Obsessive Compulsive Behaviors!

We adopted our 4-yr old Basenji-Shepherd mix, Corky from the dog shelter. Little by little we are working on her issues! I think after 2 years, the excitement/submissive urination is almost gone. Phew!! Now we are working on her obsessive compulsive running. She fixates on things outside our yard and runs laps over and over. We have invisible fence but had to put up boundaries so she didn't loop the outside of our house every time someone walked past our house. When neighbor dogs are out or she spots a squirrel, etc. she runs her laps. I know that she is wearing herself out. She is a great walker. We can walk her off-leash and she stays calm and in control when she sees things that set her off when out in the yard. I am now trying a backpack with her when in the yard with only tuna cans. I don't want to stress her joints more than they already are. Any suggestions of how to deal with this behavior? Is this behavior common in this breed?

My dog Miles, also a dog shelter rescue, exhibits these same behaviors. We have had him a little over a year now. Anytime we tried crating him, he'd pee. We have managed to get rid of that, thank God. But he will pace incessantly (holy annoying) when he's stressed or when he wants to go out. Even when you're getting the leashes, he'll continue to run in circles around the furniture. It drives me nuts. He knows he doesn't go out until he sits and puts his collar on– But he will still do this frantic pacing thing until you stick your hand in the middle of a lap and calmly ask him to sit down. My other dog, Lexi, is not a rescue and does not exhibit this behavior. I don't know if it's a personality thing or if it's a result of being in a high-stress situation (like the pound). I will be curious to hear what others have to say... But Miles is otherwise VERY chill. He does not spook easily and he does not get overly excited when in public like Lexi can.

You know- Jack does the same thing when I am putting his leash on….running around in circles around the furniture until I block one of his laps. Didn't think about it until you mentioned it. Haven't had a fenced yard yet, so I don't know how he will act outside.

Is this the same as what we call the Basenji 500 – where the dogs simply ruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun around the house, the yard, whatever?
They run laps around and around, and they are FAST!!

If that is what you are talking about, then yes, it is normal and yes, it is a breed thing.

Well, as far as Jack- it isn't the same as the B500….at least as far as he is concerned, he just kind of trots around in a circle, until I block him and tell him to sit down. He knows we are going outside- its weird...

No, this is separate from the B500.
The 500 is usually a fun-play time sort of thing. The dogs usually chase each other or we chase them or they chase us.

The incessant circling is different. It's a stressful thing. I'll try to take a video of it sometime. His body posture is very different.

My dog Tosca might do something like this, I am not sure if it is what you are explaining or not though. If it is, it is not a stressed thing, its an excited thing. She does it when we are going to walk. I often make the mistake of asking her if she wants to walk well before I am ready, so she has to wait while I get dressed, put hair up, get ipod, shoes, etc. The whole time she just paces around the living room from me to the door, me to the door, nonstop. Sometimes she is silent, sometimes she whines. The way its done though, I wouldn't say its a stressed/scared thing, she is excited. Its like she is saying, "Come on! I wanna go! How much longer do I have to wait for you, slowpoke!" She definitely loves her walks 🙂
Like I said, I am not sure if this is what you are describing or not, but if so, while its annoying, I don't think its anything to worry about.

Corky's laps do not seem to be induced by stress but excitement. I'll try to describe it….She's standing on our deck, looking out over Her Kingdom. She spots a dog two yards away (that acts like she isn't even there...so there is no reinforcement) she barks twice then bolts...leaps off deck like superman (over 3 stairs...can't be bothered.) She then will do a big lap of the back yard...pauses, barks twice, then comes back up onto the deck, REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT until she is out of breath or we stop her in her tracks. Another move is in the front yard....someone walks by....she does a figure 8 around two trees until the person (who never paid any attention to her) is 4 houses away. She gets SO fixated. We spend time in the yard with her and walk her (off-leash in parks, woods, neighborhood streets- she's very well behaved.) However in the house looking out the window or in our yard she is an excitement junky!! We can live with the behavior. However, she is very lame almost every night and is favoring one leg. She can barely move...yet if she has a "trigger" she's off and running. I can only imagine the wear and tear she is putting on her joints!

If you think its compulsive, you should ask your vet for some medication to help your dog take the "edge" off. Porzac comes to mind…
Then, I would talk to a behaviorist to help you redirect the behavior.
I hear dogs do well with this type of approch.
Good luck.

I would agree with Sharron on this one, with one exception. If this is truly OCD (Which some dogs do have). Then I would reccomend the behaviorist first, and the meds only as a secondary if needed. A good amount of dogs who fixate on things to an obssesive point do quite well with redirection training. The sooner you can see a behaviorist the sooner you can start practicing redirection techniques. Good luck, and keep us posted. 🙂

Daniel, I bow to your order of things re this issue.
I have not had a dog with these issues, but I do know that the 2 things, drugs and behavior modification can work with this issue.
So, thank you for the correction.

Thank you everyone for your suggestions and concern. I'll keep you posted.

My B girl runs fast in 1000's of circles. When she's happy, or wants to go outside, feels "inconvenienced", if we stay up late, when we cook, or gets excited about her walk, etc. When she's upset or has separation anxiety, looks like 40 mph! None of my other b's ever circled. She's a rescue girl.
Is that the basenji 500 or is this odd behavior?

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