View Full Version : Obsessive behaviour

23rd August 2009, 11:03 PM
I was just wondering if Jasper's tendency towards obsessions is a cav thing, a rescue dog thing, or just HIS thing ....
When he gets a 'thing' it seems as if it's beyond his control.
His main 'thing' is barking when approaching the road & on the road. I think he will always have this obsession / fear.

Lately he developed a 'thing' for not eating, just looking at his bowl & growling whenever anyone approached. I have solved this by mixing in a bit of the cat food he can't resist and closing the utility door while he eats. It took almost a week to break this habit.

Then there was the burying himself in hedge bottoms and trying to get through impregnable fences - to what, goodness only knows. The only way to get him back was to crawl in and extract him!

His newest 'thing' is digging holes - everywhere! It seems as if he cannot stop once he starts & he appears SO relieved when I finally drag him away! :lpy:

He's a funny fella! :confused:

23rd August 2009, 11:44 PM
I think I would bring him to the vet. How old is he? If he is an older dog, I would think this might be cognitive dysfunction -- eg dog Alzheimers. At any rate this sounds possibly neurological in origin and you would definitely want to make sure either that it isn't and that these are basic behaviour quirks that you then might want to go about working on (eg food guarding, perhaps some boredom or anxiety?), or investigate what might be going on and see how it can best be managed. If it were just one small thing it could be a training issue but you are listing a number of potentially odd changes in behaviour. Any time you see something like that, a vet is the best first stop. Let us know what your vet thinks.

Digging is basically a management issue. I'd be very careful to make sure he cannot get out when he is trying to get through fences. Has his hearing been tested? Given his single blue eye and mostly white colouring he may well be genetically deaf. This would be important to know as it can have implications for training and behaviour and very certainly, for management -- deaf dogs can simply bolt and then be lost as they cannot hear when being called. And of course they can easily be hit by a car.

The growling over food sounds like food guarding and this is a training issue -- don't leave him to sort it out himself or it is likely to return and he could go for a person or another animal. It is generally easy to train away from and there's plenty of info in the training section under the links pinned at the top of the section.

But the first stop should be your vet to discuss his hearing and also these other behaviour issues. Cavaliers as a breed do seem to have a tendency towards some obsessive compulsive behaviours for unknown reasons but this is something that should be discussed with your vet. :thmbsup:

26th August 2009, 09:48 PM
Thanks Karlin. He was suspected as deaf when adopted, but I am certain there is hearing there. He reacts to sound without any visual back-up (e.g. seagulls on the tv!!) and is pretty good at coming back when called when he's off-lead in the fields we've designated as cav-proof!
We never take him near the road off-lead, but unfortunately have to negotiate a 50 metre length of quiet road to get to our fields. EVERYONE knows when Jasper is going for a walk.
He's only about 16 months old, and spent the first 10 months goodness knows where, getting little or no training before being picked up as a stray. We now wonder if he was simply handed in by the owners and called a 'stray', as I don't see how he could have survived unchecked on the streets of Liverpool.
He appears to need extrememly stern handling out of the house for his own sake, which is hard, as he's so good at giving me his 'RSPCA face' when I do. He is currently snoring on the sofa. He knows he's not allowed on there, but will sneak onto it at every opportunity!:rolleyes: I will take a look at the training threads!

26th August 2009, 10:03 PM
If your vet determines that it is obsessive behavior, perhaps stramonium would help? Miles takes stramonium every once in a while, since he has some obsessive behaviors...it seems to really help. Miles tends to focus on lights and shadows. I hope you figure out what's going on with him! :)