Spinning and Spinning and Spinning - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-25-2013, 07:33 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Spinning and Spinning and Spinning

My husband and I adopted a 3 year old German Shepherd from a Rescue. We quickly figured out why his former owners gave up.
He just spins and spins and spins.
We've only had him for 2 months, an the spinning, is out of control. I don't know what to do.
We live on a acreage, and we put him outside with the other dogs and he will spin for 8 or 9 hours. He will spin all day until we bring him in the house. He just stands in the same spot and spins. If I bring him in the house, he spins in the house as well, sometimes bashing his head into the wall, knocking over furniture.....
Of course he stops spinning when we take him for walks or play with him, and he sleeps very well at night. But who has time to play with a dog all day or correct him all day?
We will probably take him to the vet this week. If there is nothing medically wrong with him, I don't know what to do.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-25-2013, 07:35 PM
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Melatonin

He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion. - Unknown
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-25-2013, 07:49 PM
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Spinning is a symptom of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. There have been a lot of threads on here about it if you use the search feature.

Tufts University is doing a study on it. Tufts Animal Behavior Research Studies : Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-25-2013, 08:24 PM
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I'm sure your vet will have advice on how to handle this. It does sound like the behavior is obsessive-compulsive. There are ways to handle this.

You have not had the dog for very long. Anxiety, due to a major change in life, can exacerbate behaviors like this in the short term. Talk to your vet.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-25-2013, 08:34 PM
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Also, I think you need to work on building a bond with the dog. You have to interrupt the behavior and replace it with something constructive. I know you can't spend 24/7 monitoring the dog.

But, to me this sounds like an anxiety-driven problem, you need to step up your involvement and provide a productive routine for this dog. Letting him out to run with the other dogs is obviously not enough. He needs to interact with you and build trust with you before he will be comfortable. Engage him in training and mentally stimulating games.

The vet will likely suggest some medications. Those will help him be less anxious, but to truly get the benefit you have to use that time constructively from a bonding and training perspective.

If you are already doing these things, continue to do so. Two months is not enough time.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-25-2013, 09:05 PM
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Welcome to the board. I'm sorry to hear this about your boy. This is a behavior that can be managed in most cases.


Help for OCD Dogs - Whole Dog Journal Article
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 05:22 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the advice. It helps because some days I get so frustrated with him. It helps me to vent to others.
I've tried to be more understanding of his spinning problem and try to spend more time with him. I guess he's not like the other dogs, who are happy to sit in the sun all day and bark when cars drive by.
I know he needs to go to the vet because his spinning is so bad, he is going to hurt his hips or tear his feet. Yesterday he spun until he was exhausted and panting.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 07:00 PM
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You will need medication. Melatonin is fairly short acting and thus quite ineffective for OCDs. There's some question of safety as well, for our pets.

However, your vet will have a number of suggestions (behavioral mod and medications), and be sure to discuss each medication with your vet thoroughly to find one that'll work and have the fewest side effects.
A "Thunder shirt" may also help although personally I've never noticed a difference when I've used them and we've tried them on a number of dogs.

I'm sad the rescue didn't disclose this beforehand. It's tough enough to deal with a dog that develops OCDs when it's lived with you it's whole life, but it sounds like you're having a difficult time even getting to know this one
Good luck.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 08:58 PM
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I never seen this spinning in the flesh. I wonder can you train a dog out of that. Like give him something to do that really uses his mental energy

Do you try to do some tug or throwing a ball for the dog or is it beyond that?
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 09:29 PM
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To the OP, yes, he absolutely needs to go to the vet!

OCD is an anxiety-disorder. As I mentioned in my earlier post, you will need to work on reducing the anxiety through medication, routine, exercise and positive interaction.

Wishing you all the best. Please do keep us updated!
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