So called "fly catching" often starts out as a conflict response. Sometimes this begins when people talk or otherwise interact with the dog in a way that communicates the person isn't able to cope. For example, many people talk baby talk around little dogs unmindful that this is the same as telling the dog he/she is responsible for protecting that person. Dogs who lack the physical and/or mental ability to handle that may become overwhelmed and snap at the air because they don't want to snap at what they consider a real threat because they don't want to get hurt themselves.
Additionally, ff owners and others react to this behavior, that reinforces it because it's to the benefit of these dogs to keep their owners focused on them because they're easier to protect that way. So distressed owner reacts to scared dog and reinforces the dog's stress which causes the dog to bite more which stresses the owner more which causes the dog to bite more, etc.
Then at some point, someone says, "That dog is neurotic and should be put on drugs!" While that may be true, it will only help if the underlying cause of the problem is addressed and the owners learn to calm down, too. :-) If the changes aren't made, the behavior can become compulsive and may cause other problems.
Always remind yourself that we've been breeding dogs for thousands of years to take their cues from us. It's very difficult for them to remain calm and confident when we're not. This is especially true for the small companion dogs who have been bred to pay attention to even the most subtle changes in us. That's good news for us when we're setting a good example and communicate to them that we're more than capable of taking care of ourselves, all our belongings, and whatever befalls them or us. But it's not so good if we inadvertently via babytalk or other subordinate-communicating gestures communicate that all that responsibility falls on them.
t5hank you for the info. tink had a bad fall and almost died when she was 6 months old .and since then she has been protected and babied she my special girl . i always feel that if the time comes and she pass i've given her the best life she could possibly have wanted.
Even though behavioral considerations should be accounted for, there is a greater likelihood that this "fly-biting" is the result of some type of epileptic seizure pattern in your dog. Dogs do not have to show the violent convulsive activity for all seizure activity.
She should have a complete examination by your veterinarian or even a veterinary neurologist if there is one near you.
The information about the fall changes things, but I still wouldn't overlook making the behavioral and bond changes even if a brain problem is diagnosed and she's put on medication. In humans, studies indicate that at least 20% of the epileptic seizures are pseudo-seizures, i.e. of behavioral origins, even in those diagnosed with epilepsy. The problem is that they look identical to real ones. Given my experience working with dogs with seizures--some of whom are referred to me by a vet neurologist--adding these changes to any medication is worth a try. At worst, they won't work. At best, they'll help the animal and reduce the number of seizures and/or the amount of medication needed to control them.
Also keep a journal of when the episodes occur as well as what was going on in the 24 hours before it to see it you can determine anything that might be triggering the behavior. For example, dogs who get very excited before a walk or when people enter may be more likely to engage in this behavior. The increased activity associated with the holiday season may trigger more of this behavior, too.
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