• Sad Spinning Dog


Q: Angie, Do you have any training tips that you can share with our foster mom? I pulled her foster from a shelter. He is a beautifully bred young (estimated to be around 18 months old) male collie. He was a stray and my thoughts are that he was set free because he is crypt orchid. He circles a lot and the pads on his feet are sore and cracked…..hence I feel he was a breeder’s dog. What can you advise to Sandy to redirect his circling?

Thanks, Cheryl, Powell, Ohio

A: Hi Cheryl, If I was rehabilitating this dog, I would keep him with me on a leash for a few days. Of course, never leave a tied dog alone. Be with him all the time. Every time he would start to spin, I would say “NO” and kind of poke (no hitting ever!) his hip so that it stopped him or even pushed him a little in the opposite direction of his spin. So, if he was spinning clockwise, I would poke him to push him back counterclockwise a little. There should be no other words associated with this correction. The correction should be done in a firm but respectful way…..no yelling, leash jerking or frustration. She should set aside a weekend (if she works outside the home) to work on this one behavior modification technique. That way, the human doesn’t get frustrated if they are of the mind set to dedicate those two days to giving the dog the guidance and redirection he needs. This is similar to the 3 days taken to implement the techniques used in 3 Dog Days Usually, these types of odd behaviors, habits and obsessions develop because no human has ever decided to extinguish it. The dog must be shown, in a respectful way, that this is simply “not allowed.” This behavior is not allowed. I would not associate any treats or praise when the dog stops after the correction. That can confuse dogs and make it worse. The dogs sometimes think, “well, I get excited, I spin like this, she stops me, then I get a treat. I will repeat this scenario.” Instead, there should just be the guidance and then the parent walks away or, picks up the lead and walks to the next place etc. Just clearly disagree and move on. Also, I suspect that it’s excitement that makes him start into the spin. There is excitement and then to release the excitement or energy, the dog spins. So, lots of other exercise and keeping excitement down (no high voice excited baby talk) is needed. Give him bully bones to chew or a toy filled with peanut butter at different times through the day to help him release some pent up energy. The parent should go out of her way to calmly pet or praise him anytime she catches him being quiet or calm.

About the Author:

I’m going to expose myself to you. I’m generally a fairly private person, so this kind of mass, personal exposure causes me some discomfort. However, I’m also a very straight forward person and I don’t shy away from the truth – I’m always happy to share anything I’ve discovered with others in the hope they can also benefit. My greatest desire, my absolute passion, is to change the world for dogs; and in order to do this, I must tell you my story. My journey started, like too many others, doing my best to ride out a very dysfunctional, abusive childhood. How I survived it, how I coped, was to escape into the natural world. I spent every moment I could, observing and caring for my much-loved pets. My family and friends would later remark they rarely saw me without, a cat, dog, guinea pig, horse, goat or rat! In my teens, I became obsessed with researching and planning how I could make things better for animals and protect them from abuse. Adulthood brought a career in real estate and construction and then the gift of two fantastic sons. My focus was on raising my boys to be kind, resilient, happy young men. Through the years, though, I was rehabilitating rescue dogs one or two at a time…the more difficult the case, the more I learned. The dogs were teaching me. I was honing my techniques until I was consistently able to cure dogs and bring back a happy dog mind. Like most moms, I did push myself too hard on all fronts and stress was my constant companion – eventually leading to a decade of various health challenges. I was very busy, and out of necessity, I developed a high tolerance for pain and kept pushing myself forward. Eventually, the universe dealt me a hand that would break me and demand I sit up and take notice. The short version is I was finally diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia, a rare condition that delivers excruciating nerve pain in the form of “lightening strikes” in the face. I typical had around 30 strikes a day, which varied based on the number and types of incapacitating, medications prescribed to help me endure…to help me stay alive. Trigeminal neuralgia causes what is generally described as the “worst pain known to man ” and “the suicide disease.” If I tried to eat or speak, I got a strike. If I tried to brush my teeth, I got a strike. If I tried to go outside in the wind, I got a strike. I think one of the most devastating parts was not being able to cry…even crying brought a lighting bolt through my mouth. TN steals your life through extreme physical pain and starvation; and terrorizes you emotionally. After enduring it for 5 years, bedridden for the last six months, it was clear I wasn’t going to survive. The details of what happen next are extremely personal, but I was utterly aware I was living my final few days in this world. I had fought, furiously, to stay alive for my boys, but I felt the last energy from my cells slip away. I had lost my last battle. At that moment, I left most of my physical body and pierced the veil between our world and another world. I was instantaneously pain free and completely at peace; but it was not to be. How I was saved, though, is a whole other story. I will just tell you that I was not allowed to fully leave this world; while simultaneously and without my knowledge, a completely random set of circumstances and people were coming perfectly together to my rescue. By the next day, I was rushed to Pittsburgh for emergency brain surgery, preformed by gifted surgeons I had never met. I awoke from the ordeal completely cured…and with a clear directive. I was the recipient of a miracle; and I was to use this second chance to make the world a much better place for dogs. I realized I had to figure out, no matter how difficult, a way to spread this desperately needed information about the dog mind and heart everywhere! No longer was it just ok to save one dog at a time or help one family at a time. I had to make videos with clear, concise, common sense techniques and information; and get them into the hands of every dog parent. I will never stop working and advocating for dogs until my second chance time here is over. Please join me on this journey and help me spread the word!

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