Some dogs have strange obsessions which may be quite strange. One of the most common dog obsession is shadow and reflection fixations. Dogs which suffer from this kind of obsession cannot resist any shadow and reflections, especially when those are moving, and tend to chase and catch the “objects”. Although occasional shadow chasing is not harmful to the dogs, excessive obsession can be a problem to the dog physical and behavioral health.
What causes a dog to chase shadows and reflections?
The obsession to shadows and reflections can be experienced by any kinds of dog breeds, although large breeds with high chase or prey drive are commonly more susceptible compared to lower stamina small breeds. Some dogs are highly obsessed with shadows and reflections that they spend most of the time every day to chase these objects rather than doing some other activities. Although may be triggered by different things, the most common causes of shadow and reflection in dogs are insecurity and unreleased energy.
- Dogs with high energy level, such as the large breeds and young dogs are susceptible to obsessive compulsive behavior, such as shadow chasing or excessive lickings. Dogs with higher energy level but fewer exercises tend to have unreleased energy, which they put into shadow chasing activity. Even smaller breed dogs can be obsessed with shadows and reflections when they do not get any activities which can be used for draining their physical energy in a daily basis.
- Dogs with fewer discipline exercises can develop a little interest to shadows into an obsession which draws all its attention.
- Your reaction toward the dog’s initial reaction to the shadows and reflections will have a big impact on its further behavior. Shadow or tail-chasing might be funny, and with improper reactions from the humans, dogs may develop the habit into an obsessive compulsive behavior.
- Daily exercises which pay attention to the dog’s level of energy and habits will give influential effects on dog’s behavior. Make sure you develop a well-arranged schedule for the dog’s exercises and playtime.
- Dogs with high chase and prey drives, such as the Border Collies, English Shepherd, or Siberian Huskies might assume the shadows and reflections as their prey to catch. This will keep them from chasing the shadows until they finally catch the objects. This will be a big problem if the habit is combined with unreleased energy from lack of activities.
What can I do to minimize the dog’s obsession to shadows and reflections?
Discipline ritual is the most proper method of minimizing and eventually getting rid of your dog’s obsession with certain objects or activity. If you notice your dog is developing an obsessive compulsive behavior toward shadows, reflections, or other objects, try to apply these methods consistently:
- Spend the time in the room with few lights with the dog, or put a dark curtain in the room where it usually finds the shadows and reflections to chase. This method will surely not eliminate the dog’s behavior but can minimize its awareness of shadows, which can help minimize the behavior eventually.
- When the dog sees shadows and reflections getting into the room and is interested in chasing it, immediately interrupt his action by distracting him with his favorite squeaky toys or any playing methods he is interested in.
- You can also use an E-collar to let the dog know that the shadow-chasing behavior is not acceptable. Put on the collar every time the dog tries to chase the objects and put it off when he is getting calmer. Do this consistently, so that the dog finally gets the messages and eventually reduces the chasing actions.
- Take your dog to walk sufficiently every day. If you own a high-energy large breed dog, put on a dog backpack while walking. This will make him focus on carrying the backpack rather than trying to chase shadows and reflections found on the path.
- If you barely have time to take the dog out for a walk, try some other energy-draining activities, such as swimming and fetching. These should be enough to release some energy your dog possesses, which will be effective to prevent any obsessive compulsive behaviors.