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I have a 45 lb female dog that has some OCD behavior that is becoming debilitating to both me and her and want some ideas on how to combat it.

Let's see if I can paint a full picture for you. I have four dogs, all rescue. She's 4.5 years old and I've had her for 4. She came from an abused home and as a result does not like "new" things, and will not be cuddly. She's so very sweet, so those rare moments she comes to you for affections is very endearing. However, when she does come to you for attention, she quickly gets her fill and has to leave shortly thereafter as she can only stand getting so much attention (although she LOVES it when she gets it).

She also has this VERY strong OCD about being left out. I used to kid about her being a new breed of dog: the METOO. I treat all my dogs the same. They all get treats when one does, toys together, etc... However, she takes it to the extreme...she doesn't want any toy that is given to her or one she pics out....she wants what every other dog has and will go around trying to get them. Everything has to be done for her as well as the other dogs, no matter what. For instance, she HATES the rain, but when one of the dogs has to go out to do their business when it rains, she has to go, but then refuses to go in the rain. However, he OCD kicks in and she won't let up about not having gone out. She will remember and because she hasn't checked off the ME TOO column about not going out, as soon as it stops raining, she has to go out, even if it is to walk out, turn around, and come back inside. It's like Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory about having to knock three times. If it's not completed, it's mentally taxing to him. The same goes for the dog.


Now, let's pretend that I'm not home. She's home with other family members or a sitter. She will periodically ask to go outside on her own, or go when called to go outside with no issue. She will act like you would normally expect a well behaved dog to. However, enter me. If I'm home, if any other family member attempts to take her out, she will act like that member is going to take her around the corner for a beating and she knows it. She'll run to me and hide behind me scared until the family member stops trying to entice her. If I'm sitting down, she literally will climb/jump on me and try to sit on my shoulders and hide in an attempt to refuse to go out with anyone else until they relent.

However, once the family member stops asking and takes the other dogs out, her METOO OCD issue kicks in and she literally freaks out because she's not outside too. I don't mean upset as you might think as most dogs would be....I mean it is mentally hurtful to her (imagine the ear bug scene is Wrath of Khan...not exaggerating by much when describing how she is). If I do not then take her out myself, she will have all sorts of anxiety issues, and she won't forget.

We have attempted to resolve this several ways. One is listed above in that just having family member leave her behind. However, if you've ever known anyone with a true anxiety problem you know how that escalates. The exact same thing happens to her. If I were to let it continue to grow, she would run around the house scared of everything, acting like she's expecting a beating at any moment (stooped posture, tail between the legs, skittish at shadows and noises, slithering around corners, scared look in her eyes about impending doom, increased panting, dilated pupils, increased heart rate, etc....)

We've also tried having me walk her out and then coming back in soon thereafter after she has become engaged in whatever activities she chooses. However, as soon as she realizes that I am not there, she stops what's she's doing and want to come back in. She will not return to her activity or engage in another activity with another family member outside until I return. If she is let back in, she starts with the behavior described above as if she was left inside to begin with.

Another way we have attempted to overcome it is to have a family member simply pick her up (any attempt to entice, command, lure, etc... only gets the behavior above) and take her outside. About half the time, she will enjoy her time out with the others, the other half she simply wants to come back no. However, if we do that, no matter how much time she spends outside, because it wasn't me that took her out, she couldn't put her mental check mark off on the completed task and I have to take her outside. If I refuse she starts getting anxious like I described above.

Now, if the behavior was simply unruly, boisterous, or demanding (like when my big dog demands a treat from time to time), etc.... I can deal with that. With four boisterous dogs, you're bound to get that from time to time and I do not give into such behavior (after all, I'm the pack leader...), including from this same dog on other things. This is simply different. It's like an Anxiety induced OCD combo, which does not play pretty together. She has other OCD behaviors and it's her coping mechanism probably from being abused before we got her. We also do not try to change her for these OCD behaviors, as they are not destructive, and it makes her happy. [She is also a very happy dog here] This however, is becoming debilitating for both me and her as I have to stop what I'm doing to tend to her whenever a dog needs to go out, and if I do not, she goes into a panic attack and that obviously isn't good, especially since the panic attack spirals downward and becomes worse as time goes on.

Any insight would be most welcome.
 

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I'd suggest you to contact an animal behaviourist and let them evaluate the situation.
 
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