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weather causing repetative behavour....again

oes forever
February 13th, 2009, 04:17 AM
i have an old english sheepdog, he is 2. we have had him for just over a year now. when we first got him he was somwhat wild, pacing up and down constantly looking up ant the ceiling and crying. this was bad enough, but with patience(hell of alot of it) we got him through it by distracting him mainly. his previous home, he was tied up on a short thick chain with no bed or shelter kept in a small yard built in brick. i think this is to do with the looking up bit as all he could see would be above the brick.
anyway. the weather makes him worse. if it rains, he runs round crying, pacing oh and the skidding at the end, he likes the skidding at each end of the living room! we setteled him down somewhat with the rain. i would go out walking in it all the time with toys trying to get him to see it could be fun and not to be scared of it. he settled down to an extent unless there was a storm.
then he started chasing dust! when the sun shone down on the dust that he was creating with his pacing he would jump and grab it, some say this is cute as they only see a few minutes of it, but hour after hour is certinally not cute! tried the distraction thing, no joy, he grabs the toy/treat and carries on. tried telling him off, works for about a minute. he stops when the sun goes in and luckily i live in england so we dont get too much sun!
and now its the snow, we dont get too much of it, but he just wont listen at all, no distractions, walking in the snow, he just goes wild pulling me, jumping up really high trying to catch them and thats with a canny collar on. if i let him in the garden he just runs round and round crying.
can you think of any other ways i could try to stop him, short of pinning him against the wall and threatening him. he may be big but his just a big baby!
on a normal average cloudy day his fine, really dosile, obient, cant be bothered about nothing. oh and he also lives with a stffy cross just just lies there looking at him as if to say you dumb idiot!
he is driving me crazy now, its like going back to the begining and i dont think i can put up with it again and be patient
please help!!:shrug:

February 13th, 2009, 11:13 AM
Oh your poor dog. I am not doggy smart so I don't have any suggestions, but I would think the issues are due to the dog not having any protection from the weather, not the brick wall. He was probably terrified for his first year of life :cry:.

Another member who has experience with dogs should be able to give you some advice.

February 13th, 2009, 12:03 PM
This sounds like a sort of obession fixation kind of thing. I would imagine that living that long with no real external stimuli other than weather phenomenon would be hard on any dog psycologically. Can you imagine how scary it would be to be in a thunderstorm where the noise is echoing off the walls and you can't even get out of it??

The fear response to storms can be worked on with gradual desensitizing. Chasing the dust motes and snowflakes is the obsessive part. I would imagine he developed those habits out of boredom. Does he also become fascinated with reflections from the sun? I would distract him quickly from these kinds of behaviors with a sharp 'no' and then leave the room. If you have consistently given him lots of attention during these episodes, you could be unconsciously rewarding the behavior and thereby enforcing it.

I would also increase his exercise - on average, dogs need at least 1/2 hour of tongue dragging exercise daily.

February 13th, 2009, 04:24 PM
it sounds like it could be obsessive compulsive disorder just like in people a lot of animals are prone to it and it could cause some behavioural problems that you might find hard to deal with without specialist's help

oes forever
February 14th, 2009, 02:36 PM
i do think its a compulsive disorder, i dont fuss him when he is going mad. but i will take him out of the room and reasure him, but only when he calms down, and he gets about a 3 hours in total walks a day.
but what i want to know is how to stop it!!! short of threatening him face to face i am at my wits end. i end up just leaving the house it can be that bad!
we were told originally not to give him any attention as it would be rewarding, i also tried the distraction theory with toys. i do shout no till i am blue in the face, he goes to obidience training so knows the word well.
and he dous also chase refections.
and i do think it has been a game in the past to pass the time away, he spent some time at a scrap yard so i thought that the sound of the rain may of eccoed and that may remind him.
i can imagine him being a little pup outside all alone, in all weathers, covered in poo, they didnt feed him properly but through a window as they couldnt get into the yard, so you can imagine the state he must of been in. the rspca couldnt get into the yard through the gate or back door, they had to climb over then break out. i feel for his past with all my heart, just glad his found a good home now to make his life good again. he now lives with a dog groomer and a butcher, how good does a dogs life get?

February 14th, 2009, 04:17 PM
Although I don't know what exactly is used, I do know that there are some meds that will help control obsessive-compulsive behaviors. They might not work 100% but it sounds like any improvement would be welcome. Have you asked your vet if they have any suggestions?

oes forever
February 14th, 2009, 04:25 PM
no, not asked the vets, and dont really want medication to solve the problem, really dont want a sedated dog. i was thinking more on the lines of behavour training and how to use it. i did try the water spray.....but he like that and it excites him!
so glad i live somewhere wet reather than cold, but then again the sun makes the dust shine, so its a loosing battle.
at obidience training when we first started and he was barking at all the dogs as he had not really seen any before, after all the shouting no... louder then him (have you ever heard an old english sheepdog bark!) we resorted to grabing him by the sides of the face, looking him in the eyes and screaming no.... which at the time made no difference as a fly flew by (he likes anything that distracts him!)
he really is ok , dosile even, when its not sunny, raining or snowing ive battled with him for over a year, and i thought i was winning now i am back to the beginning!!!

February 14th, 2009, 04:32 PM
Yelling 'no' won't get the idea across if it's a compulsive behavior--he's compelled to do it by its very nature. :shrug: It's a psychological condition if it's OCD. I don't believe the meds have much of a sedative effect. I know a dog on the meds and it seems normal, if still a little obsessed at times :o

oes forever
February 14th, 2009, 04:36 PM
ok so if no dousnt work, and i dont want to use meds. what other ideas are there, there must be lots,

February 17th, 2009, 01:21 PM
If you already tell him no - and it doesn't distract him, then screaming it over and over isn't going to do any good. He's probably so into the zone of obsession that he's not even hearing you or hears you but is unable to respond. Have you ever found anything that will get his attention when he's in the throes of the obsession?

When I say exercise, I don't mean just walks - unless your version of walks means starting at a walk and progressing to jog, and then to an all out run. A walk is just a warm up for real exercise to a dog. You could try putting a pack on the dog, making him carry some extra weight during the walks so that he has to work harder.

Have you thought about contacting a behaviorist? Short of that, if nothing distracts him from the behavior, then I'd suggest moving to a room that has no windows when you know the sun is going to come out. Perhaps if you can remove the cause of the obsession for a long enough time, it won't have such a strong hold on him. Or at least try to block his view of the reflection or the dust motes, etc.

So sad about his past though. And to think that there are people who believe that it doesn't hurt a dog to be penned up 24/7 with no human interaction. :sad::frustrated::sad: