Stereotypies are persistent, repetitive, non-goal oriented movements and are considered abnormal behaviors, or behaviors indicative of an abnormal environment. It is seen as a sign of psychological distress in animals. Once these behaviors are established, they are sometimes impossible to eliminate due to alterations in the brain.
Animals displaying these behaviors in a zoo environment are considered to be suffering and the environment is considered abnormal and inhumane. It is important not only to learn to recognize these behaviors in our shelter dogs, but to take urgent action to stop the suffering.
1. Managing Stress
Dogs who are sheltered for any length of time can start to experience stress related problems such as charging the front of the kennel, self-mutilation, spinning, barking, weight loss, etc. Mental stimulation in the form of training and learning can lower stress levels while maintaining and enhancing adoptability.