If retrieving a ball 28 times in a row is considered normal canine behavior, how do you know when your dog's eccentricities go beyond normal and head into the realm of obsessive compulsive behavior? People with OCD ritualize ordinary tasks to the point of disrupting their daily lives - for instance washing hands over and over. It's the same with dogs. Repetitive behaviors performed out of context that are exaggerated or sustained indicate OCD traits in dogs. These include spinning, tail chasing, fly snapping, shadow chasing, air licking, eating/suckling, flank sucking, and paw licking. Whereas 2% of the human population has OCD, in the general dog population it's closer to 10%. Specific types of compulsive behaviors are more frequent in certain breeds, suggesting a genetic predisposition. For instance, although tail chasing may occur in a variety of breeds and mixes, it is most commonly observed in German Shepherds and Bull Terriers.
|Up to a third of the Bull Terrier population |
exhibit signs of OCD, usually tail chasing.
Many cases are so severe the dogs must be euthanized.
Read more about obsessive tail chasing.
|Dobermans with OCD suck their skin.|
|And if you have a dog with OCD and need some help,|
check out this article in Whole Dog Journal.