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Old 10-13-2008, 12:04 PM
 
Location: California
423 posts, read 1,324,631 times
Reputation: 414

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I'm hoping for some input on an issue with my 2 year old Sheltie/Pom mix, Sienna. She fixates on me. Now I've seen dogs that fixate on things like a ball, a stick, small animals, etc. Here's a good link on what defines a 'fixation':

Dogs with fixations (part 2) | THAT MUTT: A Dog Blog

The most common example is a dog that is obsessed with say, a tennis ball. Nothing in the world matters to the dog besides the ball. (S)he gets that glazed look in his/her eyes and focuses on the ball, only the ball. It's not healthy.

Well, Sienna does this with me. Especially when I'm getting ready to take her out, but also throughout the day. If I so much as blink, she's laser-focused on me. Nobody seems to take it seriously. I get a lot of "aww, she loves you" and "wow, I wish my dog were that attentive." But I can see it isn't healthy for her, and it's VERY frustrating for me. Imagine a dog that's obsessed with a ball. Now imagine YOU are the ball. See what I mean?

So I'm looking for any insight, any experiences you may have had with dogs that fixate - on anything. I don't know how to correct her, or refocus her. I watch the Dog Whisperer, and there was a show where the dog was obsessed with light & shadows. It was easy enough to correct, they just interrupted him whenever he started to fixate. I don't know how to interrupt Sienna, since anything I do (speak, "tssst", leash pop, move into her space) makes her focus on me. Which is the problem in the first place! Obedience training just makes her more attentive.

So, any thoughts? Thanks!
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Old 10-13-2008, 12:19 PM
miu
 
Location: MA/NH
17,104 posts, read 34,533,299 times
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All of my pets fixate on me. I'm the pack leader and goddess of all good things to them, like food and walks. My little sister and another friend pointed out to me many years ago that animals like to look at me, even when I am not their owner. lol. But I am the sun and they are all my planets orbiting around me... and I don't mind. The cats are more independent though.
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Old 10-13-2008, 12:24 PM
 
Location: California
10,091 posts, read 36,766,044 times
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I'm sorry....I don't see the problem I don't mean to sound "flip"....but do you have any idea how many trainers would die for that problem...eye contact with their dog while training and full attention!
I do have a cat...a Ragdoll named Kaci who is this way with me. As I type she is right here with her paw on my arm...when I get up to do laundry or "whatever" she will be there right with me. I call her my velcro kitty! Sure, I've tripped over her a thousand times..and she can be a nusiance when I'm trying to put make-up on or getting dressed...she MUST be there with me or she howls. When I leave the house...I can be sure Kaci will be waiting at the door for me when I come home. It is just her personality.
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Old 10-13-2008, 12:25 PM
 
Location: Lexington, KY
168 posts, read 717,628 times
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That's not a bad problem to have (most the of the time), but I know that's not what you want to hear.

Does she spend time with other people? If not, you might consider letting a family member take her out on a walk or out to the park to play so she has fun time away from you with someone else. When my old collies were fixated on their tennis ball, my brother hid the ball indefinitely and started taking them out more for fun, playtime without the ball.

That's all I've got, I'm sorry!
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Old 10-13-2008, 12:47 PM
 
Location: California
423 posts, read 1,324,631 times
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See, nobody takes it seriously! It is a problem though, because it just isn't healthy for the dog. She's not happy, relaxed, balanced if she's anxiously following me all the time. She gets separation anxiety, not bad, but it's there. And I try to be patient about it but it's really frustrating!

Good suggestion, LAbleedsblue, about other family members taking her out. I wish I had some family close by! Maybe doggie daycare or hiring a dogwalker would help though. I'll look into that. She doesn't play with toys, and ignores other dogs at the dog park (we're working on greeting dogs nicely and not being rude, letting them sniff her). She doesn't chew chewies, and won't eat if I'm watching her. I am the pack leader, but this goes way beyond that. It's like I'm her whole world...she's codependant! LOL. That's not healthy, imho, for animals or people!
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Old 10-13-2008, 01:01 PM
miu
 
Location: MA/NH
17,104 posts, read 34,533,299 times
Reputation: 16148
Well what helps diffuse all the attention on me is having other pets for them to interact and play with. If you don't want another dog, what about getting your dog a kitten to be her buddy with? And joining some doggie play groups would also help. If you leave your dog for long periods of time while you are at work, of course your dog is going to fixate on you when you are home. Dogs are social animals. They need to be in a pack. And you are her only pack member.
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Old 10-13-2008, 01:35 PM
 
Location: California
423 posts, read 1,324,631 times
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Miu, that makes sense, but....I have a cat, whom Sienna totally ignores. I wish they would play together! They're the same age. She ignores other dogs as well. I've taken her to the dog park a handfull of times, and she sits right next to me, looking at me like, okay, now what? I think I will keep taking her though, and work on getting her to greet/sniff other dogs properly, maybe time & patience will pay off with this. She sometimes acts like she wants to play with another dog, but gets anxious when she's about 3 feet away from me and comes running back to me.

She isn't alone during the day, I bring her to work with me, where she sleeps at my feet. She does interact a bit more with my coworkers now than she used to (especially at lunchtime, lol) but she still keeps an eye on me constantly. At home, I can send her to her crate, but she will just continue to fixate from there.

I really want her to be relaxed and happy and play with other dogs. And if she'd play with my cat I would love that - the cat gets bored.

So, I'll keep doing the dog park, and look into doggie daycare maybe 1x a week. This is helping, thanks folks! It's good to get another perspective. And vent...
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Old 10-13-2008, 01:43 PM
 
Location: California
423 posts, read 1,324,631 times
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"She isn't alone during the day, I bring her to work with me, where she sleeps at my feet. She does interact a bit more with my coworkers now than she used to (especially at lunchtime, lol) but she still keeps an eye on me constantly. At home, I can send her to her crate, but she will just continue to fixate from there"

Actually this is why it's so annoying - it's like 24/7...like having a 2-year old hanging on your shirt going "mom, hey mom, mom, mommie...." all day.

And I'm not a super affectionate owner, like I'm not constantly petting and cuddling her. Not that that's bad, but it's not my personality. She's my pal, not my teddy bear. (Now the cat, is a different story )
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Old 10-13-2008, 02:02 PM
miu
 
Location: MA/NH
17,104 posts, read 34,533,299 times
Reputation: 16148
If you are also taking her to work with you, then maybe you are spending too much time with her? And maybe it's her breeding. If she's part sheltie, then she will have a tendency to be a natural watchdog/herder over her flock... and that would be you, again! Have you ever watched the herding competitions? Those dogs never take their eyes off their flock, ever.

My mini poodle mix is very attached to me. He was from the moment I adopted him 4 years ago. The shelter said that he was found abandoned along a road. He's an old thing and now probably almost 15 years old. In the beginning, when I left him home, he would sit by the door and howl his distress. I know this because my live-in boyfriend told me, and also if I forgot something, I would return to the house and hear him singing his tale of woe on the other side of the door. And I adopted two other dogs at the time, one was fostered with him, but their company wasn't enough for him. He didn't take to my boyfriend either. So I am his "one" and while he finally doesn't cry at the door anymore, he is still my little white shadow when I am home. And I accept it. He's a weird little dog, but I'm going to miss him a lot when he goes.

Maybe you can send her off to a doggie daycare once in a while. And since she is only 2 years old, she's still a young dog and might get more relaxed as she matures.
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Old 12-30-2009, 10:51 PM
 
1 posts, read 4,076 times
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Hi Misfitz,

We have 4 dogs. They are great little buddies with the usualy problems every now and then. We have spent great amounts of money to train our dogs.

One of our dogs is focused on my partner. No-one else but my partner. The fixation is a serious problem. The dog even stalks my partner at great lengths.
It is very unhealthy for the dog - I even have found the dog climbing the brick work outside to see in the window to get a "FIX".

After counsulting with a dog trainer and sending the dog to dog camp for 6 weeks. The dog came back from dog camp a new dog no problem but we have had to really cut down on the love we give this dog.

Unfortunatley 3 weeks after dog camp - the problem is back! Not as bad as it was but starting to come back.

I would love to hear how you have gone with the fixation problem.
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