My 4-year old yellow lab started snapping at thin air (like he's trying to catch a bug) a few months ago.

His vet thinks I should take him to a dog therapist. It seems worse when he's anxious and at night.

Asked by Member 717577 on Sep 1st 2008 in Other Behavior & Training
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Are you walking him at least an hour a day?

Does he get plenty of exercise and socialization?

Is he healthy and have a good diet?

Dogs that show signs of stress and anxiousness do start to develop odd behaviors. Usually it is a result of not being feed properly (to much, to little), not nearly enough exercise, and not proper socialization (meaning dog parks, other dogs, outings etc).

Is there anything you can see that would stress your dog out?

Frasier answered on 9/1/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Fly Biting, or Fly Snapping is most commonly associated with a neurological problem in dogs - most vets believe it's a type of seizure that causes this behavior, but they are not 100% certain.

You should take your dog to the vet - go to a second vet if your normal vet has no experience with this type of disorder in dogs - and see whether you can rule out any physical causes of this behavior.

There's a website about Fly Biting that may be helpful to you here - www.canine

Abby answered on 9/1/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


My Aunts 5 year old Jack Russel also suddenly started snapping at the air, especially at night. The vet said he had a neurological problem and put him on meds. He still has a few episodes every now and then, but is doing much better.

♥ DEOGIE ♥ answered on 9/1/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


I agree with Abby and Deogie...and I'd take it a step further.

Assuming your vet didn't do any sort of physical testing, including blood work, on your dog before recommending a therapist (which is basically diagnosing the problem as behavior and not physical), I'd urge you seek a second opinon for sure.

Basically, any time you see a behavior that isn't common in dogs that suddenly crops up like this, the dog MUST have an exam to rule out neurological problems.

It concerns me that your vet might not be as well versed in the symptoms of neurological issues or signs as he should be.

Just my humble opinion.

Jack answered on 9/1/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


The snapping habit is typically associated with neurological issues in dogs. What type of therapist does your vet want your dog to see? Does your dog get anxious a lot? Do you exercise him daily? Often times, there aren't any medical issues with a dog, and they will snap or lick the air, in attempts to relieve their anxiety, which is almost always associated with lack of exercise. Make sure that you are taking your dog on daily walks, and play with him often as well. If he is left alone in the house all day, or even outside, he will become bored, and dogs do strange things to relieve their boredom. Regardless, it definitely wouldn't hurt to take your dog to see another vet, or a neurologist to rule out any medical issues.

Sergeant answered on 9/2/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer

Mr. Steve Peepers

My Min Pin does that when he wants something, like when he is cold and wants the firesplace on, wants a treat, wants to go to bed. It's kind of like he is snapping orders at me. I wonder what a doggy therapist would say?

Mr. Steve Peepers answered on 9/15/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer