Dog Forum banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,800 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So I've come to the conclusion that Delilah's poor behavior in agility class is related to her prey drive and manifests itself in obsessive hunting behavior. She is always looking under furniture and whining, trying to get to... something. Sometimes it's obvious like clumps of dust or hair. Sometimes I have no idea what she's trying to get- it might be light or shadows or spots on the ground.

I got a video of her demonstrating this behavior under a chair while we were moving. She does this SAME EXACT thing during agility class when I let her off leash, and once she gets in this "hunting" mode, she can't pay attention to anything else.

She obsesses over small animals, water (hoses, fountains, rivers, waves), dust, hair, light and shadows, dandelions, garbage and leaves blowing in the wind. If she is being restrained by a leash or being held, she will start screaming and lunging.

Does anyone have experience with extreme behavior like this? How do you break their focus? There is nothing I can do to be more interesting or motivating when I have to compete with these things she is convinced must die. I've tried toys because she really loves tennis balls, and cat toys with feathers, but not even those are reinforcing enough.

Here's the video with the dust. This is my main concern because this is what distracts her from training.



These videos are with water and snow. Just more examples of her obsessive behavior, and her screaming!



 

·
Registered
Joined
·
442 Posts
Her behavior reminds me of the sort of obsessive behavior dogs can show toward light/shadows after being exercised with a laser pointer. You might search for more information dog sterotypy, repetitive behavior, or compulsive disorder/OCD, and I'm sure there are loads of similar videos on youtube under the same descriptions. I know of a few people who have been able to stop the behavior with redirecting to a more "real" hunting activity, +/- corrections for the obsessive behavior, +/- behavioral medications. You might consider trying to find a more natural/tangible outlet for her hunt drive, maybe see if there's anyone in your area doing ratting (may be best since she can actually catch the prey?), earthdog, barnhunt or maybe nosework/scent detection work. No guarantee that it will make it better, and it could make it worse, but that's probably the direction I'd go first if my dog were doing similar things, as I'd prefer to avoid behavioral meds if possible. Barring any of those things, maybe try a flirtpole with a "real" hide or fur on it and see if you can wear her down enough that she doesn't need to go looking for stuff to chase.

It wouldn't be a bad idea to mention it to your vet if you haven't previously, they may have other suggestions, or may be able to refer you to a veterinary behaviorist (or neurologist?) if you want a more scientific approach. There's been a fair amount of research done on these sort of behaviors, as they are common in some breeds, and they would have the best and most complete information available. Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
662 Posts
I have to agree with @busannie, it does look like OCD/compulsive issues which would likely be neurological. Prey drive is not a bad thing when that focus and drive is directed towards working with the handler. My advice would be to start doing the five core exercises (which no one here seems to like), especially, pushing and the collecting exercise which helps connection with the dog's rear end (clearly in the video you can see the disconnect from front (big brain) to rear end (gut/little brain). Tug and push of war also would be something I would do with a dog displaying the behaviors that yours has.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,800 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
@busannie We actually just signed up for barn hunt! I think she'll be great at it. But there aren't any active clubs in VT so I'm probably only going to be able to do it every few months in NH or NY. We go hiking at least once a week and she's able to track and chase small animals. So I'm not sure if it helps or hurts- it certainly hasn't gotten much better though.
We're due for her vaccines in July, so I plan on mentioning it to my vet then.
@Gnostic Dog I don't think anyone has a problem with the exercises- the theory behind NDT and some of the assertions the NDT method makes are anti-scientific and I think that's what people have a problem with.
But anyways, I'd be open to trying the exercises if you know of any videos on how to train them and use them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
662 Posts
We're due for her vaccines in July, so I plan on mentioning it to my vet then.
@Gnostic Dog I don't think anyone has a problem with the exercises- the theory behind NDT and some of the assertions the NDT method makes are anti-scientific and I think that's what people have a problem with.
But anyways, I'd be open to trying the exercises if you know of any videos on how to train them and use them.
First, I would hold off on the vaccines, especially if your dog indeed has some kind of neurological issue. Why not have titres done instead? Any result above a 1 (if your vet uses Vaccicheck) is considered immune. It looks like your dog is under two years of age, so there really is no need to re-vaccinate given Dr Ron Schultz has established the viral vaccines last at least 5 to 7 years (the bacterial ones don't work at all because you cannot become immune to a bacterium that keeps mutating).

As for the theory behind NDT, it most certainly is scientific, it is the only method that, in fact, has a theory. Behaviorism certainly has no theory, and dominance training has a theory based on fantasy.

That out of the way, here is an article on the five core exercises in relation to dogs with PTSD, and here are videos of the exercises.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,800 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
First, I would hold off on the vaccines, especially if your dog indeed has some kind of neurological issue. Why not have titres done instead? Any result above a 1 (if your vet uses Vaccicheck) is considered immune. It looks like your dog is under two years of age, so there really is no need to re-vaccinate given Dr Ron Schultz has established the viral vaccines last at least 5 to 7 years (the bacterial ones don't work at all because you cannot become immune to a bacterium that keeps mutating).

As for the theory behind NDT, it most certainly is scientific, it is the only method that, in fact, has a theory. Behaviorism certainly has no theory, and dominance training has a theory based on fantasy.

That out of the way, here is an article on the five core exercises in relation to dogs with PTSD, and here are videos of the exercises.
Behaviorism... learning theory is literally a theory. We will have to agree to disagree about the theories then.

The pushing video was pretty good.
I don't understand collecting- it looks like you're just waving your hand around until the dog goes into a down.
Tug- we play tug a lot and she's still like this so I don't know what that's supposed to do other than be a reinforcer or put her into a state of arousal.

But anyways, how would I use those? Whenever she starts obsessing I just do one of those things with her instead? The article doesn't tell me anything- it just looks like a lot of words with definitions he made up.

About vaccinations- she most definitely needs her rabies vax. I'm not sure what else she is due for in July but depending on what it is I might titer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
662 Posts
Behaviorism... learning theory is literally a theory. We will have to agree to disagree about the theories then.
How does behaviorism work? Through reinforcement, how does reinforcement work, what is the theory behind it?

The pushing video was pretty good.
I don't understand collecting- it looks like you're just waving your hand around until the dog goes into a down.
Tug- we play tug a lot and she's still like this so I don't know what that's supposed to do other than be a reinforcer or put her into a state of arousal
.

Pushing IMO is one of the most important exercises you can do with your dog. As I have said numerous times, pushing alone stopped my dog pulling on the leash, and reactivity to dogs, cyclists, skateboarders, strollers, joggers, etc. If you only have time to do one exercise, make it pushing.

The collecting exercise will relax a dog, especially its hind end. In a nutshell, you place some tasty tidbits in your hand, then wave it around the dog's head as if your hand were a wounded bird. Go from right to left and back again, pushing slightly past the dog's line of sight so he's looking from side to side. Then you add another move, where you start making the "wounded bird" get closer to the ground.

When the dog finally settles back on her haunches, you let her eat the food from your hand.


But anyways, how would I use those? Whenever she starts obsessing I just do one of those things with her instead? The article doesn't tell me anything- it just looks like a lot of words with definitions he made up.
Feed her all her meals via pushing. Or at least when you can. She won't have a clue at first what is required of her, but persist and she will eventually get it, and will become a very enthusiastic pusher. I guarantee you will see improvements in her behaviors. As for the collecting exercise, do it on your walks. I would also start massaging her to help relax her body.

About vaccinations- she most definitely needs her rabies vax. I'm not sure what else she is due for in July but depending on what it is I might titer.
I hope you do decide to titre because a less than two-year-old dog, certainly doesn't need to be re-vaccinated with the core vaccines if already fully vaccinated as a puppy. Too bad she needs a rabies vax, do you not do three-year rabies?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,177 Posts
I agree with busannie. I don't know if its the exact same thing with Delilah, but if I remember correctly things like ocd are more known in certain breeds. It might help to look into a trainer or behaviorist that works with dogs with ocd and compulsive habits. As well as maybe doing some research into doggy ocd and things like it see if it fits with how she acts.
Hopefully barn hunt will be a good outlet for her. Maybe a flirt pole would be worth it in the mean time to see if activities along those lines seem to help.
Do you think in some cases its because she's hyper focusing on something? Also just a thought, but have you tried a interrupting noise and then moving in front of her (maybe with a high value treat) to hopefully break her focus?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,800 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
How does behaviorism work? Through reinforcement, how does reinforcement work, what is the theory behind it?
"A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through the scientific method and repeatedly tested and confirmed through observation and experimentation."

Learning theory (which doesn't just include operant and pavlovian conditioning, but a whole myriad of ideas including observational learning, social learning, discriminatory learning, skill acquisition, problem solving, motivation, etc) has been tested by scientists since the 19th century and continues to be researched with new information being discovered to this very day.

I'm talking about the scientific method here. Peer reviewed research. That sort of thing. The scientific community accepts learning theory as a valid theory.


Pushing IMO is one of the most important exercises you can do with your dog. As I have said numerous times, pushing alone stopped my dog pulling on the leash, and reactivity to dogs, cyclists, skateboarders, strollers, joggers, etc. If you only have time to do one exercise, make it pushing.

The collecting exercise will relax a dog, especially its hind end. In a nutshell, you place some tasty tidbits in your hand, then wave it around the dog's head as if your hand were a wounded bird. Go from right to left and back again, pushing slightly past the dog's line of sight so he's looking from side to side. Then you add another move, where you start making the "wounded bird" get closer to the ground.

When the dog finally settles back on her haunches, you let her eat the food from your hand.




Feed her all her meals via pushing. Or at least when you can. She won't have a clue at first what is required of her, but persist and she will eventually get it, and will become a very enthusiastic pusher. I guarantee you will see improvements in her behaviors. As for the collecting exercise, do it on your walks. I would also start massaging her to help relax her body.



I hope you do decide to titre because a less than two-year-old dog, certainly doesn't need to be re-vaccinated with the core vaccines if already fully vaccinated as a puppy. Too bad she needs a rabies vax, do you not do three-year rabies?
I will try these exercises and see if there's any improvement. Thank you for the information!

I got Delilah less than a year ago- the rescue vaccinated her.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,800 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
I agree with busannie. I don't know if its the exact same thing with Delilah, but if I remember correctly things like ocd are more known in certain breeds. It might help to look into a trainer or behaviorist that works with dogs with ocd and compulsive habits. As well as maybe doing some research into doggy ocd and things like it see if it fits with how she acts.
Hopefully barn hunt will be a good outlet for her. Maybe a flirt pole would be worth it in the mean time to see if activities along those lines seem to help.
Do you think in some cases its because she's hyper focusing on something? Also just a thought, but have you tried a interrupting noise and then moving in front of her (maybe with a high value treat) to hopefully break her focus?
What do you mean hyper focusing- like, she's hyper focusing on the dust/light/water/whatever she's obsessing over if that's what you mean?

Sometimes I can interrupt her, sometimes she ignores me. She ALWAYS ignores me in two situations: at agility class and if there is water involved (waves, hose, etc). If I'm able to interrupt her, like if she's chasing dust at home, if I don't give her something else to do or keep her occupied, she goes right back to chasing it.






I found two videos about training dogs with OCD. Neither of them were really "positive" training- funny, one's an old "It's Me or the Dog" episode. The video's not online anymore but basically it was a lot of interrupting/punishing the behavior with loud noise.

The other one is by Tyler Muto, not a positive trainer, but I think there are some good ideas here. The problem is, we do some form of obedience, agility, and/or "relaxation" training every day, and we do the search thing already (with easter eggs :D ) maybe a couple days a week. Maybe I should try it every day?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,177 Posts
I mean in the sense that she gets so focused on something that she kind of tunes other things out. But after looking at your videos again I think I might be more leaning towards the obsessive end. I couldn't really find any videos either.
Here's the petmd article on doggy ocd that might be helpful Dog Compulsive Disorder | OCD in Dogs | Strange Dog Behavior | petMD
Something else that might be worth looking into is hyperkinetic/hyperactive dogs (its kind of like doggy adhd from what I can tell).

I'm not really sure if her breed is predisposed for any obsessive behavior since I couldn't really find any information, but maybe you could try contacting a breeder to see if they know if her breed has any instances of it or if she's more a outlier. Hopefully your vet will be able to steer you in the right direction when you ask.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
662 Posts
"A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through the scientific method and repeatedly tested and confirmed through observation and experimentation."

Learning theory (which doesn't just include operant and pavlovian conditioning, but a whole myriad of ideas including observational learning, social learning, discriminatory learning, skill acquisition, problem solving, motivation, etc) has been tested by scientists since the 19th century and continues to be researched with new information being discovered to this very day.

I'm talking about the scientific method here. Peer reviewed research. That sort of thing. The scientific community accepts learning theory as a valid theory.
Behaviorism conflates the WHY with the HOW and provides a thought-centric model of behavior, while NDT uses an immediate moment manner of analysis. When you probe behavioral interpretation deeply enough, you find that it requires human rationales to hold it together; that the motives of animals are indistinguishable from human behavior. You also find a materialist, nihilistic interpretation that animals act and learn according to the material consequences of their actions. I think most here would agree that the neurological hardware of dogs isn't 100% identical to humans, so therefore, we cannot conclude that dogs think in any way comparable to humans.

Just because there is scientific consensus, that doesn't mean that the behaviorists are right or that it is a valid theory.




I will try these exercises and see if there's any improvement. Thank you for the information!

I got Delilah less than a year ago- the rescue vaccinated her.[/QUOTE]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,800 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Regardless of whether or not you think learning theory is valid, the point is that it is scientific and NDT is not, nor has NDT been studied in a way that complies with the scientific method. If there have been peer reviewed studies on it, please enlighten me. Otherwise, there is no way you can claim that it is more scientific, or even as scientific, as learning theory.

Also, psychologists study animals more often than humans; a lot of learning theory comes from studies on mice, rats, pigeons, dogs, cats, and non human primates. It's not like a scientist says "I think animals learn this way because this is how humans learn." A LOT of research has gone into this theory and the results are consistent across species.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
662 Posts
Regardless of whether or not you think learning theory is valid, the point is that it is scientific and NDT is not, nor has NDT been studied in a way that complies with the scientific method. If there have been peer reviewed studies on it, please enlighten me. Otherwise, there is no way you can claim that it is more scientific, or even as scientific, as learning theory.

Also, psychologists study animals more often than humans; a lot of learning theory comes from studies on mice, rats, pigeons, dogs, cats, and non human primates. It's not like a scientist says "I think animals learn this way because this is how humans learn." A LOT of research has gone into this theory and the results are consistent across species.
NDT is absolutely scientific, in fact, it is based on much better and more current science than behaviorism. Science is a pyramid, it begins with mathematics at the base, as the foundation for all science, then the next layer is physics, followed by chemistry, above that biology and at the capstone is psychology. The problem is behaviourism is based on outdated science, mathematics and physics have moved on, as has chemistry, but biology and psychology is still in the dark ages and base their "science" on the materialism of Newtonian physics.

It doesn't matter how much research has gone into a theory if it is based on false science.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,800 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
NDT is absolutely scientific, in fact, it is based on much better and more current science than behaviorism. Science is a pyramid, it begins with mathematics at the base, as the foundation for all science, then the next layer is physics, followed by chemistry, above that biology and at the capstone is psychology. The problem is behaviourism is based on outdated science, mathematics and physics have moved on, as has chemistry, but biology and psychology is still in the dark ages and base their "science" on the materialism of Newtonian physics.

It doesn't matter how much research has gone into a theory if it is based on false science.
That's... simply not true.







ANYWAYS

I brought Delilah to the vet yesterday and asked about OCD and showed him the videos. We actually went because I thought she was dying of bloat, but she pulled a classic Delilah and was fine by the time we got to the clinic.

He said the video "just looked like her being her" and wasn't concerned. And I told him she does that all the time and it's interfering with her training and driving me and my bf crazy. He gave us some natural calming chews for her. I'm going to try those and continue with exercise and training and see if that helps at all. If not, I think we're going to have to talk to a behaviorist. I don't think my vet really knows much about behavior or mental disorders in dogs.
@Sabina88 I posted in a Toy Fox Terrier group on facebook to see if there were any breeders or breed experts that knew if they were predisposed to anything. No one really seemed to know. I got a lot of weird answers though like "A mark of high intelligence," and "does she *have* to do agility" (as if the problem is we can't do agility... the problem is that my dog's nuts!) and "LOL, tft's are very determined and headstrong, and stubborn." Wow, what experts. I got a few helpful answers too though. A few people recommended Prozac so I might look into that.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top