Obsessive Dog Behavior

Some canines may be affected by obsessive dog behavior, and this may be due to different factors such as stress or a medical problem. The dog's obsessive behavior may be directed toward himself or other objects in the home.

Types of Obsessive Dog Behavior

Obsessive dog behavior may be manifested in a number of ways including:

  • Excessive chewing of the skin or other objects (i.e., carpets or shoes)
  • Excessive licking or scratching to the point of causing wounds and secondary infections
  • Barking or growling at people or inanimate objects
  • Digging in the yard
  • Jumping on people or objects
  • Chasing the tail in circles
  • Attacking furniture or other objects

These behaviors can be observed as more frequent than before and may have a sudden or gradual onset.

Causes of Obsessive Behavior in Dogs

Obsessive dog behavior may be caused by a wide range of reasons:

  • Boredom, which makes the dog develop different unhealthy behaviors
  • Lack of sufficient exercise, as the dog needs to consume his extra energy
  • Stress, which can be triggered by different causes
  • Separation anxiety
  • A medical problem
  • Genetics, as some dog breeds are known to chase their tails

The cause of obsessive behavior in your pet should be discovered, so that you know what type of treatment to apply and how to deal with the situation.

Dealing with Obsessive Dog Behavior

If the obsessive behavior is not genetic, the behavior can be corrected. The way you deal with your dog with obsessive behavior will depend on the factors causing this behavior.

Getting your dog to exercise on a regular basis to spend all his extra energy can help eliminate the obsessive behavior, provided your dog is bored or has extra energy to spend. You should make sure your dog focuses his energy on fun activities and not on chewing on his tail or your couch. If you don't have time to play with your dog as much as he needs, you may opt for a dog daycare or a pet sitter.

If your dog is stressed, the source of stress should be eliminated. The source of stress can be anything ranging from a new baby to an object the dog doesn't like. While you cannot get rid of a new baby, you can always get the dog used to the idea of a new family member. You can also offer more support and affection to the dog, so that he doesn't feel jealous or alone. In extreme cases, stress can be managed with drug therapy. Separation anxiety may also be treated with therapy and by offering the dog more time and affection.

If you suspect your pet has a medical problem and the obsessive behavior cannot be explained in any other way, you need to get a few tests done. Your pet may be in pain and this can lead to the development of an obsessive dog behavior.