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One of the swafford Bc's is an obsessive spinner and barker. We have been using distraction and pet calm when she is crated to help ease the behavior there but, she also does it when she feels any pressure. I was sitting still today I know she knew I wanted her to come over so she was actually pressuring her self and easing and deepening the spinning.

 

What should we do? Is it better to stop the behavior or ignore it till she is ready to stop it? She is positively not deaf so this is a learned behavior from being caged tightly without exercise.

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I am not qualified to answer your question but will be looking forward to the more experienced answers. Wanted to tell you how grateful I am that there are people and rescues willing to spend the time and resources to give these poor dogs a second chance. I check another website daily to see how they are progressing. Grady has stolen my heart. His slow forgiveness of man, and his growing trust is truely inspiring. Just wanted you to know you get a great big THANK YOU.

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I would stop the spinning. This is an OCD thing and she won't decide to stop on her own. You will need to make her stop some how. I have read before that this is a very hard one to deal with and it never truly goes away and many times will have to be managed.

 

She probably needs a lot of mental exercise and physical activity but mental exercise is probably more important. Find that one thing she loves as a reward and use it to start building some confidence and teaching her how to deal with life. Maybe give her a kong with some yummy stuff frozen in it to help relieve the stress and boredom of life....

 

Thanks for helping with the Swafford mess.

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I'm clueless when it comes to actual help but am very interested in seeing other people's advice because I noticed 2 of the 15 Swafford BCs at BGWCHS had spinning behaviors.

 

Is this Gypsy, then? I know Lorri (the shelter director) was especially worried about her finding a placement because of her spinning. Thanks again for making room for some of these dogs.

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I'm clueless when it comes to actual help but am very interested in seeing other people's advice because I noticed 2 of the 15 Swafford BCs at BGWCHS had spinning behaviors.

 

Is this Gypsy, then? I know Lorri (the shelter director) was especially worried about her finding a placement because of her spinning. Thanks again for making room for some of these dogs.

 

 

Yes it's gypsy and she is otherwise a very nice dog but, the behavior puzzles me. Dave spins when he is excited and Gwen who was deaf spun more so to grasp her tail. Gwen really didnt notice me. when she did it it was like I was invisible.

 

I know Gypsy sees me and wants to join up/seek affection but, is afraid so she begins the spinning while outside. Today to observe the behavior I sat very still and she would approach and might be able to stroke her chin and then she would retreat and the spinning would weave from big to tight circles and then she would break move toward me and seek affection and then the cycle would start again.

 

I can carry her when I catch her with her leash and she isnt really stiff she allows attention.

 

Another interesting thing is thing is the dogs arent afraid of my dad but, they dont show him any notice. He's a real border collies type of man. They are very excited to see women. I really dont know who worked for swafford but, someone was as kind as was allowed to them.

 

The other 3 females keep running in and out of the house like they cant believe their good luck to be at a home again.

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I agree that this is an OCD behavior and you should try not to let her practice it. I would seriously consider getting her to a vet behaviorist. Medication may be very helpful in taking the edge off while you work on teaching her an incompatible (e.g., sit) behavior.

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I agree that this is an OCD behavior and you should try not to let her practice it. I would seriously consider getting her to a vet behaviorist. Medication may be very helpful in taking the edge off while you work on teaching her an incompatible (e.g., sit) behavior.

 

I'm going to try it and see if she knows sit. I know the red tri and the red merle do. They were hesitant like they were scanning their brains to remember but, they did it. She doesnt seem to know/ notice toys and food so I'm sure this will be slower for her. I'll try something super super high value tomorrow and see if she notices. Gyspy is one of the younger ones. It could be all she ever knew was a cage.

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I would try using a high value treat with a big smell which should help get her attention.

 

I think patience is going to be the key.

 

Along with practicing some basic obedience or possibly actually training it I would maybe try keeping her on a long line so if she starts spinning you can give the line a little tug to try and get her attention so she will stop. You could even try to teach her a place command. Teaching her that a certain item usually a blanket or dog bed is her safety place. Once she is taught it then you can take it out with you so she can go to her place if she is stressed.

 

When Tempe needs a break or is stressed she will usually crate herself so teaching a place command could help. I have never taught it so could not give direction on how to go about it.

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I would try using a high value treat with a big smell which should help get her attention.

 

Try either liver, baked in your oven and cut up or boiled chicken, put in a baggy and sprinkled with garlic powder and parmesan cheese. The smell on those two items is almost irresistible! Especially the chicken with cheese and garlic. That will smack her right in the face. Should get her attention.

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does she have a favorite way in which she spins? direction? I'd try to find a wieght like a leash to clip to her and leave it on her for a bit. Try and weight the side that she's not spinning into. Something to break the feeling that she is used to.

 

It's her way of relieving stress. something that makes it not feel the same mighth help her to keep her mind going forward instead of the only thing she's had to feel.

 

I had a foster way back when I first started working with dogs, she'd spin and run in circles. I figured out what was her favorite way to circle and made it difficult to do that. Like blocking the coffee table so she couldn't circle or placing something in her way to make her have to stop. It never went away but got better.

How bout some prozac while adjusting? Or something simular to let her relax a bit.

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FWIW, my dog spun insanely when I first brought him home. Like, stood on the living room rug, and just ran hard and fast in a tight circle. Crazy. I remember thinking, "Oh, what have I gotten myself into?"

 

But... this seemed to be directly related to having been contained for a long time in kennels or straight, narrow runs. I honestly think that the only time Buddy had played - for a long time, at least - it had been in tiny, confined spaces, where all the dogs could do was "chase" each other by spinning in circles. That was his wired-in "play" move.

 

The first few times I let Buddy off leash (deep in the woods, far from humans, dogs, cars), he would run straight away from me for about 15 feet, then spin and come straight back at me, hard and fast. It was like he didn't understand that he could move freely, in anything other than a circle or straight line.

 

At one point, I could almost see the lightbulb going off over his head: "Hey! I can go sideways if I want, and sniff stuff over there! I can go zig zag or backtrack or run ahead 50 feet!" Once he figured out that he had range of motion, he stopped with the weird stuff. And the only spinning that remains now is utterly joyful: when he sees a dog or human that he loooooves, he will do his old crazy spinning thing with playful body posture.

 

I know this is a different kind of spinning... less obsessive, more needs-based... but the dog was able to logically teach himself to play and move in a different way.

 

Mary

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I have a spinner who was raised completely normally--as in like all my other dogs. I have her sibling and her mother and am in regular contact with the owners of other littermates, and she is the only one who spins *obsessively*. She also has seizures, and I suspect in her case the two are related. She doesn't spin when she's working stock. My vet for now has her on fluoxetine (prozac) and I am trying to interrupt the behavior at least 60 percent of the time. I have another dog who runs circles obsessively and his behavior was the result of being left alone in a yard and this is what he came up with to entertain himself. The point is that OCD behaviors like spinning often have a basis in the management of the dog (ignored, caged or crated, etc.), but they can also be part of the dog's genetic makeup.

 

Anyway, I would second the vet behaviorist suggesting, because it's been my experience that changing the behavior of dogs who spin or circle can be very difficult, and even high-value treats/toys IME worked only for as long as the treat/toy was right there (e.g., if I played fetch with the circling dog, he didn't circle, but if he dropped the ball 10 ft away, in the few seconds it took me to go get the ball, he'd start circling again). I imagine that using a combination of medication and behavioral modification would have the greatest chance of success.

 

J.

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The point is that OCD behaviors like spinning often have a basis in the management of the dog (ignored, caged or crated, etc.), but they can also be part of the dog's genetic makeup.

 

Anyway, I would second the vet behaviorist suggesting, because it's been my experience that changing the behavior of dogs who spin or circle can be very difficult, and even high-value treats/toys IME worked only for as long as the treat/toy was right there (e.g., if I played fetch with the circling dog, he didn't circle, but if he dropped the ball 10 ft away, in the few seconds it took me to go get the ball, he'd start circling again). I imagine that using a combination of medication and behavioral modification would have the greatest chance of success.

 

I third this.

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Also, if the spinning is not genetic and is because of behavioral problems that developed due to stress from confinement, it can *still* change the brain's physical makeup, making it impossible to remedy with simple distraction. These behaviors are called stereotypies and the pathways involved in the drive for, and execution of the behavior will be reinforced and reinforced to the point that the dog may not be capable of stopping or healing the distorted pathyways without help (and sometimes ever).

 

It's weird, but the way you use your brain very much affects its structure. Meds may be able to mitigate the "primacy" of this pathway enough that you can work on building new pathways.

 

In any case, I also thank you for giving these poor dogs another chance.

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I worked with a couple of spinners from a hoarding case this summer at the shelter, and consulted someone about it. One was worse than the other. The one that stopped every so often I was able to click and treat for NOT spinning. The other was constant. I was told that this is a common problem in dogs from that situation. It begins when they have no stimulation and nothing to do. Is Gypsy only doing it when crated? If so, can you keep her in something larger, like an x-pen with toys in it?

 

Beyond that, I fourth the suggestion of a behaviorist. I was also told that many of these spinners will gradually stop the behavior when out of the confined environment of hoarder, puppy mill, or shelter.

 

Good luck and thanks for helping these dogs.

 

Kathy Robbins

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I have a dog that is compulsive about doing come byes ;-( (I wish he'd at least change up now and again and do an away ;-) ) He circles everything from the swimming pool to the kitchen island. When he gets really excited, like thinking he's going to get to work, he spins like a top ;-( he's also not the most confident dog in the world, and when he gets in a uncomfortable situation on stock, he'll start to spin. I think it might possibly be genetic, as there are other spinners in his line...I think his was brought out due to the fact that he was kennel raised, the propensity to spin was already there, toss in a little boredom, and there ya go, ya got yourself a spinner. I think his brother, who was not kennel raised spins a bit as well, not quite as bad....and Stella (sister) does it every now and again (cringe!) but only when we go through the garage to work, door's closed, she's waiting for me to open it...thank god its never gone beyond that!

 

I thnk it's a very hard (read impossible) habit/vice to break, kind of like shadow chasing, (I have one of those as well sigh) The best luck I've had with lessening the behavior is to just redirect them when they start. It can be very maddening when they do this stuff, and I know it's tempting to yell at them, tell them to knock it off, but I think that just makes things worse. So I redirect, get them to doing something else, and then after some time, I will eventually, gently admonish them for the behavior; at least thats what I did with the shadow chaser...now he only does it on occasion, and I can pretty much tell him to quit and he will. Good luck with your dog, I know how tough it is, hope it works itself out.

 

Betty

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Also, if the spinning is not genetic and is because of behavioral problems that developed due to stress from confinement, it can *still* change the brain's physical makeup, making it impossible to remedy with simple distraction. These behaviors are called stereotypies and the pathways involved in the drive for, and execution of the behavior will be reinforced and reinforced to the point that the dog may not be capable of stopping or healing the distorted pathyways without help (and sometimes ever).

 

It's weird, but the way you use your brain very much affects its structure. Meds may be able to mitigate the "primacy" of this pathway enough that you can work on building new pathways.

 

In any case, I also thank you for giving these poor dogs another chance.

 

 

My Spyder was kenneled for over a year when his Mom, who loved him very much, went to a nursing home! I have now had him for going on 3 1/2 years. His Mom put a CD and a CDX on him, so I know he was a very nice dog! IWe go to training class once a week and have been eversince I had him. He is okay until the class starts working on the dumbell retrieve, at which point he goes totally insane. My trainer and I have decided to give him the toughest chewtoy we could find at that point! he gets into a frenzy chewing and tossing it! His mind is totally disengaged at that point! As soon as the dumbells go away he is pretty much back to being a "normal" BC

I agree that this is "Hardwired" in Spyder now!

In order to have an outlet for his energy we now do "Dancing with Dogs"

It give him excercise and its a blast for me!!!!

We are even on You-Tube (If anyone is interested :rolleyes: )

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I would suspect the kenneling, well actually never getting out of the kennel, is the source for now. Beef up her exercise, teach appropriate behaviors, and make sure you have a drag line or tab on her so that you can redirect promtly and firmly as needed. Don't assume ocd yet, just deal with each problem as it presents and see what sticks and what fades. I would try to reduce the grain carbs/preservatives in her diet if possible too - excess of either can increase hyperactivity and behavior issues.

 

An obedience client of mine had the misfortune of ending up at the infamous MAH kennel to pick out of puppy when they were looking. They insisted on seeing the parents dogs, and said they were shocked. Said that all the poor BC there did - tiny cages, bark and spin 24-7 apparently It made them physically ill to see so they left Dog Bless Them and refused to buy a puppy! Wish everybody out there had that much sence and we'd have these guys out of businees

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Gotta side with the veterinary behavioral consult. I wouldn't assume OCD on my own, but I'd be getting a qualified expert's opinion in a heart beat.

 

If OCD, delay of treatment is harmful. If not OCD, then you'll have that expert opinion and advice as to how to proceed, given in person and quite possibly some direct coaching as to how you interact with this dog.

 

At a minimum, any dog who is so socially stressed that she spins in response to her own voluntary action, (spinning after seeking you out for affection) needs more help than anyone can offer on a BB.

 

Good luck with her, and I add my thanks to you for taking these dogs in and giving them new lives.

 

Ruth

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I can't see doing a vet beh. consult until the dogs physical issues have been addressed and humane and sensible basic training/management has been attempted. It would be the same with a human issues - if you've got a starved, neglected human child first you get the physical part on the right track as fast as you can, then you start addressing the rest.

 

Food, shelter, water, safety - then emotional/mental.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gotta side with the veterinary behavioral consult. I wouldn't assume OCD on my own, but I'd be getting a qualified expert's opinion in a heart beat.

 

If OCD, delay of treatment is harmful. If not OCD, then you'll have that expert opinion and advice as to how to proceed, given in person and quite possibly some direct coaching as to how you interact with this dog.

 

At a minimum, any dog who is so socially stressed that she spins in response to her own voluntary action, (spinning after seeking you out for affection) needs more help than anyone can offer on a BB.

 

Good luck with her, and I add my thanks to you for taking these dogs in and giving them new lives.

 

Ruth

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I can't see doing a vet beh. consult until the dogs physical issues have been addressed and humane and sensible basic training/management has been attempted. It would be the same with a human issues - if you've got a starved, neglected human child first you get the physical part on the right track as fast as you can, then you start addressing the rest.

 

Food, shelter, water, safety - then emotional/mental.

 

In my mind, IF it is OCD behavior, then it IS a physical reality that needs to be addressed. The dog is no longer starving and is in a safe physical environment.

 

If I took in a child to foster, and that child had been neglected and abused, AND I noticed a sweetish odor on the child's breath, I'd have that kid at a doctor before the sun went down. True OCD behavior is as physically based as diabetes, and can increase under stress. If the vet behaviorist says 'Try these things, and report back,' then I'm getting an expert's in person evaluation. I'd want expert opinion first, then treatment recommendations in either case - diabetes or not, OCD or not.

 

To me, it's too much of a risk to take my time with. I mean this sincerely, I don't have the experience with dogs in varying conditions that many other posters do, and I know that many posters just plain know a lot more than I do. I do have a LOT of experience with mental health issues, and know that in most cases, earlier intervention is better than later.

 

Ruth

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Just thinking about what I would do if the dog arrived here, first I would put the dog to work, not stock work, but the job of being with me, basically on leash so that I can stop the spin as soon as I see the thought, hanging out where ever I was, the dogs job, lie down and be calm or walk with me to join me. When I can not have the dog with me I would find a quiet place in the house, put it in a crate to see if he spun with lack of stimulation in it's surrounds. Also, I would choose a small crate which would make his effort to spin harder. If needed I would cover the dog crate to see if that helped. I would also look at when the spinning starts, if the dog does it when I am in the room I would immediately leave. The next time I enter I will make an effort to keep the dog focused to me in hopes that the dog will stay put awaiting my attention, if the dog spins I would withdraw or if that did not work over time I would put pressure on the dog in an effort to break it's spinning trance, when it stops, release pressure. The idea is to teach the dog to do something other then spin when pressure is placed on them. I guess what I am saying is that I would first try to train my way out of the problem, if training fails then consider other options. This also gives you a chance to determine whether or not it is truely OCD or just a learned habit that can be managed or broken with training, sometimes they just need time and consistency.

 

Deb

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If I took in a child to foster, and that child had been neglected and abused, AND I noticed a sweetish odor on the child's breath, I'd have that kid at a doctor before the sun went down. True OCD behavior is as physically based as diabetes, and can increase under stress. If the vet behaviorist says 'Try these things, and report back,' then I'm getting an expert's in person evaluation. I'd want expert opinion first, then treatment recommendations in either case - diabetes or not, OCD or not.

 

To me, it's too much of a risk to take my time with. I mean this sincerely, I don't have the experience with dogs in varying conditions that many other posters do, and I know that many posters just plain know a lot more than I do. I do have a LOT of experience with mental health issues, and know that in most cases, earlier intervention is better than later.

 

I have experience with both species in this regard, and you're tangling a lot of things together. OCD spinming in a dog is *not* a ketoacidotic child. It *can* wait until the other issues have been handled. It is possible that when the dogs physical needs are met in conjunction with some reasonable structure that the problem isn't there at all. If it is, then cleaning up the alternative diagnosis - malnutrition, social neglect, training problems - have been ruled out. You will also have a clear pattern of when and how the spinning occurs - which is necessary as part of a seizure versus behavior diagnosis

 

As a medical provider and a dog trainer, when I hear hoofbeats I look for horses first, not zebras. Most rescue dogs simple need good husbandry, structure, and time.

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I think that mental health is just as important as physical health. I have three of the Swafford dogs here, too. From my experience and from what I've heard from the other rescues with Swafford dogs, most are generally in fairly good physical health. They have the usual external and internal parasites, some infections, and some that could stand to gain a pound or two. But, their physical health is not too bad. Their biggest issues right now stem from social neglect and prolonged confinement and the behaviors and fears that have developed as a result. I still think that for a spinner like the OP has, the best thing to do would be to consult a vet behaviorist. After all a vet behaviorist is still a vet. They just happen to be a vet that is trained to know how to deal with abnormal behaviors regardless of their origin. I really think this dog and the OP would benefit greatly from a vet behav. consult.

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