When Barking Becomes a Compulsion: Canine Tourettes Syndrome

When Barking Becomes a Compulsion: Canine Tourettes Syndrome

Dogs are known for their barking, but what happens when barking becomes a compulsion? Canine Tourettes Syndrome, also known as Canine Compulsive Disorder, is a neurological disorder that affects dogs, causing them to perform repetitive and often meaningless behaviors. In this article, we will explore the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of Canine Tourettes Syndrome, as well as how to live with a dog with this disorder.

Canine Tourettes Syndrome is a relatively rare disorder, affecting approximately 1-3% of dogs. The disorder is characterized by repetitive and involuntary movements, such as barking, spinning, tail chasing, and licking. These behaviors are often performed in response to stress or anxiety and can interfere with the dog’s daily life.

The causes of Canine Tourettes Syndrome are not fully understood, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some breeds are more prone to the disorder than others, such as Bull Terriers, Doberman Pinschers, and German Shepherds. Trauma, such as abuse or neglect, can also contribute to the development of the disorder.

Diagnosing Canine Tourettes Syndrome can be challenging, as there is no specific test for the disorder. A physical examination, behavioral observation, and laboratory tests may be used to rule out other medical conditions. A diagnosis is typically made based on the dog’s history and symptoms.

Treatment for Canine Tourettes Syndrome typically involves a combination of medications and behavioral therapy. Medications such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs may be prescribed to help reduce the dog’s compulsive behaviors. Behavioral therapy, such as desensitization and counter-conditioning, can help the dog learn new coping strategies. Environmental management, such as reducing stressors in the dog’s environment, can also be helpful.

Living with a dog with Canine Tourettes Syndrome can be challenging, but there are coping strategies that can help. Support groups for owners of dogs with the disorder can provide emotional support and practical advice. Quality of life for the dog and the owner can be improved by providing a structured routine, plenty of exercise, and positive reinforcement training.

In conclusion, Canine Tourettes Syndrome is a rare but challenging disorder that affects dogs. Early diagnosis and treatment are important for improving the dog’s quality of life. While there is no cure for the disorder, there is hope for a better future through ongoing research and advancements in treatment options.


1. Can Canine Tourettes Syndrome be cured?
There is currently no cure for Canine Tourettes Syndrome, but treatment can help manage the dog’s symptoms.

2. Is Canine Tourettes Syndrome hereditary?
There is evidence to suggest that genetics may play a role in the development of Canine Tourettes Syndrome.

3. Can Canine Tourettes Syndrome be prevented?
Preventing Canine Tourettes Syndrome is difficult, but providing a stable and stress-free environment for the dog can help reduce the risk of developing the disorder.

4. Can a dog with Canine Tourettes Syndrome live a normal life?
With proper treatment and management, a dog with Canine Tourettes Syndrome can live a relatively normal life.

5. Can Canine Tourettes Syndrome be fatal?
Canine Tourettes Syndrome is not fatal, but it can significantly impact the dog’s quality of life if left untreated.

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