Obsessive-compulsive disorder in dogs (also called OCD) is a behavior that seems out of context, odd, and directed toward objects, be it the dog itself or an inanimate object such as a food dish, or wheeled things such as cars, bikes, or strollers.
OCD often manifests itself in dogs who are stressed, anxious, or bored, and can be a very maddening experience for the owner. These behaviors can often destroy items, yards, angry neighbors, and seemingly uncontrollable aggression. Obsessive digging, continuous biting at their own feet, barking at nothing, attacking inanimate objects, all are symptoms of OCD.
When OCD is caused by stress, it is important to get help from your veterinarian. A stressed dog is also a potentially dangerous dog. There are medicated therapies available to help your dog deal with stress.
In boredom cases (digging, barking, or tail-chasing) it is time to step up your dog's activity level. A tired dog is a content dog and not a compulsive pet. Get out and play more! Take long walks, look into Doggy Daycare, play fetch...you get the idea. By expanding your dog's energy on a safe, fun outlet, you not only ensure that your dog is happy, but you also increase your bond with your pet and reduce certain health risks, such as accidental ingestion of poison (if your dog is a destruction machine in the house) and obesity.
Separation anxiety is often a cause of OCD. How many owners have come home to destruction?
Compulsive disorders can also be part of your dog's genetic makeup. Certain breeds are predisposed to these behaviors, such as Dobermans, who suck on their skin; German Shepherds, who chase their tails; and English Bull Terriers, who have the odd habit of sticking their heads underneath objects and freezing in place. Strange, yes?
To learn more about OCD in dogs, make sure you understand your canine.
Introduction to Canine Mental Health