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My 7 month old female puppy Lulu is obsessed with spots of sun shining on anything. Every morning, the sun hits the windows of the house, causing reflections on the fence in the back yard. When the door is opened, she races outside and chases the moving reflection, barking wildly. She LOVES to do this, she got so excited this morning that she went racing outside and crashed into the fence. The only problem is that she is up at 6:00 am and I am sure that the neighbors don't like her barking.

If we ignore her, she just stands in the yard and barks until someone opens the door, causing the sun to reflect on the fence, and she is off chasing the reflection. We need to try to figure out a way to redirect her attention in the mornings, but she is so focused on chasing the reflection every morning that it has become a real problem.

Any advice?
 

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This can progress to the point where the dogs are fairly non-functional. I do my best to not let my dogs practice any sort of compulsive behavior.

If this is primarily happening in the yard, you are very lucky! At those times of days, do not let her out or take her out on leash and then bring her in. If she starts to chase, talk to her, redirect, reward.
 

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OCD can become a very real problem. Tail chasing, fly catching, water drinking, chasing lights, self chewing, can progress to the point that the dog is trapped within a cycle and series of tics. If it has progressed to be uncontrollable the dog will find any new tic to replace one that is taken away. Heartbreaking to see.

Put curtains on the window or blinds and keep them closed. Watch for new repetitive behaviours. If needed see a behaviours specialist.
 

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I'm just curious about the catching flies as an OCD type behavior. How does one know if it becomes a problem? My rescue tries to catch flies when they get in the house and has a lot of fun doing it. I never thought it could be an issue...
 
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Any repetitive behaviours can become an issue.

If your dog catches the occasional fly but is not compelled to do so its not something to be concerned about. By if the dog becomes compelled to the point that it ignores something else in her environment that she used to pay attention to, like say the neighbour's cat, it's crossing the line. If she begins to catch imaginary flies that are not there, that's crossed into OCD.
 

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I agree that you should try to stem the behavior. You can get film to put right on the glass that should stop the reflection, if curtains or blinds aren't an option. I'd also take a step back with her, and instead of just letting her out to run, put her on a leash and control the situation more. You're right that your neighbor's aren't going to want to hear a barking dog at 6am, or any time of the day really.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks everyone, I did take her out on a lead this morning, and she didn't even try to chase. I have also covered the windows that cast the reflection. We live in Alaska so soon the sunshine in the morning won't be a problem, and hopefully she will forget about it by next summer!
 

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I had never thought of chasing flies as compulsive either. Lottie does it, but usually only when they fly in front of her face or buzz around the window. Actually she chases anything that flies. Butterflies, small birds are also fun for her. Not sure how I'm going to stop that now.
 

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We have to watch Chloe with flies. First it's all fun when she tries to get them. Then she puts her nose to the ground pacing trying to find them. Nothing gets her attention. At first it was kind of scary because we didn't realize what had set her off. It was like a brain malfunction lol. But we soon figured out what she was doing. We try and stop her because it gets pretty compulsive.
 

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Glad to hear that things went well this morning. :) In addition to the above comments, I would also suggest that you use other times of the day to work with your pup in the backyard, so she gets used to listening to you and doing commands out there without the distraction of the reflections. If you do this regularly enough, it should make things easier at 'reflection time', should you ever need to redirect her. (I would do all of this on leash for now, since you'll be taking her out on leash in the mornings anyway.)
 

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I had never thought of chasing flies as compulsive either. Lottie does it, but usually only when they fly in front of her face or buzz around the window. Actually she chases anything that flies. Butterflies, small birds are also fun for her. Not sure how I'm going to stop that now.

Catching as they buzz by is fairly normal. When they begin to be compelled to chase them it's the beginning of a problem that can escalate to catching flies that are not there.

Example - I take breaks with Max's ball playing because he can become very intense about it. So I stop playing and just let him "be" by saying "rest now." It's my signal to him to go sniff, roll, etc. I break up repetitive games, actions, etc. another example is Emma's water drinking. When she's training she gets very excited and releases energy by drinking water. I remove the bowl and reinforce the settle.


http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/13_9/features/Dogs-With-OCD_20062-1.html


http://youtu.be/0V7XP7n7ZTQ

http://youtu.be/e9wRplxDB2g
 

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Thanks everyone, I did take her out on a lead this morning, and she didn't even try to chase. I have also covered the windows that cast the reflection. We live in Alaska so soon the sunshine in the morning won't be a problem, and hopefully she will forget about it by next summer!

Perfect!!!!!
 

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Good!!

Those are two smart things to do! Please keep us posted on LuLu!
Love her name!
 

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I took care of a puppy for awhile who I think had an obsessive personality. Whenever she saw a swallow, her brain turned off and she did not see or hear anything else. She chased them obsessively and if she lost sight of it, she would stay in the area and would wait endlessly for it to reappear. During this time she just did not have the eyes or ears for anything else. She liked to chase all birds, but it was the swallows especially that just made her brain turn off completely. Interestingly, her mother/dam was the same way.
 
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