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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So while her ball obsession is pretty well gone, she has a new one. I did know, that while my housekeeper was vacuuming, Stella would chase the light on the walls from it. She soon showed to be interested in the shadows. But that’s where it stopped.

In the last two days, she has spent a good amount of time staring into the light (daylight, lights, etc) on the wall. She keeps waiting for a shadow to move, and just a little while ago she started whining in anticipation.

I have no idea how to stop this. I don’t want to entice her back to a ball; it would be like going from one obsession to another. It took me a long time to get her over that line between focus and obsession. I hate to have her jump over that line again.

So, and I haven’t had much time to think about it yet, I have no idea to to nip this in the bud. If I don’t, her whole life will be going from one obsession to forming a new one, infinity.

I know behaviorist vets are an option, but not mine right now. Any other ideas you might have I would love to hear!

Thanks!


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Is there a way to shut the curtains ? Will she listen to you when you say no ?

When my dogs go nuts outside I hose them. Do you have a water bottle ? Or maybe throw a plastic bottle full of pennies on the floor (not too close) to startle her right when she’s whining ? This second I’m not sure about, it might make her fearful so research it before you try.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Is there a way to shut the curtains ? Will she listen to you when you say no ?



When my dogs go nuts outside I hose them. Do you have a water bottle ? Or maybe throw a plastic bottle full of pennies on the floor (not too close) to startle her right when she’s whining ? This second I’m not sure about, it might make her fearful so research it before you try.


I can shut the curtains, but that is only a temporary fix. Earlier, when she started whining, i did tell her, very sternly, “Stella... No!” She did get up and walk away, and chose a toy to play with, with me.

I’m afraid of trying the pennies as she may become fearful of shadows, which might make the obsession worse?

But the curtain thing I will definitely do tomorrow as I have to sleep during the day for work. Thanks!


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I think the fact she's observing lights and shadows beyond the vacuum cleaner light, and is curious about how and why this happens, is a sign of high intelligence. In a child I'd think of it as budding scientific curiosity. I'd just study her for now out of my own curiosity and wouldn't worry about it for now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I think the fact she's observing lights and shadows beyond the vacuum cleaner light, and is curious about how and why this happens, is a sign of high intelligence. In a child I'd think of it as budding scientific curiosity. I'd just study her for now out of my own curiosity and wouldn't worry about it for now.


I can do that. I’m just thinking back years ago when I fostered an adult border collie, who chased his own shadow around the house all day. Truly obsessed. Nothing I tried helped. I couldn’t distract him with anything, he seemed deaf towards me.

He had plenty of exercise. We’d play frisbee 2-3 times a day, but after resting a while he’d go right back to it. I just don’t want her getting like that. But since it is new I can give her time. Thanks for the suggestion!


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Rehomed dogs can take many months to reveal new behaviors that might be related to why they were given up by their previous owners. It does sound a bit like obsessive behaviors are one of Stalla's hallmarks. These obsessions might be her persona or they might be just nervousness because she still doesn't feel safely settled. This isn't to say that you are doing things to make her feel unsafe or unsettled, but just that she hasn't made all her new home adjustments yet. If she continues to be obsessive about things you can either consult a behaviorist or perhaps try Rescue Remedy or CBD oil.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I could try a water bottle. I need to buy one on the weekend as I don’t have spare spray bottles, but definitely worth a try.

Her ball obsession is so much better! While playing, she will focus on it, and she only plays a very short while with it. Then she likes to play with different toys from the toy basket. It would be nice if I can stop her in the middle that this obsession will also pass. I can deal with her following the vacuum cleaner.


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I’m wondering if you got one of those laser lights, you can now play a game with her using light.... and like the ball, you control when the game starts and ends.

I agree it does seem she has the tendency to get obsessed. She’s lucky you are picking up on these tendencies early and looking to break them early.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I do have a laser light, and she’s obsessed with that too, although it’s an awesome way for her to get exercise indoors. But when I turn it off and tell her it “flew back into space,” she stands behind the table watching for the pointer, and won’t give it up for sometimes an hour. So I tend not to bring that out much. I’m so worried about distracting her from one obsession with another one.

What do you think about this though? I wouldn’t mind distracting her with the laser light.


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I do have a laser light, and she’s obsessed with that too, although it’s an awesome way for her to get exercise indoors. But when I turn it off and tell her it “flew back into space,” she stands behind the table watching for the pointer, and won’t give it up for sometimes an hour. So I tend not to bring that out much. I’m so worried about distracting her from one obsession with another one.

What do you think about this though? I wouldn’t mind distracting her with the laser light.


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I think whatever you choose to do, you should do it randomly, skip days and never do it at a specific time. Avoid routine at all cost. If she doesn’t know what to expect, she can’t get obsessed over it happening (or not).
 

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Based on the above posts, I realize now my suggestion of using a laser light to help modify her obsession with the vacuum light was not good advice.

I don’t know if it would help to cover the light on the vacuum with tape to block it’s light since she’s looking at other light now too.

As for flashlights, we always use a flashlight when walking Babykins in the dark, I haven’t noticed any problems. We never shine it in her face, nor do we play with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Based on the above posts, I realize now my suggestion of using a laser light to help modify her obsession with the vacuum light was not good advice.

I don’t know if it would help to cover the light on the vacuum with tape to block it’s light since she’s looking at other light now too.

As for flashlights, we always use a flashlight when walking Babykins in the dark, I haven’t noticed any problems. We never shine it in her face, nor do we play with it.


Thanks for letting me know. So far today it’s been pretty good. I think for now, as someone said earlier I will observe her for a time. I would like to figure out if it truly is an obsession or just a way to entertain herself. She has really been broadening her play: what she plays with, And how she plays with them.

But iif it keeps developing, I will surely step in, just like I did with her ball obsession.

I have gotten good advice here and will implement some of the suggestions if it truly does get out of hand.

And don’t worry about recommending the laser light, I had thought of that also.


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The more times a dog is allowed to rehearse an undesirable behavior the more neurologically reinforced that behavior becomes and the harder it becomes to extinguish that behavior. That is science.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Lily in all the years I’ve had dogs I have done pretty well not having neurotic ones. I know if zI take a few days to see if it goes on then it may be a tad more difficult to break the habit, but it can be done. I don’t mind if it takes a little extra work. I am not here to stifle their curiosity in things that intrigue them unless it truly becomes an obsession

But thanks for the thought.


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That wasn't a "thought" but rather a statement of fact based on scientific evidence. I am a scientist so I will go with science when it provides evidence, but we can all choose as we wish to.



Clearly you have made up your mind to do as you wish. I wish you luck with that.
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
That wasn't a "thought" but rather a statement of fact based on scientific evidence. I am a scientist so I will go with science when it provides evidence, but we can all choose as we wish to.



Clearly you have made up your mind to do as you wish. I wish you luck with that.


Please don’t be condescending to me in my own thread. I’ve had a lot of experience training dogs and don’t need to be challenged on what I decide to do.


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