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Canine Behavior/Anxiety over food


Hello, We have a Staffordshire Bull Terrier who is about 14 years old and she has been with us since she was 12 weeks.

The problem is that over the past 6 months she has started to become obsessed with food. Whenever any of the family make a move towards the kitchen or has food of any kind, she gets so anxious. She'll start shaking violently and panting. She isn't able to settle down until she has checked all the rooms in the house for scraps. She won't sleep at night if she hasn't done this. It gets her in such a state and it's quite distressing to see. She has always been well fed and we feed her at a certain time each day. If she can she'll force her way into anything she can like bins or cupboards.

Also recently she's started weeing all over the place. I don't know whether this is just a sign of old age or linked to the anxiety.

Thank you.

If at all possible, I ask you to call the veterinary teaching hospital in your geographical area, even if it is a few hours' drive away, and make an appointment with a Veterinary Behaviorist.  Perhaps they may be able to direct you to such an expert closer to your home.

Your dog appears to be suffering some cognition failure, and that does present in various and odd behaviors, as well as sudden inappropriate urination.  There is medication available to treat this condition and it will help your dog immensely to be as much "herself" as she is able.  Fourteen is approaching end of life.  As a loving and wonderful dog owner, you do want to make her end of life experience as comfortable as possible.  See this:

My Whippet (I was Whippet rescue in tri-state NY area for years and have had many Whippets), Bianca, lived to age SIXTEEN (almost seventeen), unheard of in that breed.  She walked with me every day (along with one of the other dogs in my household, chosen randomly) for years and had a very strong heart.  Unfortunately, her cognition began to fail badly at about age twelve.  She urinated in her bed while sleeping; she shook violently in fear for no reason; she wandered off if not carefully watched - much like a very elderly Human suffering dementia.  Medication did help her but, ultimately, her suffering was so great I had to make the most difficult decision any lover of dogs must make: quality of life.  Your dog may go on for a few years or she may also be exhibiting signs of serious illness.  See a Veterinary Behaviorist, have all the tests necessary (and s/he should require at LEAST a comprehensive blood chemistry), and do your best.  Please use followup feature to let me know what the Vet did and said.  And remember:  you have given this wonderful dog (The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is one of my favorites) a wonderful life and, when your veterinarian brings up the Quality of Life issue, you will pay attention.

Canine Behavior

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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