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Chasing shadows?
  • RikkaRikka
    Posts: 1501
    Sorry if this has already been posted, I'm on my phone and can't look at the search option that is normally available. Please link if there already is so I can contribute to that.

    The past few days, Sagan has been doing nothing but chasing our shadows outside, even at dog parks. Ever since it's been sunny outside, he completely ignores other dogs and instead goes for their shadows. He is no longer a hellion on long walks since I discovered he was, well, bored on them (thanks @redcattoo!).

    But now... the walks are increasingly frustrating because he does nothing but chase our shadows the whole time. I'm not sure how to redirect this or stop this, so I've been ignoring it. We also stopped going to dog parks because he doesn't interact with them--only their shadows. He'll approach dogs but only to chase what they leave behind. We've had several people walk up to us and jokingly say, "har har, your dog is chasing your shadow you know!" -_-

    This behavior is the complete opposite of what he normally did on walks and dog parks; he is incredibly outgoing and loves to sniff, play, chase, and approach any and all dogs at parks. However, since Tuesday or so, he's too focused on either our shadows or theirs. I didn't want to do or say anything without fully knowing what to do, so I've been ignoring it right now, but it's obviously not working.

    Eugh. If anyone has any advice, please help.
    image
    Lauren, living with a 4 y/o Shiba named after a scientist. ☆
    Post edited by Rikka at 2013-03-30 15:20:42
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4784
    A friends Shiba started doing this a few months ago (shadow obsession). I think it was decided we should 1) not reinforce it by playing games that made it worse (like shadow hand puppet chase or pen light chase), and 2) redirect it with food or a toy to a behavior that would result in lavish praise (basic skills, sit, down, etc). It was hard at first to redirect, but she is getting better. 2 of mine like to chase sparkles from watches or rings reflecting in the light, likely because they are obsessed with pen light chase, so they have "graduated" fom puppy chasing shadows to annoying dive bombing sparkly reflections under your feet....
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • kumaDUDEkumaDUDE
    Posts: 1259
    @lindsayt LOL @ dive bombing sounds cool and scary rolled into one
  • RikkaRikka
    Posts: 1501
    Do you think he will eventually "snap out of it"? I've been ignoring it whenever he does but it obviously hasn't stopped. He gets plenty of exercise, so I doubt it's him being bored, especially since I change things up on our longer walks.
    image
    Lauren, living with a 4 y/o Shiba named after a scientist. ☆
  • knnwangknnwang
    Posts: 644
    Ratchet will dive bomb, hip check, and shiba butt slam with another dog when he is at the other end of the chase/tag game.
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    Kaji was showing a lot of interest in his shadows particularly at night. I think he was a little curious/scared of them. Luckily he hasn't shown too much interest in his shadow in the daytime, but we don't go out when the sun is way high since it gets pretty hot then. Can you limit the times you go out to early morning or evening, and stick to places where there is a lot of shade?
  • RikkaRikka
    Posts: 1501
    Mmm... It's just strange that this started happening a couple days ago. It's not like I live in an area with no sun. :p

    I guess it's a bit frightening to me because I loved taking him to dog parks and long walks--it made me happy that he was happy. Now he does nothing but chase and pounce my shadow when we're outside... Ignores dogs completely but only interested in their shadow. Sigh.
    image
    Lauren, living with a 4 y/o Shiba named after a scientist. ☆
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4784
    Ha ha, it's beautiful weather here this weekend!
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • TengaiTengai
    Posts: 275
    As a kid we had an American eskimo mix that actually looked a lot like a long coated shiba. Anyways he had a few quirks one was he growled when anyone pet him. It wasn't a nasty get out of my face growl, but more of a vocalization like a cat's purring when being pet. It scared a lot of people but it was his purring. He loved being pet. The other thing he did was chase shadows, light, reflections did it always until the day he died at 16 years of age.
  • WendyNCWendyNC
    Posts: 257
    Is it possible that he simply noticed shadows for the first time recently and that they are, therefore, novel things?
  • RikkaRikka
    Posts: 1501
    @WendyNC - Nope. We brought him home as a puppy during the summer time, so he had a lot of exposure to the sun. He's never cared about shadows.

    So, I e-mailed my dog trainer about this problem a few weeks ago and she highly recommended a dog behaviorist that she went to as well. I e-mail this woman with Sagan's problem and she immediately says, "Shadow obsession is one of the worst OCD behaviors there are. You should really come in sooner rather than later." She did follow up with some questions, including if Sagan's littermates or parents have this, along if I'd done any bloodwork.

    With that, I texted the guy who owns Sagan's littermate, his sister. I asked if his Shiba had anything similar, and he said yes, Kohana also chases her shadows. It was interesting to find this out... I haven't e-mailed my breeder yet, but I am curious how this unfolds.

    I officially scheduled an appointment on Friday. The cost is what brings more unfortunate news (it's $300, ouch!), but I figure since summer is approaching, and I'm becoming more frustrated with this, that I absolutely need some help. It's bothersome that the symptoms seemingly came out of no where. We had never done anything to insinuate as such, i.e. a laser pointer, nor have we encouraged it, like laughing. When I first noticed him doing it--and still to this present day--I ignore it.
    image
    Lauren, living with a 4 y/o Shiba named after a scientist. ☆
  • zandramezandrame
    Posts: 1095
    Hmm, I never knew shadow chasing could be so serious. Just make sure the behaviorist you are going to see has the credentials to back it up. The "behaviorist" our trainer referred us to was nothing of the sort, but just as expensive.

    http://www.dacvb.org/resources/find/
    http://www.animalbehavior.org/ABSAppliedBehavior/caab-directory
  • RikkaRikka
    Posts: 1501
    Neither did I. I looked at the links you provided and the second one doesn't even provide one for the entire state of Washington. o.O!

    The behaviorist I'm seeing is Dr. Sung. I guess I have blind trust for her because my trainer, who I very much respect and like, recommended her. Hmm...
    image
    Lauren, living with a 4 y/o Shiba named after a scientist. ☆
  • NiokiNioki
    Posts: 9
    Hi @Rikka it's been a while since you last posted on this thread but how is Sagan now with shadows? Nioki has started chasing them about 5 days ago, and at first we made the big mistake of finding it funny and play with the shadows of our hands -5 minutes the 2 first days, before I googled the thing and realised how bad it could become. We stopped it all at once and now try to redirect his attention when he starts playing with them but today it had gotten worse - started chasing them on walks..
    I've read all I could on the subject and now super anxious as it seems to be really difficult and long to stop this behaviour... Although some people say it can just be a puppy phase, it is such a sad occupation :(

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