01854-A: Identifying the Cause of Canine Compulsive Disorder

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $9,180
Clive D.L. Wynne, PhD; University of Florida
July 1, 2012 - July 31, 2013


Breed(s): Border Collie
Research Program Area: Behavior
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Canine Compulsive Disorder (CCD) is a serious health problem that negatively impacts both dogs and their owners. Dogs with CCD engage in repetitive abnormal behavior, often to the point of self-injury. For example, tail-chasing Bull Terriers may injure their tails, wear out their paw pads, and lose weight to an unhealthy degree. Unfortunately, our understanding of the causes of this disorder is limited, and therefore treatments are often not fully effective. Dr. Wynne believes that the first step towards more effective treatments must be a thorough description of the disorder, followed by a clarification of how the general behavioral tendencies of dogs with CCD differ from those of normal dogs. Dr. Wynne will conduct two experiments that will establish an understanding of the behavioral mechanisms leading to CCD: Experiment 1 will assess how dogs' compulsions are maintained by the consequences of this behavior. Experiment 2 will assess how compulsive behaviors are learned in some dogs, but not in the normal population. Their experiments will help explain why certain dogs engage in undesired and unhealthy behaviors by investigating individual behavioral tendencies and environmental factors that lead to the development of CCD. They believe that a better understanding of CCD will lead to novel and more effective treatments.


Hall, N. J., Protopopova, A., & Wynne, C. D. L. (2015). The role of environmental and owner-provided consequences in canine stereotypy and compulsive behavior. Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 10(1), 24–35. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jveb.2014.10.005
Protopopova, A., Hall, N. J., & Wynne, C. D. L. (2014). Association between increased behavioral persistence and stereotypy in the pet dog. Behavioural Processes, 106, 77–81. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2014.04.009

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