dog for this light fixation. I tried to keep her away from all the spots of light in the house, obviously this did not work, and it was exhausting. You would be surprised how quickly the sun moves across the sky! Every 15 minutes I was hiding a new spot of light, it was not only exhausting, but futile. I was not treating the problem. Whenever she saw light she got hyper anxious, it was sad to see. Dogs can fixate on just about anything, from spots of light to door knobs to tires, it can be anything really. After a lot of experimentation I found only one thing worked. It took a lot of time but ultimately she has stopped trying to kill little spots of light all over the house.

          If your dog is showing signs of obsession, you will need a lot of time and patience. I took my dog to a room that had plenty of light, the sun shining through the blinds provided plenty of light spots on the floor for her to kill. As we entered the room she ran right to a spot of light and began to bite at it. I let her do this for a few min, and I ignored her. I took a tennis ball and started to bounce it on the floor. She loves to chase this ball. It had no affect on her. So I started to bounce the ball off the wall, all the while ignoring her behavior around the light. After about 10 minutes of bouncing the ball around the room she took notice. She became confused... Chase the ball or kill the light. Eventually she chose the ball and I rewarded her with lots of hugs and rubs when she played with the ball and ignored her when she went to the light. I did this for about an hour a day for about a week with different stimulation, a tennis ball one day, doggie treats the next, a tug of war rope the next. After about a week she was more interested in playing and began ignoring the light. I did this all over the house and today, I am happy to say she can lay in the sun with out trying to kill the little spots of light on the floor.

          It is important to pay attention to your dogs behavior. If your dog is behaving out of the ordinary it could be a clue that something is wrong, and the sooner you know the sooner you can help. Thank you for reading, and remember to keep your furry family members healthy and happy.

Nick C

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