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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In the past...I'm not sure how long...Xerxes has started flank sucking. It's not uncommon in Dobermans (of which he is not, obviously) as an expression of OCD.

I likely have slacked on his exercise etc - I run with him sporadically, that sort of thing. I need to do it more. We got back from a 6-day camping trip and he didn't do it at all.

He's always been a high-strung dog.

Anyways, he's not hurting himself. Which is good. We've trialled a few types of anti-anxiety supplements, to no end. Our vet said, we know you guys are doing the right stuff, we'd rather not put him an anti-depressant right now (we don't want that either). I don't think we actually ARE doing all the right stuff.

So, I need to run more, so does he. And I signed him up for an online obedience course starting later this month. Now what I'm doing whenever I see him flank sucking (we don't want to reinforce), I call him over and we do some fun obedience work.

Poor guy. I feel bad. He's so loving and full of love for life.
 

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Presumably you've checked that he doesnt have a bite or tick in that area..? Do you really think its all about exercise? I agree with you about not wanting to give him anti anxiety medications.. now here's something you could try..certainly off label but cant hurt...Cytopoint injection which is for scratching itching etc..it might help calm that behavior.
Another thought..any chance he has an injury and he's trying to relieve the pain?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks @Cassie

I raised it at his annual at the end of May and the vet did a solid going over - definitely no ticks and no signs of bites. We didn't see anything either. He did have VERY full anal glands (but not infected) which the vet emptied and hoped that was it. We waited a bit to see if that would help before trying the supplements and it made no difference. I was going to take him back later this month and have them check his anal glands again, though under normal circumstances they'd still be fine.

No signs of limping or sensitivity in palpitation in terms of injury. I'll raise the cytopoint with the vet, that's a good idea.

He's definitely getting less exercise (or has been). I've struggled with motivation with the pandemic. But I don't know that it is that much less. I don't know, to be honest. I think we were more active before the pandemic.

Interestingly, that he didn't flank suck while we were camping. Lots more fresh air, lots of exercise, so perhaps it is a lifestyle thing. I feel bad that I haven't met his needs.
 

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Check his butt for irritation since he's had gland problems.. try wiping it with witch hazel. Im thinking he's trying to relieve some feeling thats bothering him....
Cassie sends him hugs...hope that helps...:love:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Good tip, thanks Cassie. He doesn't bite, he just wraps his mouth and his flank and kind of sucks. I have to go to the pet store today anyways (our cat litter scoop broke, yuck) so I will look for something. Maybe I will see if I can figure out how to express his anal glands at home (that's always been something I've been willing to pay for, lol). His butt looks normal, but heck, maybe that's it.

Aww, he swooned at Cassie's hugs. He says, she's my favourite girl 😍
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
He's doing okay actually. I've been running with him a bunch - haven't been feeling well the last couple of days, but he's gotten some walks even still. I'm hoping to run with him later today.

That has helped, I think, and any time he starts sucking, we start training.

I'd sent Toby to the pet store for the cat litter scooper and forgot about the wipes, so we still need to get those.

But I'm definitely seeing improvement!

Thanks for checking in :)
 

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Sam always grabs his stuffed toy, currently a shark that is pretty big. In the past he has had teddy bears and stuffed dogs the size of himself. He always grabs this toy when I come home after he has been in his crate and suckles it. I think it comforts him, sort of like a kid sucking his thumb. Can you try getting him a stuffed toy big enough for him to lay on almost as he would his mother. Sam is nearly two and three quarters and I am sure he does not do this to get milk. I have to cut the ears, tail and anything else he can chew off and swallow, which he will do it he gets the chance, then either barfed it up or threw it up.
42267
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks @windy! Unfortunately Xerxes tears up soft toys, he doesn't suckle them. It'd be a great solution. We've even had to get special dog beds (Kuranda) he's so determined, regular 'tough' dog beds were no match.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Would having a playmate cheer her up?
He lives with two other dogs. They all get along well, so that doesn't help either.
 
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