Sudden Dog Behavior Change
I have had my Jack Russell just over 2 months. She is 8 years old. During the past 2 or 3 days her behavior has changed from a loving companion, affectionate lap dog to an obsessed dog, staring under furniture, clawing to get under furniture and appliances, attacking throw rugs (wood floor). She is so obsessed that she is not eating,
She has no interest in snacks after potty walks in the back yard. It is like she is a completely different dog. What is she looking for and how do I change her behavior?Vet Suggestion Regarding Dog Behavior Changes That Are Sudden
It is hard to say what might be going on with your Jack Russell without more information and the opportunity to perform a physical exam. The first thing that must be done when dealing with a dog that has experienced a sudden change in behavior is to rule out potential medical causes. It is possible that your dog is not feeling well and that could be the explanation for what you are observing.
When I am evaluating dogs for a sudden onset of abnormal behavior, I start with a complete history, thorough physical examination (including neurological examination), and often a basic panel of lab-work including blood work, a urinalysis, and fecal exam.
When the possibility of a medical problem has been more or less eliminated, our focus can then turn to developing an appropriate behavioral modification plan. Often we try to eliminate triggers to the dog’s behavior and reintroduce watered down versions of them while praising and rewarding the dog for remaining calm. As long as the dog’s stress level doesn't increase we continue by gradually increasing the intensity of the triggers. If anxiety is playing a role, which it often does, dog appeasing pheromone, over the counter anxiety-relievers (e.g., Anxitane
), and prescription medications can all help.
Talk to a veterinarian who has experience in treating behavioral problems to get this process started.
Best of luck,
Jennifer Coates, DVM