Canine Compulsive Disorder in 11 month old - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-04-2019, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
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Canine Compulsive Disorder in 11 month old

Hi! I'm new here. I came here to see if you had any advice. We have our third golden in a line of them so I'm not new to the breed. Our 11-month old male is extremely anxious as of the past month or so. He's always had pica (eating objects that aren't food) but we noticed him getting ramped up even more in August.

He chases his tail and paces CONSTANTLY. Does not lie down, basically, ever. Never has except in his crate.

His exercise routine is 2 miles to 3.25 miles a day in fast walks, THEN runs in the backyard and we try to have him out of the crate as much as possible. I work at home full time but he just can't be trusted to be out of the crate unless you can be with him, which with kids home and we both work and have things to go to at night, isn't always possible for several hours at a time.

Most nights he's out, but during the day he's out for a 1.5 hours in the morning and a half hour at lunch and then another 1.5 hours in the afternoon, and then most of the night when we're home.

Well, I took him to the vet, who I trust very much, this week and she confirmed that all of his symptoms are the result of anxiety, likely OCD or Canine Compulsive Disorder. It will not get better and is likely to be lifelong. She said either doggy day care, which we cannot commit to right now, or Prozac.

I want to say that the breeder has a great reputation. I told her about this and she said no one else in his litter had this issue and it's the first time in her decades of breeding, apparently, that she has heard of this in one of her dogs. Apparently, it's not that common overall but it is something that happens in Goldens.

Anyway, we are literally at our wit's end and very frustrated, to be honest, that this happened with him. We did a ton of research into breeders and chose her because of her reputation and her older dog had sired our past golden who was an angel. I specifically said on the application that I wanted a mellow dog and we got the one who isn't.

And then I was awoken this morning to my son telling me he pooped in his crate (not diarrhea) but actual poop and then he ate it and threw up all over. This was a first for me as a dog mom of more than 20 years... It also seems to a bit to do with anxiety. I'm hoping that's not the case and it was just a one-off. He's never done it before.

I guess what I'm wondering is, I realize we can try medicine. I'd rather not at this age. He has not been neutered yet and a dog trainer (who we've used with him) said it's not likely to help the anxiety/CCD and the vet concurred.

Do you have any other suggestions other than more exercise, as we're already doing a ton?

Our stress level is through the roof with him and it's not good for any of us, including him. So I was wondering also, if anyone ever returned a dog to the breeder? If so, how did it happen?

His vet said he is "not wired right" and mentioned re-homing as an option along with the medicine and doggy day care. The breeder said re-homing is an option too but my husband is unwilling to do that right now. But I know what's ahead and it's not good. I've read a ton about CCD. I'm home with him the most though and it's stressing me out the most trying to keep him mentally stimulated and out of trouble.

It makes me really sad but he's just not happy or at peace. You can tell his mind is racing when he's pacing every room and trying to eat everything in front of him. It's heartbreaking.

Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.
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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-04-2019, 04:17 PM
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What are your qualms over trying the Prozac at this age?

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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-04-2019, 04:28 PM Thread Starter
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I guess I don't want to try it outright because he's young and it could cause him side effects that might affect him in adverse ways. I will, if necessary, but wondering if there are other options to consider that I haven't learned about yet.

I just know it's a very tough condition to treat and using Prozac might not help. And then we have to keep trying different medicines and he gets older and older and his behavior might become even more challenging. Again, I'm used to high-energy Goldens, but not like this. It's really unsettling to watch.

I heard about CBD oil but the vet and the trainer said it's not really worth trying.
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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-04-2019, 04:49 PM
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Have you considered sending him to a GOOD, field dog trainer? Maybe a change of environment and serious, high energy training can help drain some energy/anxiety. Who knows he might be a rock star and find his place in the world or the trainer says no way and wants you to take him home. But could be a good evaluator from a very different perspective. Either way it will give everyone a break to rethink the issue.
I'm not against the meds route but do agree he is very young to face a lifetime of meds. I had a dog with anxiety, not like this but she was on meds and it was really hard to keep the balance right so she wasn't sleeping all the time but enough to keep the anxiety down. BUT she wasn't a puppy, just a rescue afraid of the world.
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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-04-2019, 04:57 PM
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Have you tried impulse control games with him? My girl is moderate energy but she paces and chases her tail and has trouble settling down but when you put her to work she excels. Have you given him a job?

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Is he reactive or dog aggressive? If no, have you considered taking him to the dog park to get an hour of intense play in?

Do you know what triggers his anxiety? My older girl has BAD anxiety. Like when we first got her she would freeze on walks when another person or animal appeared. Her anxiety has reduced over the years as we do more and more with her and make it positive experiences. Though she still gets triggered by the smell of smoke/burnt food which 100% of the time sends her under the bed/table in hiding and shaking for at least 2 hours. She also gets anxious in crates, so she is never crated alone any more. If I have to crate her, I stick her in with her 'little' sister.

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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-04-2019, 05:25 PM
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I'm wondering what other manifestations he has, for the vet to diagnose CCD and tell you that nothing could be done about it. Pacing, tail-chasing and an occasional poop in the crate doesn't seem substantial enough for that type of diagnosis.



My current Golden paced continuously at that age, and chased his tail. He was also a bit noise-sensitive to certain (high-pitched) noises and hated the car. We dealt with the tail-chasing by stopping him every time he tried to grab his tail, and having him do some obedience commands (as a game) instead. Sometimes we would redirect to a game of tug. For the pacing, I installed a cushion in our sitting room, where we spend our evenings, and taught him a "settle" command, which basically meant: stop it and go to the cushion. It would break the cycle. As for the car, I used Adaptil for a while, to calm him down. He still doesn't like the car much, but jumps in willingly. He sometimes whines a bit on longer journeys, but doesn't drool and isn't sick. I no longer use Adaptil.



He's three years old now, and while he still paces occasionally, he's learned to settle down as soon as I give the command. He hasn't chased his tail in a very long time - it only took a week or two of consistent effort to break that particular habit. He's no longer noise-sensitive at all. He does get a bit "hyper" when we have visitors, but can easily be calmed down.


He does, however, have a busy and rewarding life. I wonder if part of your dog's problem might not be boredom. My dog gets long (one hour plus) off-leash walks almost daily, gets three agility training sessions per week, competes in agility trials at least one weekend a month, and joins in a lot of family activities at other times (gardening, visits to friends' homes, etc.). In winter he goes to weekly rally or competitive obedience classes as well. I can't over-emphasize the importance of training for Goldens. They were bred to be working dogs and they need to use their brains. Your dog seems to be getting a lot of crate time for such a young, active animal. Have you actually taught him to lie down? If not, I suggest that you try it.


How was he as a young puppy? Did you choose him, or did the breeder choose him for you? If the former, what drew you to this particular puppy? If the latter, what guidelines did you give to the breeder - in other words, what type of dog did you say you wanted?


I'll be very interested to hear about his other symptoms. I do hope you can find a solution to this.

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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-04-2019, 06:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ceegee View Post
I'm wondering what other manifestations he has, for the vet to diagnose CCD and tell you that nothing could be done about it. Pacing, tail-chasing and an occasional poop in the crate doesn't seem substantial enough for that type of diagnosis.



My current Golden paced continuously at that age, and chased his tail. He was also a bit noise-sensitive to certain (high-pitched) noises and hated the car. We dealt with the tail-chasing by stopping him every time he tried to grab his tail, and having him do some obedience commands (as a game) instead. Sometimes we would redirect to a game of tug. For the pacing, I installed a cushion in our sitting room, where we spend our evenings, and taught him a "settle" command, which basically meant: stop it and go to the cushion. It would break the cycle. As for the car, I used Adaptil for a while, to calm him down. He still doesn't like the car much, but jumps in willingly. He sometimes whines a bit on longer journeys, but doesn't drool and isn't sick. I no longer use Adaptil.
I'm not an expert but agree that there doesn't seem to be enough substantial issues for that diagnosis to be made.

I also agree that teaching him "settle" should definitely help him along. It is as though he doesn't know how to turn himself off and needs your help.

My newest who I got at 20 months of age in June has on a few occasions needed a reminder to "settle". In fairness to my own dog, it has only happened when he hadn't gotten enough exercise to burn off his high energy level. If physical activity is limited, I will do obedience lessons with him. Works like a charm.

It sounds as though the dog needs his confidence level built up as well as an outlet for the energy. If you can't always provide the physical exercise, how about brain games that make him think?


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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-04-2019, 06:51 PM Thread Starter
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I have not. But thank you for that insight!
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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 10-04-2019, 07:18 PM Thread Starter
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Oops. I'm new to the forum so I'm not sure how this all works with multiple responses. I think I responded in the wrong place.

Thank you to everyone. This is very helpful!

Basically, the vet confirmed anxiety. And I was told by the dog trainer that he has CCD when he was 5 months old after she spent time with him and watched his behaviors. At that time she suspected it, and now he has many of the symptoms so it's what it is.

He does need a LOT of exercise, but I have to say that I feel like we do a really good job for people who work full time. The vet said we've done more than most people and all we can for him, physically.

Someone asked me if we chose him or the breeder did. The breeder did and I put in my application that I wanted as laid back a dog as possible. The most laid back one went to a special needs family, which I understand, but he has always been the furthest thing from laid back and I let the breeder know all along. She says no other dog is like him in the litter. So it makes me wonder what is going on. I know they were an active litter but no one else is having these issues, apparently.

As for how he was as a young puppy, the same way but smaller, basically. He's gotten worse over the past month.

For example, my friend who watched him for us in August and is a vet tech said he's got "faulty wiring" in his brain. He's just "not right." Like I said, I get Goldens and I've had them for most of 20 years. They typically have an attachment to us but he seems not able to be "present." His mind is racing when he's out of the crate. At least, that's my opinion.

I wish I didn't have to crate him but he just can't be trusted to not eat the couch or even the walls. He eats everything he can.

He doesn't hate his crate, at least that we can tell. He goes in with some prodding. He doesn't cry in there unless it's a time when he sees us and wants to be with us.

But part of me worries that his anxiety is because he is cooped up in there many hours in a day. But again, I do have him out at intervals all day and he gets a lot of exercise.

He probably is bored, but unfortunately, we were completely honest in our application for him when we explained our lifestyle. While we have 3 kids, they don't play with him because one of them is in college and the others are pretty much afraid of him. He is big now and started humping and getting rough, not aggressive. He hasn't really bonded with anyone in our family. And believe me, we've given him ample opportunity. He likes us but not sure if he can bond.

Yes, we've taught him "lie down" and he knows it. We started doing "sit" when he's tail chasing yesterday and it seems to distract him.

Also, he's not dog aggressive. But I don't know what reactive is. He likes all dogs and people but he's just not "engaged" with them really. Kind of like he's half there.

Other than pacing, tail chasing and panting, he doesn't show any other typical signs of anxiety like shaking or barking. In fact, he's never really barked. We heard him do it three separate times, just one bark.

I have taken him to a dog park, as someone suggested, but the last time was not good. He got ganged up on and it was scary. He didn't know how to really fight back but he was overpowered. And I didn't want to risk it again. Male dogs don't like him but that could be because he's still not neutered. He's a nice dog to others for the most part.

I have not given him a job. Not sure what a job would be. Let me know whomever suggested that. Thanks!

I think that's about it. Thanks again!
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