How to curb Obsessive Compulsive Behaviors in your dog

How to curb Obsessive Compulsive Behaviors in your dog

Does your dog exhibit repetitive obsessive-compulsive behaviors even after you try to correct or divert their attention?

As a professional dog trainer, the more common repetitive behaviors or obsessive-compulsive behaviors I witness are:

  • destruction of and eating objects
  • eating feces
  • licking
  • resource guarding with nipping or biting
  • barking
  • ball and light chasing

Furthermore, additional obsessive-compulsive behaviors might include:

  • tail-chasing
  • swirling
  • “humping”

Many dogs suffer from anxiety, a neurological disorder, or struggle with focusing on the task at hand.

What to do?

Avoid inducing or promoting these behaviors and get professional behavioral help for your dog. Plan to speak to your veterinarian. Before you call your veterinarian, establish a baseline describing the events as well as the negative behaviors of your dog.

Once your veterinarian understands the problem, he or she may encourage you to seek training at ground zero. Ground zero training can mean basic obedience up to addressing a specific negative behavior. Since all dogs are different, training could take weeks to see an improvement. Yet, it is my experience that sometimes a small positive change can happen quickly.

Embrace the small positive steps and be patient. Most of all, consistency is a key factor in the training mechanism. Your dog should improve based on what YOU do or don’t do with your dog.

Food causes for obsessive-compulsive behavior

Another factor to consider is the type of food you feed your pet. Did you know there are “hot”, “neutral”, and “cold” meats?  Each of these different types of meats can affect behavior.  In addition, a change in dog food or maybe a higher grade of food may be necessary.

A supplement called Lactenz by Standard Process contains digestive enzymes, lactobacillus, and bifidobaceterium. Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter and a precursor to GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter.  These neurotransmitters in balanced amounts are important for learning and memory. * Some information provided by Dr. Claudeen McAuliffe.

When to use behavioral medications?

If you tried multiple methods for months, a behavioral medication may be necessary.  Please keep in mind you can try natural supplements. As always, some natural supplements are better than others. Do your research. My favorite is Composure by Vetri Science. It is important you keep your veterinarian informed.

Perhaps you practiced multiple methods, such as training, diversionary tactics, or food changes, and yet your dog still has issues. Even if you seek out a trainer or provide behavioral supplements, but your dog may still struggle. As a result, you may feel too overwhelmed to continue.

Your veterinarian will be more at ease prescribing a medication.  A good veterinarian should not be in a hurry to prescribe behavioral medications.  These medications take time to calm a behavior, sometimes up to 6 weeks. Please be patient.

Most of all, keep your veterinarian informed of changes. If there is little or no change after 5 weeks, you may find an adjustment in dosage is necessary.  Remember, certain medications should not be taken for very long periods. Always consult with your veterinarian periodically and report any physical concerns.

It is always hard to see your pet struggle, but hopefully, I have given you some takeaway ideas to help you find a solution.