Page 16 - 2014 Le Mag 2nd Qtr
P. 16
Understanding Canine Compulsive Disorder

If your dog has developed a tendency to pursue dog obedience skills to control his behavior gently
the same pointless activity -- sucking on his lanks, and humanely. Activities that stimulate and chal-
chasing his own tail, barking or snapping at thin air, lenge your dog mentally and physically can also
et cetera -- he may be suffering from canine com- provide welcome opportunities to burn off excess
pulsive disorder, or CCD. Fortunately, treatment and energy while giving your pet something else to do
training can help him overcome his obsession. besides obsess. Introducing your dog to new places,
sporting activities, puzzle games, people and
Deining CCD: National veterinary organizations animals can all prove immensely helpful in steering
deine compulsive behavior in animals as an activity him toward healthier and more productive
that the animal pursues so single-mindedly behavioral patterns.
that it has a signiicant negative impact on his quality
of life.Canine compulsive disorder seems to bear at Sources:
least some resemblance to obsessive-compulsive Nofsinger, Rushmie. “Dogs, Humans Affected by
disorder in humans; in fact, a recent university study OCD Have Similar Brain Abnormalities.” Tufts Now.
has found that both conditions are associated with June 2013.
similar brain structure anomalies. The condition ASPCA. “Compulsive Behavior in Dogs.”
may also be the result of abusive coninement and
lack of socialization, physical abuse, extended sep-
aration from owners, constant aggression from other
pets in the household, and other sources of pro- Veterinary Intervention for CCD
longed anxiety or mental trauma. Many common symptoms and behaviors can mimic
caninecompulsive disorder. Your dog’s compulsive
Compulsive Behaviors: Dogs with canine compul- licking and biting, for instance, may simply be a
sive disorder may chase their own tails; lick, chew or response to irritation from a skin allergy, parasites or
suck obsessively on their skin or fur; snap at non- bacterial infection. Neurological or vision problems
existent creatures in the air (a phenomenon known may also prompt odd responses. A proper
as "ly snapping"); spin around and around for long veterinary exam can rule out physical causes for ab-
periods of time; feel compelled to chase lights, shad- normal behaviors. If your dog exhibits genuine CCD,
ows or other visual phenomena; become ixated to certain medications can prove helpful in reducing
playing with a particular toy; or bark constantly, even the symptoms. Contact your veterinarian if your dog
when there is no obvious reason for alarm or excite- exhibits any of the behaviors
ment. It is important to note that while many of these associated with CCD.
behaviors may correspond in the short term to nor-
mal animal behavior, such as the love of a favorite
toy or the desire to lick at an injury, constant and/or
unfounded repetition of the behavior may indicate
underlying CCD. Compulsive dogs, however, will
perform these activities for hour after hour, often to
the exclusion of everything else.

While veterinary evaluation is necessary to eliminate
other possible issues, and thus to diagnose
CCD, and then determine whether medication can
help (see right-hand column), a combination of
training and attentive owner care can help affected
dogs break the cycle of compulsive behavior.
Professional dog trainers can help you teach your

   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21