Dog OCD


My family and I have talked a lot about what to do with Kelly.  Unfortunately, we were told by the vet that her two most annoying behaviors “pulling at the chain link” and “jumping” are not controllable behaviors, they are a form of Dog Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

It isn’t something we are going to break her of, even with a shock collar.  I know because I specifically asked the vet about it.  She told me chances of her ever stopping either are slim and that it is seen fairly regularly in dogs that were neglected.  And we consider Kelly a rescue pup even though we got her from a private citizen not a rescue group.

For those newer to my blog, I’ll back up a bit.  September 2017, we decided to get our adult female dog a puppy.  Lola our German Shepherd/Collie mix would cry when she would see other dogs playing.  She was lonely, regardless of the fact that we heaped attention on her.  So Lola got a puppy.

Someone I know who lives near St. Louis, Missouri sent me a Facebook advertisement for a puppy and told me that this puppy really needed a good home.  She was theoretically an 8 month old Australian Shepherd pup.  I made arrangements to met the woman and the puppy.

Kelly was many things, but she wasn’t an 8 month old Australian Shepherd.  She was maybe a 3 month old beagle mix puppy.  Despite her young age, Kelly had already been attacked by another dog and had the scar from the encounter to prove it.  She was bloated.  And she latched on to Lola in the short half hour we were there.

They had gotten Kelly to breed with one of their 4 male dogs.  But Kelly wasn’t sexually maturing fast enough, so they wanted to get rid of her.  When we got her home, Kelly was food aggressive, which made me wonder if I had made the right decision and she had never seen a vet.  Hell, her first car ride had been the trip to my house.

We got her to our place around dark and realized Kelly didn’t know how to play.  Lola wanted to play chase, but Kelly wouldn’t chase her and when Lola tried to chase Kelly, Kelly hid from her.  Also, if we threw a ball or other toy, Kelly wouldn’t go get it.  It actually took a few days before she even pulled a plushie out of doggie toybox we had for Lola and she only did that with Lola’s encouragement.  Lola kept bringing her toys, probably wanting to play tug of war, but Kelly would just stare at them.  I thought playing was instinctual for puppies, so this lack of playfulness shocked me.

By the end of the first week, Kelly’s limp was nearly gone, she had learned to play chase, and she’d learned to play fetch, she was no longer food aggressive, and she had lost her first puppy tooth.  Eight months my ass.  I am not an expert on dogs, but I’ve owned both Beagles and Border Collies in the past and I was positive Kelly was a beagle mix.  The vet confirmed it at her first appointment, Kelly was definitely a beagle/border collie mix, with who knew what else in her.  No one in my family cared that Kelly was basically a mutt.  What mattered was that she had come to a good home.

The vet confirmed she had worms… Something I had expected from her “swallowed a basketball” appearance.  So we dewormed her and she quickly became a part of the family.  I was pretty sure she had been crated most of her life.  She wouldn’t wake us up at night to let her out and she often hid under the futon in the upstairs office to sleep.  The only thing the people we got her from seemed to be honest about was that Kelly was good with kids, which was good because Jude the Great Nephew is a dog lover.

We’re pretty sure the first 12 weeks of Kelly’s life were not good ones.  My vet is also of that mindset and called to report the people we got her from for neglect.  I don’t know if anything happened to them or not, but Kelly has a good home now and that’s what counts.

So, yeah, we aren’t surprised there’s some mental scars left from her previous home.  Although, I didn’t know dogs could have compulsive behaviors that they just can’t help but do.  And it seems wrong to continue trying to train Kelly with a shock collar if it isn’t something she can unlearn.  Instead, we are going to let her age a little and see if age calms her down some and if not, then there is always better living through chemistry.  The vet says Kelly is healthy and would probably adjust fine to medication.  But Lola’s already on Prozac, I’m not sure I want to put both my dogs on it.  I will say though that dog Prozac is incredibly cheap.

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