OCD in Dogs
Managing OCD in dogs
OCD in dogs, does it exist or is it an excuse for an untrained dog. Well having lived with a dog with OCD for the past six years I can tell you that it does exist and it can affect your relationship with your dog.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder also known as OCD, is a behaviour that seems out of context, strange, and normally directed towards inanimate objects like food dish, leafs, tennis balls, stones ect or things like cars, bikes, or pram’s.
Dogs that suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder often (but not always) have a history of abuse, neglect or past exposure to extremely stressful environments. For example, dogs confined for prolonged periods of time in small areas with no form of physical or mental stimulation may develop OCD. Most authorities suspect that this condition has a strong hereditary component, as well.
Current medical science puts the anatomical focus of OCD in the limbic system, which is an integrated network of brain structures in all mammals that is associated with various aspects of behaviour and emotion, among other things.
OCD can often manifests itself in dogs that are highly strung (working types) dogs that exhibit stress and anxiety, or dogs that become bored quickly. This can be a very unpleasant experience for the owner and the dog itself.
OCD can often result in destructive behaviour, obsessive digging, continuous biting at their own feet, barking at nothing, attacking inanimate objects with seemingly uncontrollable aggression, these are all symptoms of OCD.
If your dogs OCD episodes are caused by stress, it is important to take advice from your vet. A stressed dog can also be potentially an unpredictable dog. There are medicated therapies available to help your dog deal with stress.
In boredom cases (digging, barking, tail-chasing) it is essential we step up to our dog’s energy level. A tired and challenged is a relaxed dog not a compulsive dog. Take long walks, take them to Doggy Day care, play games you get the idea. By channelling your dog’s energy through a fun outlet you will not only ensure that your dog is content, but you also bond with your dog far better. This in turn will reduce the OCD episodes in your dog is a disruptive behaviour.
What ever causes this behaviour in your dog, be it genetic make-up, Stress or boredom. OCD is a recognised and potentially dangerous medical condition and should not be looked at as a behavioural condition. OCD cannot be trained out of a dog it can be managed much like Rage Syndrome.
If you have any concerns about your dog’s behaviour or believe they may be suffering from OCD then contact your Veterinarian for advice.
As a Leading Behaviourist with firsthand experience of OCD in dogs I can also help you with the day-to-day management of this potentially heart breaking condition.