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John Wood

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Anyone had an issues with chasing shadows our 16 month old cocker spaniel boy has just started walking around with his blanket in his mouth wagging his tail but he is panting and looks like he is very stressed . Any tips to help him out ?
We are going to try distraction with toys it’s only when it gets dark outside and the lights go on indoors .
Is he actually reacting to the shadows or could the light bulbs be making a noise?
Is he actually reacting to the shadows or could the light bulbs be making a noise?

It’s definitely the shadows as he just stares at the floor almost like he is looking for them , last night I turned the floor lamp off that’s behind my chair and it made a big difference. But I still want to try and get on top of it as I don’t want him getting stressed out by them and I don’t want to be sitting in the dark either
He started doing it as a young pup but hasn’t done it for months so we thought he had grown out of it , but it might of started again as he is in his teenage stage ‍♂️ here’s hoping he will grow out of it .
Hi, if he has demonstrated the behaviour since puppyhood, I think a vet check is the first step to eliminate any neurological problems. Ask your vet to also look at his balance, eyesight and proprioception (his knowledge of where his body is in space).

You are along the right lines in avoiding shadows forming eg by turning lights off, but obviously that isn't a long term solution. Shadow chasing is a stereotypy can start as a means of dealing with stress and anxiety (I have seen it in high performance horses too) and it can develop into a full blown obsession.

So, if your vet rules out any neurological issues, start by looking at potential sources of stress and anxiety. These can be anything from a dog being involved in canine sports to whether he has several choices of where to sleep or what to eat or which water bowl to drink from! Under-stimulation can also be stressful, as can over exercise, so there's a lot of things to look out for. You could keep a 24-hour observation diary recording the smallest changes and how he responds to them. Turid Rugaas is a writer who is good on the topic of stress.

In my experience, a lot of Cocker Spaniel are super-sensitive dogs, and easily discouraged by a harsh word - not saying that's you, but I'd be very careful not to give any hint that his behaviour is annoying you.

Finally, rather an off the wall suggestion is to look at acupuncture or zoopharmacognosy (use of self selected plants and oils) as I have seen some cases of OCD resolved using these. You would need an experienced practitioner. Some vets do canine acupuncture, but for zoopharm, it can be hard to find an experienced and ethical practitioner. If you look up Caroline Ingraham Zoopharmacognosy on the Internet, she may be able to direct you to someone - she introduced zoopharmacognosy to the UK and is hugely experienced in its use both for domestic and wild animals.

Good luck. Shadow chasing is quite an upsetting thing to witness, but there are several avenues to explore that may help reduce or eliminate it.
Not really helpful but my rescue Vinny growls at a painting of a tiger on the wall of my bedroom when the light
is off.
Not really helpful but my rescue Vinny growls at a painting of a tiger on the wall of my bedroom when the light
is off.
Equally unhelpful, but every time we pass,Timber cries at a house window where four years ago at Christmas there was a giant inflatable penguin.

To be fair, I thought it was creepy too.

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