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Compulsive Behavior

Description: A neural condition in which a dog behaves in excess and inappropriately, to the point of interference with normal behavior. Compulsive behavior can be extremely lengthy (and irritating), lead to injuries on her body, and strained relationships (between you and your dog). It may seem like your dog has lost the ability to behave normally. Compulsive behavior seems to be caused by large amounts of stress and anxiety. This stress and anxiety can be caused by many situations, like moving to a new location or being alone for a long period of time.

What to Watch For: It will appear that your dog is unable to control her actions; she will do things repetitively and frequently. Running around in circles, pacing, and doing excessive amounts of tail chasing and fence running are signs of compulsive behavior.

Treatment: A way to treat this is to desensitize the situation. You will need to ignore your dog and also avoid punishment; it can worsen her anxiety. Training her to relax on command will help, and having a routine (feeding and exercising) can help reduce stress. Interaction with other dogs may help as well. Currently there are no medications that completely cure compulsive behavior, but some pet owners have given their pets antidepressants and have had success.

Breeds prone to Compulsive Behavior include:

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