Dog Health | McDowell Mountain Ranch | Doggie Autism
Doggie Autism? Ridiculous!!…or is it?? Part 1
Breathing hard, I pushed myself up and reached for the dark sheet, dropping it over the furiously barking crate. William, my four year-old Sheltie, continued to bark loudly, hurling himself against the sides with enough force to make me cringe. Ten minutes earlier, he’d been fine, laying down, licking my hand…then we’d heard it; the low thrum of the bass in an approaching car, and the barking started. As the car passed and the sound disappeared into the night, the barking began to escalate and William began to throw himself against the door. As I approached him, to try to calm him, he began to snap at me. Watching the escalation continue, I, at last, flung myself into the fray, struggling to restrain the out-of-control dog, fighting to get him into his bed. Dropping the sheet over the crate, I flipped off the light, pitching us both into darkness. Moving to my chair, I sank down wondering what was wrong with my beautiful baby boy.
The answer to that four-year question came a few weeks later when, out of desperation, I consulted a behavioral trainer. After spending some time with William, the trainer gave me the good and the bad of it. The good news? William is intelligent, actually very smart. The bad news? William suffers from “severe sensory issues”—doggie autism
3 Signs of “Doggie Autism”
- Out-Of –Control Behavior: typical of autism, those who suffer often experience out-of-control behaviors, displaying an inability to calm that may escalate until the sufferer has simply worn himself out and falls asleep. This behavior in dogs may start as excessive barking and escalate to running, throwing themselves against something such as a door, or even biting.
- Inability to Focus or Learn: typically those with autism may present with training problems, potty training issues or inattentiveness to things in the environment. They may appear to have selective hearing or sight. They may also appear to find human contact difficult and demonstrate little of no need for the attention and love that most dogs crave from their pet parents.
- Consistently Performs Repetitive Behaviors: typically those with autism consistently perform repetitive behaviors. In dogs, these behaviors can include circling with an inability to settle, running the same pattern or an inability to stop a movement unless physically prompted or restrained.
Although “severe sensory issues” or “doggie autism” can be a very frustrating issue for pet parents to effectively cope with, there are things that one can do that will make the journey a little easier.
Teri is a member of McDowell Mountain Ranch’s MMR Vendors. More information on her business, William’s Gift, can be found here