Dog circling and pacing constantly and never stops...

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

♥ The Doogers ♥

Babe, Molly and- Houndy
Barked: Mon Jan 16, '12 12:24pm PST 
There is a dog from the rescue I volunteer with, Tilly. Tilly is a 3 year old, Lab/Cocker Spaniel mix. She was picked up as a stray by animal control in Preston, Idaho. We have absolutely NO background information on her. Four Paws rescued her from the animal shelter and she was immediately placed into a foster home. The foster family has been experiencing some troubling habits - Tilly has been spinning and pacing non-stop ever since she entered their home 2 weeks ago.

Here is her foster mom's post on her Facebook Page:

"ATTENTION dog lovers and foster families: I am seeking ADVICE! So one of my foster dogs, Tilly, has some troubling habits I have had a problem breaking. My number one concern is her pacing. Non-stop. I've had her 2 weeks and she hasn't shown an inkling of settling down. Even when all the other dogs settle in on a bed or chew on a toy/bone, in the same room where we are all watching TV, she continues to pace. This is obviously not life-threatening and "probably" won't prevent her from getting adopted since she is so sweet and cute. But man, I feel bad for her!"

Here is my response to the post:

"It sounds like it could be something Neurological, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (Yes, dogs can get this!), Anxiety from something from her past, or many other things. I think she needs a full medical work up to see if they find anything wrong medically and if not, call in a dog behaviorist."

She is the same way at adoption events - spinning and pacing in her kennel. When you take her out she does this distressed bark as if she is calling for someone. She will not stop until you put her back into the kennel, where she goes back to pacing and circling.

We are seeking advice on what could be causing this and how to soothe her. It is so sad to see a dog do this frown Does it sound like she needs to see a vet or a dog behaviorist? We are completely stumped. Please help us. Thanks!

To be the best- that I can be!
Barked: Mon Jan 16, '12 12:49pm PST 
Question is, is this a stereotypic or compulsive behavior? Which can be initiated by underlying medical problems, a complete medical work-up is always the first step
Has this dog been tested for any forms of epilepsy?
If the dog has been tested and there is no medical reason for this. Then we look at the behavior of the dog.
What I would have you do is keep a journal and write down the dog’s behavior before and after it starts spinning, pacing etc.
After a week sit down and look at what you have written down. Look for a pattern to what is going on see if there are triggers that you can now understand.
Behavioral modification is most appropriate when you can identify and predict those situations and times when compulsive behaviors are likely to arise.
What is a stereotypy?
Stereotypes are repetitive, relatively unchanging behavior patterns without obvious goal or function. They are usually derived from normal behaviors. Stereotypic behaviors may be performed as components of displacement behaviors or compulsive disorders (see below). They can also be due to physiological changes such as might occur with a neurological disorder (circling, head bobbing). Examples of behaviors which may become stereotyped include pacing and grooming.
What is a compulsive disorder?
When an animal is repeatedly placed in a state of conflict, displacement behaviors may begin to be manifested during any state of stress or arousal because of sensitization of the neural pathways controlling the behavior eventually, the pet loses control over the initiation and termination of the behavior and it may become compulsive. The compulsive behavior may then occur in situations where the pet is minimally aroused. Compulsive behaviors are often derived from normal behavior patterns but appear to be abnormal because they are excessive, exceedingly intense, or performed out of context. Although some compulsive disorders are repetitive and may therefore be referred to as stereotypic (wool sucking, pacing, tail chasing), other compulsive disorders such as freezing or staring are not truly repetitive
Mary and Spirit