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Incessant tail-chasing and excessive licking may seem like cute pet behavior, but it could actually be due to a more troubling obsessive disorder. Obsessive compulsive disorders can set in dogs anywhere between one or two years of age. If you notice any obsessive behavior in your dog, then you want to discourage it and get to the bottom of what is causing it at the earliest, so the obsessive behavior can be completely controlled and eliminated.
Why do dogs show obsessive behavior?
Common obsessive behaviors that dogs show include fly snapping, tail or shadow chasing, excessive barking, and persistent licking to name a few. If your dog shows one or more of these obsessive behaviors, then you want to tackle it at the earliest, before it is deeply ingrained and becomes severe. Dogs show these obsessive behavioral traits when they are stressed, frustrated or unhappy, and you want to address it at the earliest so they are not distressed.
Often, obsessive behavior is a result of anxiety. If your dog is confined and engages in little to no exercise, then anxiety is probably how they dispel this pent up energy, which, in turn, shows in the form of obsessive behavior and actions. It is not uncommon for dogs that are kept in confinement to exhibit obsessive behavior, as they are not able to enjoy what would qualify as a normal lifestyle. Sometimes, being in a new environment or changes and unpredictable situations may be causing your pet to show obsessive behavior. Conflicts in social situations, whether it is being separated from another canine pal or competition from a new pet at home, could be causing your pet to show obsessive behavior.
Treating obsessive behavior
Make sure that your pet enjoys a well-balanced diet and structured lifestyle. You want to have a routine in place with designated time for exercise, food, play, and sleep. If you notice any external factors that are causing your dog to get stressed, put a stop to them immediately. While you want to curb your dog from engaging in the obsessive behavior, you do not want to resort to any form of physical or verbal abuse, or punishment, as this will only make the stress worse. Exercise and training almost always help, as it helps release endorphins which have calming effects.
If the obsessive behavior is resulting in severe acts of self-mutilation, then a vet visit may be in the calling. The vet will diagnose the condition and see if your pet needs anti-anxiety medication, sedation or other forms of therapy to bring the condition under control. Sometimes, it could be health conditions like thyroid problems that could be causing your dog to show OCD behavior.