Understanding Obsession and Anxiety In Your Dog

Posted: May 19, 2014 in Dog Behavior, Puppy Training
Tags: , , , , , ,

tail chase





It’s 3 am, you have to work in the morning and you are about to climb right out of your skin. You love your dog but no matter what you do, he just won’t stop sniffing, pacing, circling and scratching the floor. This behavior can sometimes last for hours, until the dog simply runs out of steam and has to fall into a very light sleep. The slightest sound will have him jumping to his feet only to start the whole routine over. Understanding obsession and anxiety in your dog may seem to be impossible for you to comprehend so let me break it down for you.

The symptoms that I described are just a few of the most common behaviors dogs can exhibit when they are suffering from anxiety and obsession. You will first want to take your dog to the vet to rule out any medical issues. If the vet gives your dog a clean bill of health then you must look to other solutions. Other symptoms of (obsession/anxiety) include, but are not limited to…

1. Tail chasing.

2. Licking themselves or other objects,( obsessive licking of body parts will cause injury to the dog),..you will need to take steps to prevent this, ie, funnel collar, to keep dog from licking the affected area.

3. Excessive drinking, even when you know they are not thirsty.

4. Tongue hanging out, drooling, panting.

5. Old age, a dog can have decreased cognitive function, ie,… forget where his food bowl is, don’t respond to commands that you know he understands, no longer socializes with people or other dogs.

6. Turning circles, or spinning, sometimes couple with tail-chasing.

7. Scratching the floor coupled with the turning circles, could be a natural instinctual behavior that became obsessive.

8. Non-stop barking for no apparent reason.

9. Fixating ( staring at), or jumping on a toy or object, for example, a spot on the floor or wall.

10. Snapping of teeth like they were catching a fly.

Any attempts to train a dog to not be anxious or obsessive would be futile. When a dog is in this heightened state of mind, the brain is flooded with chemicals that make listening to you impossible. The dog’s brain, for lack of a better term simply “shuts down”.

It has been my experience that the only way to treat obsession and anxiety in your dog, (outside of the use of drugs, which I never recommend,) is to slowly desensitize your dog slowly over time. Observe the behavior and provide alternative ways for your dog to drain excess energy.

When your dog is not behaving in and obsessive or anxious way, stimulate his mind with a series of obedience training, learn some tricks, teach him to count to three.

Go for long walks and incorporate a game or two of go fetch the stick, or ball.

When your dog is getting enough energy draining mental and physical exercise, he will be much less likely to practice obsessive or anxious behaviors.

A tired dog is a good dog.

That’s all for today,

Good luck, and good training.


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