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Discussion Starter #1
My 8 month old male has been diagnosed with congenital OCD. The vet/animal behaviorist tells me that this is a genetic disorder that usually involves male GSDs around this age and without treatment will worsen. Jager pounces on and attacks imaginary things on the floor and barks and digs, barks and digs at the floor relentlessly, sometimes rather than eating his meals. I have attempted to distract the behavior by playing with his ball or other toys, massaging him, etc. My 2 yr. old female avoids him like the plague when he starts into his tirade. He does this until he's panting and out of breath. The barking is relentless and it's making us crazy!!!!!

The most difficult thing is this: I am the trigger for the behavior. When I am not home, he doesn't do it. My husband and adult sons have told me that none of this begins until I am in the house - wedo not know why. I am taking him to the vet to be evaluated further and most likely, put on medication.

Has anyone else gone through this before? It is so pathetic to watch.
 

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Kai had a touch of it. He would obsessively chase his tail if I didn't redirect him. He needed tons of exercise or stimulation or the tail chasing would start.

Naturally, it's very prevalent in gsds because they are so overbred.

Here is an article I found: http://www.animalsheltering.org/resource...eeding_ocd.html
 

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My trainer rescued a GSD that, when kenneled/locked in an exercise area/off leash just running around, he will circle around anything stationary and bark and bark and bark. He does it even when there is nothing to circle around, if he's in a big empty space he will start like he's chasing a fly and then circle and circle and circle. There are circular paths dug in the sand in the agility course where he has done this, if you're not careful you will trip and fall into one of his little 'racetracks'.

Definitely an unstable dog.

Good luck with your pup.
 

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I believe this is a sign of vacciniosis, probably brought on by the rabies vaccine. Here is an interesting link to an article by a vet which describes this type of behavior:

http://www.homeovet.net/content/printable/articles_1.html

I had a female who started an "OCD" behavior of circling the family room, dining room and kitchen 3 times before she went into her crate. She did this everything I put her into her crate. We treated her homeopathically and she doesn't do it anymore and alot of the other behaviors which I though were "temperment" related have gone away as well!

I would suggest contacting a homeopath to help with your dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you everyone - I filled out a behavior questionnaire for the vet/behaviorist and turned it in. She will make an appointment with us after reviewing it. I hope I can get him some help - holistically or otherwise. My greatest concern at this point is my 2 yr. old female, who is becoming increasingly upset with the puppy's behavior. She doesn't want to be anywhere around him and often doesn't want to leave our bedroom in the morning. (She sleeps with us). In fact, she growls, bares her teeth, and even nips him at him if he bothers her or when we correct him.

I agree that he is unstable. Even his play is insatiable and relentless and he foregoes eating to continue this behavior.
I have a three year health guarantee from the breeder, but do not want to return Jager to her, as the living conditions there are less than desirable, in my opinion. I was literally in tears on Saturday morning from the frustration of trying to keep Jager occupied and separated from my female. This has created a horrible living situation for everyone in my home - both human and canine. In addition, I have the responsibilty of an aging handicapped mother, which seriously complicates everything. Thank you all for listening.
 

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HOw many miles of OFF leash exercise are you able to give your dog each day? Swimming? REAL tears thru the woods?

How about dog classes for attention, focus as well as EXERCISE. Flyball? Agility? Frisbee? Tracking? Tricks? Clicker training?

And I'm again stressing the off leash exercise thing. The fact your dog is fine except when you are around show to me it's not out of control all the time. So I'm thinking if when you come home you put on your 'play clothes' pack the dog in the car and spend the next few hours in the woods, you may get a handle on this without drugs or a behaviorist.

Heres what I have to do with my dogs and they do not have OCD:









How about herding?



Agility?



Socialization at Dog Events? (Bretta with an ASPCA guy!)



Obedience?

 

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Originally Posted By: RavensMom
The most difficult thing is this: I am the trigger for the behavior. When I am not home, he doesn't do it. My husband and adult sons have told me that none of this begins until I am in the house - wedo not know why. I am taking him to the vet to be evaluated further and most likely, put on medication.
This to me is the most significant thing. It doesn't seem medical if he is able to NOT to do it part of the time.

How weird is that? So he does not-ever? sometimes? do this with your husband or sons? Do they do anything differently with him while you are gone? Is he crated? And what changes when you are home?

Have you tried leashing him to you to reduce his ability to perform these behaviors while mentally stimulating him by giving him commands, etc? I am not convinced that is the best advice but will see what others think! (because I would do that-but wouldn't want to tell someone else to do it and have it backfire)

I hate to reference Cesar Millan because I do not agree with everything he does (more than I do not agree with someone like Ian Dunbar) but it seems like there is something going on in the relationship with you and your dog/the leadership issue.

He may be nervous-feeling like he has to take care of you. That little idea in their heads creates MORE problems! Believe me, I know that first hand with my oldest dog. He taught me that I have to be large and in charge even if I didn't feel it so that he could relax. Otherwise he would pace, have periods of anxiety, etc. He's still (15) not right, but we use the tools of me controlling resources to help us!

One of those tools is NILIF. http://www.k9deb.com/nilif.htm

Another thing is exercise and mental stimulation.

Your female is trying to fill in the leadership gap-again this is only my perception via the internet. She's got the whole "if you're not going to do something about it, I will" thing happening. Once you get him going on NILIF, get her on it too, she'll feel better.

Try checking out The Dog Listener by Jan Fennell.

I have never been anti-medication because chemicals are chemicals whether they are in dogs or people, and drugs can help, but if there are other things that can be done first and perhaps negate their use, or to only need them for supportive and not suppressive purposes to me is much better.

And sorry that you have other things to deal with in addition to this. Your stress level may be leeching out to your very receptive dog. But this happens, and it's not the blaming the mom thing, just one of those things that happen. Sometimes our dogs can force us to do things for ourselves that we wouldn't normally do! Get a massage, take some time to meditate or do deep breathing, relaxation stuff for you and help your dog in the process!

In fact, that is one thing I had to remember to do with my dog-when I'd get home I'd sit in the car and get relaxed so I wouldn't reinforce his idea that I was in danger "out there" in the world.

GOOD LUCK! Thank goodness he has you.
 

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I agree with MRL and Jean. It sounds more like a puppy with not enough mental and physical stimulation than a physical or mental illness. This is a dog that a walk around the park will not be enough. He needs to LEARN and tire his brain. He needs to learn to learn. Thinking dogs are soooooo much fun but they can also be SO trying if you slack off. I have multiple "thinking dogs" and if life gets too busy and I have a week or two where I don't stimulate them enough physically AND mentally they will drive me NUTZ! It may sound stupid but I can take them to the woods/pond and let them play for two hours straight and I STILL have to "drag" them away because they arent done yet. But if I WORK with them at something that requires physical AND mental energy (like for my guys herding or tracking) 30 minutes and they will sleep all the way home and be whipped for the night.

A tired dog is a happy dog but you must also tire the brain to tire the dog. I would look into finding a clicker/positive training class that you can enroll him in. Check out other possibilities for your dog like tracking or herding. Learn to teach him to "help" around the house. Name his toys and teach him to learn to "Get the ball", "get the tuggie" whatever and then PLAY with him. He is a puppy he needs to play.
 

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I agree with MRL, Jean and Ruq. This sounds like a normal young dog who isn't getting enough exercise and mental stimulation. It doesn't sound like a medical problem, and frankly I'm shocked and appaled at how quick the vet and trainer jumped on the bandwagon of drugging the dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
He has been in obedience classes (clicker training) since he was 12 weeks old - all the way through Advanced and has done well. His ball drive is incredible - weather permitting, we play with him outside (ball, frisbee, squeaky toys, etc.), but, unfortunately this Northeast Ohio weather can get quite nasty! We have a large yard with a six foot fence, so the dogs play regularly outside for quite a while/day. My biggest problem is that I live on a corner, and when they bark at a dog going by, my crabby, have nothing better to do neighbor calls the police, which forces me to bring them in sooner than I'd like. We're working on the barking, but dogs walking by seem to be much too tempting! I play hide and seek with him in the house as well. I have noticed that he does his "obsessive thing" more often when I am paying attention to my female. My husband and sons don't pay as much attention to him (although my hubby does play ball), which may be why he looks to me for stimulation. I'm the one who feeds him, trains him, fusses over him, etc.
I truly am the "mom" with the dogs.
 

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I know you said the dogs play outside but how often do you take him out by himself and do obedience and ball play?
 

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Quote: We have a large yard with a six foot fence, so the dogs play regularly outside for quite a while/day.
Did you get a chance to look at all the photos I posted above? Did you see any of that in my back yard? Because they were not.

If my dog(s) were only in my yard and my 'exercise' program was leaving them there. Or just playing ball/chuckit, my dog(s) (especially the first year or so) would also have to be medicated.

Because that's not the way I can mentally and physically stimulate and wear out my dogs. I start noticing behavioral issues if I don't get out and about at least every other day. So I KNOW my dogs misbehaving and nutsoness has a direct correlation with my ability to manage them in the way that is necessary for them. IF I exercise (not in the yard, see photos above) and train with my dogs I have zero problems. IF I do not I immediately have huge behavioral problems, barking, disobedience, getting into things they know are wrong, chewing items.....................

One of the reasons I rarely if ever recommend a GSD in general or 'workingline' GSD in specific to anyone is because I know they are WAY too much dog for most people. It is NOT the same as when I raised my first dog (a yellow Lab), no comparison. The fact I MUST take them in the car and go out for hours with them at least every other day. The fact I must find a great trainer and go to classes so my dog learns properly. The fact that if I get to busy and my dog then mis-behaves...........that's all MY fault because I chose to get a working line GSD and knew it would be 'hard' but worth it. And it is for me.

If I were you I would contact the breeder for help. And if they are a responsible breeder they would probably take the dog back rather than have him spend his life medicated. Sounds like with the toy/ball drive he would be an excellent prospect for an experienced handler in Schutzund or maybe even a K-9 unit?
 

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Originally Posted By: RavensMomHe has been in obedience classes (clicker training) since he was 12 weeks old - all the way through Advanced and has done well.
It sounds like these classes were in the past? Correct?

Do you still work with him regularly?

GSDs need regular training, and the mental stimulation and one-on-one quality time with their handlers that it provides. Physical exercise chasing balls isn't enough. They need to use their brains and work with their handlers.

A few months of classes isn't enough for a GSD. Classes are great in that they teach the dog the behaviors and teach you how to work with him, which are very important things, but the training must continue after class. Training needs to be kept up for the life of the dog. Otherwise they *will* develop behavioral problems and neurotic tendencies out of boredom and a lack of stimulation.
 

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Oh so true.

Let me ask this, are you the one who took the puppy to clicker training? I think you dog sees you as the trigger because when you get home he thinks its time for more stimulation based on the past. He liked the stimulation in the past and now he’s looking to you for more.
 

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Quote:He liked the stimulation in the past and now he’s looking to you for more.
That's a good point.

And it's great to see he's done so well in the past, and with others, so he's definitely got it in him to be a 'good boy'.

How about Schutzund or herding??
 

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Discussion Starter #16
He just graduated (one week ago) from the classes - I took him to the classes along with my son Pete (age 17). I agree that this dog may actually be too much dog for our situation, particularly considering my mother's unexpectedly rapid mental deteriation due to dementia and my increased need for involvement in her care. My first two GSDs (including my female) were "softer" dogs of primarily American lines and totally different in temperament. The breeder was not exact regarding his "makeup," other than to state that he was mostly of "German" lines. In addition, I have never had a male before (I'm not certain how much of a difference that makes). We chose this breeder b/c we were specifically looking for a solid black with good temperament.

I will definitely try to work in more activity - he has an appointment with the behaviorist Thursday. I hate to see him this way and will rehome him if necessary through rescue, but just cannot bring myself to return him to the breeder. Her home was filthy (I hadn't been insideuntil I signed the contract) and he was underweight and full of worms when I finally went to pick him up. He is now physically healthy, robust, and loved. My mother's condition just creates a nearly impossible situation for me at this time.

I'm sorry I could not view the above mentioned pictures - they were blocked by the webwasher here at work. Thanks to everyone making suggestions and sharing their knowledge.
 

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He sounds like a normal working line GSD to me. And you've been doing well with him BUT sounds like a life change with your family is causing the problem at this point.

Truthfully, and I know this is asking alot timewise for you, if you could 'force' your family to do more of the house stuff (cleaning, laundry, cooking, etc.) so you were then freed up to focus on your mother's needs and your dogs needs, it would benefit everyone. I know that as a woman when more work is needed we aren't good at delegating and INSTEAD just continue to do it all (and more???).

The amazing benefit would really be helpful to you if you were able to arrange your family better (and good luck with this ...
). The fact that taking your dog OUT of the house for long walks (exercise for YOU) and bonding with the dog (quiet time and calming time for YOU) and the ability to remove yourself from alot of the normal stressors that are in the house by doing this (zen time for YOU!)................. will only be a benefit to your entire family and I bet you'll see amazing results in a positive way in your dog.

Women I know with families have alot of trouble drawing the line to their family and making time for themselves. Feel selfish for themselves and alot of the time the family makes it worse cause they are used to being taken care of. So to suddenly have more duties cause mom can't do it all can cause a shortterm revolt (what? I can't watch tv/play on the computer I have to dust/vacuum/take out the trash!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).

I also know that I now pick and choose on what my house/yard is like. So maybe I do see dust on the coffee table? But is that more important than MY health? And maybe my son doesn't fold the laundry right, or my husband put the dishes away properly, BUT is them being perfect the main goal? Or the fact they are doing their best (so it's not as well as me
) but the stuff is clean and put away. And I'm now out of the house to get my brain together with the dog for the me time so I can be a better mom when I do get back home.

Good luck with your dog, and good luck with your mom. ASK FOR HELP and make time for yourself.
 

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Originally Posted By: MaggieRoseLee
Obedience?

On a total side note, when did you take classes at k9campus with Chris and Raisin
I adore Raisin (chris is really nice too!)
Do you still take classes there? just obedience or Agility too?



Rah used to display some of this behavior too, and his was being underexercised. I simply cannot do all the off leash exercise during the week due to my work schedule, unfortunately, and the daylight hours - I don't feel safe hiking in the dark, even with two dobes, so most of the off leash exercise that is flat out running is done towards the end of the week, but I can still get a pretty tired dog with obedience, fetch, and in the yard. For my dog, mental stimulation is actually more than anything else!
 
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