Does Your Dog Have ADD or ADHD?randall says
"Scarlett always comes when I call," says Green, "but Woody is constantly off somewhere distracted by something!"
It got to the cray-cray point where Ms. Green would be trying to get the dogs into the car and Woody would "just be sitting there staring at a bird in a tree, completely oblivious to my command."
On a recent routine trip to the vet, Ms. Green mentioned the trouble she was having with Woody. "He's smart, well trained and gets tons of exercise. What am I doing wrong??" She wanted to know. It was then that the vet suggested Woody might be suffering from ADHD. Holy shih tzu!
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Now, I'm sure we all know plenty of doggies who are hyperactive and happy to ignore the commands of their owners or anyone else. So,what makes a dog with ADHD any different? One characteristic is that these dogs have abnormally short attention spans. They are only able to focus on a task for a short period of time before they get distracted and need to move on to something else. Popular games based on repetition like fetch are tough for these dogs to focus on. They tend to prefer activities that are constantly changing. These pups are often known as "chewers." The dogs that love nothing more than the opportunity to get crazy on your old fabulous slippers.
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So, what causes a dog to suffer from this brand of hyperactivity? I mean, cereally?! One factor could be the breed. Generally sporting dogs like Labrador and Golden Retrievers as well as herding breeds like Border Collies are more likely to be overly hyperactive. These dogs were bred for high levels of activity and when they don't get enough, well, you know what happens! Another contributor can be that the dog is not getting enough social contact. Dogs are social beings and if they are left alone for too long, by the time they are in a social environment, all that pent up energy comes out in full force. This can lead some owners to put the dog outside where they are not being stimulated which just exacerbates the problem and so the cycle continues. It is extremely important hyperactive dogs get plenty of social stimulation that is calm and focused. Things like training your dog to do basic tricks and rewarding them with treats is a great way to be social together as well as to focus their energy in a positive way.
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Cesar Milan, the infamous "dog whisperer," also suggests getting a doggy backpack that they can wear while out for walks. This way they are doing a job, which focuses them and the extra weight helps to burn more of that excess energy. Some doctors will prescribe medications like Ritalin in extreme cases, but for most, this is a last resort.
We asked Ms. Green what she was planning to do about Woody's issue. "Eh, so he's a little distracted, it's not that bad," she says with a chuckle, "at least I have a diagnosis!" Indeed, and that's a great first step. Remember to always take your pet for a trip to a vet the second you think something is wrong, lovers!
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