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Discussion Starter #1
Is it possible?

I swear Remington has Autism. He rarely looks at me. If I pet him, he looks away. If I hold his head in my hands and tell him to look at me, he does very quickly and looks away. He tries to bury his head sometimes or reposition himself to avoid looking at me.

Now, I realize I'm not the best looking gal in the world, but his behavior has always baffled me.

He also always barks at me when I have to do something to the other dogs (like medicate Ruger's ears, or pull a tick off Magnum). It really upsets him.

I'm sure he loves me. He's my little tunnel man and we do have great times together. He's just really weird about these things.
 

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Some dogs will stare you right in the eyes, and others avoid eye contact. From what I observed, it has nothing to do with their personality (submissive or dominant), focus, or anything else.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I got him as a puppy. I've known him since he was born. He's just an odd duck about certain things. I still love him to pieces, he's my really sweet boy, but it seems the older he gets the more I notice this stuff (not that he's all that old at 2 years, but you know what i mean).

He is normal in most respects, I don't think he actually has anything physically wrong with him.

He's also a terrible screamer. If I have to do anything to him, (like medicate his ears or pull a tick off him). he screams like a little girl. It's rather... embarrassing. Silly boy!
 

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Emilu is like this (but she is full of quirks too). If I have food, or treats, or she wants to go out, she can stare a hole through me, but when you try to pet her, or get her close, she does what my husband calls the "Stevie Wonder Act", looking away, first one direction, then the other. She is very close to me, but really can't look me in the face, and while she likes attention, I can tell it makes her very nervous to sit and get petted. Skippy on the other hand, can stare adoringly at me forever, as long as you are petting him and loving on him. I think the not looking is a level of submission, but that doesn't necessarily mean the dog is a very submissive dog. It's just one thing that reminds us that they are animals with instincts of their own. Hope your quirkly boy continues to bring joy to your heart :) (oh, and Emilu hates to have you "do things" to her, but once you go get her out of the corner and drag her into the room, she submits nicely and no screaming.)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Pat, Emilu sounds like Remington! I absolutely understand the Stevie Wonder thing!!! Wow, I thought it was my quirky boy. Glad he's not the only quirky dog :)
 

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Emilu is also very sensitive to what happens to other dogs . You can train her not to do some stuff by just having her watch another dog get busted for doing it. Although I found that what I thought was her "concern" for other dogs (especially little dogs) when they squealed with distress at something, was more like "prey drive" - she wasn't worried about the other dogs so much as thinking that maybe they were in distress and might be soon eligible to possibly eat!
 

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Baloo will rarely look at me, unless I've asked for a "watch" or have something he wants, or call his name. If I'm petting him or we're cuddling he's never looking at me. I never thought to think anything of it until visiting Felicia and observing how Henry has his eyes on her 90% of the time. :D
 

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Our first vet at KSU's CollVetMed knew my interest in animal psychology/behavior and invited me (6 years ago?) to a 2 hr. seminar given to the staff and vet students by Elizabeth (___?), DVM, a world authority on "psychiatric disorders" in dogs. (She's from either Tufts' Cummings SVM or the UPenn CVM).

She believes that there are a number of psychiatric disorders that affect people that also have analogs in dogs, such as Obessive-Compulsive Disorders, Anxiety reactions, Depressions, etc. Meds that work for people are also effective for dogs. She stated that she would not be at all surprised to find some day that some dogs have schizophrenic reactions.

SO-o-o, if that's true, why not autistic reactions?

That would be really great, if true -- perhaps then we could discover a cause (and eventually an amelioration) for the various people autistic disorders in that spectrum.

But there are NO meds known to be effective for autistic disorders.

Raian, I suspect you're right (but without buying in to Dr. E's bias to using psychotropic medications) -- that some of those reactions ARE similar to autistic spectrum disorders, in a mild form.

My best guess is that you should keep doing what you're doing -- accept the tendency without punishment or negativity and experiment to find the ways to alleviate it.

 

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Our Jed's a bit off too. He can be very detached. When he was a wee thing, he rarely cuddled in the puppy piles and instead preferred to sleep alone in the whelping box. He wanted nothing to do with the families visiting when they were picking pups. Even now, though he is very much a part of the family and pack, he is the last to come in the house when called, doesn't listen very well, will spend as much time in his crate as allowed. But he's sweet, trainable, and on the rare occaisons when he feels like loving on you, a HUGE snuggler. But it's all on his terms.

We often wonder if something isn't truly "wrong" with him as it took quite a while for him to be born (we figured he was the last pup on one of the horns tucked way under Grace's rib cage by the length of time it took for him to come out), and when he did appear, his placenta was off already, and it was a bit of an effort to get him to breathe. We think if we weren't 100% involved with helping, he would have not made it.
 

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What a facinating post....and the timing of it is amazing. I was just this evening talking to my neighbor about this topic. I was visiting her new 12 week old Clumber spaniel puppy. The sweetest most engaging pup I have ever seen. And boy did it make my heart sad because that is not the experience I had with Guthrie.

I have struggled to figure out Guthrie's quirky nature and tonight, after visiting this sweet social pup, I was searching the internet once again to see if anyone has experienced what I have.....and then I see your post!!

Autistic is the word that I batted around about a billion times...wondering if it was possible for a dog to be autistic.

I apologize in advance because this is going to be long...some of you already know the story.

Guthrie sounds a lot like Jed. I visited him for the first time at 7 weeks. He was picked for me by the breeder..not really though..I wanted a yellow male...he was the only one available. When I went to meet him for the first time the rest of the litter(7 pups) attacked me with labrador glee while this guy spent the whole time investigating the perimeter of the room....getting stuck several times behind the dog crates. He then went promptly to sleep. Thinking he was possibly sick I visited several days later....no difference. He wandered off by himself in the yard....nothing that I did made him the least bit interested in me....that is...except whistling. That got him intensely focused. Balls too. I found out later he also had a facination with light beams. The sound of a chain used to make him got nuts.

I did not post of his arrival here on the forum for weeks because it was not the happy time for me. He was no different when I brought him home at 8 weeks then he was when we met at 7....preferring to explore the world entirely on his own...not so much as a wag in my direction. If we were in the family room he would retire to the kitchen and visa versa. If I went to the front yard he would be taking off for the back. I was crying every day.

After 2 weeks the breeder offered to take him back. It made me sad because I could not imagine anyone would want a dog like this much less a puppy. I started what I called "wag therapy" with him...laying him beside me and wagging his tail back and forth repeatedly. I am forever grateful for the support I got from Felicia and Molly. Donna(Tucker's mom) got me through a particularly rough part...giving me encouragement and support and also some advise her husband had shared...saying the Indians breath into the noses of horses and then they become one. So I did that. And look who is still here by my side. :) He cured me of my headaches this month...he is my miracle boy.

This quirky boy has his blossomed. I could not ask for a more cuddly, smart, sweet boy. It makes me want to cry thinking I ever thought of getting rid of him.

I do still ache for those weeks of exuberant puppy loving that I missed....that "love at first site" moment that many of you share. Especially when I met someone with a new loving puppy. But I am truly amazed that a puppy so independant, so distant, could become the light of my life.
I am glad to know that I am not the only one who struggled only to find a "diamond" of a dog. It makes my connection with him that much more special.

Linda, sorry for blabbering on about Guthrie. Thank you for posting this. I always assumed all of you out here in JL land had perfectly normal dogs! :)

Remington, Emilu, Jed and Guthrie....proud members of the Quirky crew.
 

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BobPr's post made me want to say the I DO have Emilu on "psych drugs". It is for her dog aggressiveness (mostly small,hairy, terrier dog types) - I also used "behavior modification" using the techniques in "Control Unleashed". She is 95 % better now, and I probably wouldn't have had to do anything except I show her in obedience, and I needed her to not be aggressive towards little barky dogs. She gets along with most dogs, and always loves big dogs, but an aggresive little dog would just set her off. She is also a COMPLUSIVE licker - I always thought it was a type of nervous/submissive behavior too, and I never really tried to stop her - but it is an annoying trait. And while I love her to pieces and would never give her up, I will be doing things a little differently when I pick my next pup. Emilu also wasn't the most friendly pup in the bunch, mostly had her head in the food bowl everytime we went over, but I did see her be friendly to the breeder, so I thought that she would bond with me too ,which she has, but in her quirky, Emilu way.
 

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Baloo will rarely look at me, unless I've asked for a "watch" or have something he wants, or call his name. If I'm petting him or we're cuddling he's never looking at me. I never thought to think anything of it until visiting Felicia and observing how Henry has his eyes on her 90% of the time. :D
That's my little momma's boy. :rolleyes: God bless those big sweet brown eyes.
 

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Maybe Guthrie is just an old soul. Despite everything we knew about Jed, and his aloofness, he WAS the pup that everyone wanted. For him, I think it was a general good looks (can I brag as his momma and his breeder?), but it was odd, everyone gravitated to him, and he would have nothing to do with it. And he is so different from Jack who just has emotion, insaneness, and love gushing out all the time. But when we were faced with selling him, we couldn't. Sometimes it's easier being with Jed than Jack. He's always been calm in the car, and still sits nicely in the back between the 2 seats and looks where we are going, sometimes just buries his nose in my arm. The one on one time with him was always mellow, as we tried to form a bond with him.

Sometimes we dont' get the dogs with think we want, but we end up getting the dogs we need and the ones that belong with us.
 

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BobPr's post made me want to say the I DO have Emilu on "psych drugs".
I have nothing against using psychotropic drugs.

I was just commenting that professionals often go with their training.

E.g., in my experience, psychologists usually leaned toward trying behavior modification or other experiential treatments before referring someone to a psychiatrist for meds. (But a lot depends on the diagnosis -- IMO, NO legitimate psychologist would want to use experiential techniques alone to control schizophrenic or bi-polar, etc., conditions.)

On the other hand, in my experience, psychiatrists very heavily leaned toward using (a) medication(s) first before rarely (if ever), making a referral to a psychologist skilled in using experiential techniques.

I think those same biases (meds first vs. experiential techniques first) are also apparent among those behavioral consultants who are DVMs and those who are psychologists.


 

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Discussion Starter #20
Remington is pretty social with other dogs, and he delights in greeting people who come to our house. Its just the little quirks in his personality, like doing the "Stevie Wonder" thing when I hold/hug him or try to have him look at me, etc.

I don't think meds would be an option, he's not that abnormal... but comparing him to my other dogs, and other dogs I know, he's a bit "off".

Thankfully his little challenges don't hamper his overall good nature. He really is a sweet boy.

Very interesting to hear that others have dogs with quirks as well.

I still call Remington my little A.D.D. boy.
 
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