Calm Down Oscar ~Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Young puppies are characteristically lively and silly, some more than others, by virtue of their immaturity. When a puppy’s amount of energy and motor activity exceeds that regarded as normal and they are always caught digging up flowerbeds, they may be termed hyperactive by their owners. This is a judgment that is determined by the owner’s standards and high expectations of their new dogs. Often puppies are wrongly deemed to be hyperactive when actually, they are just normally active in overall terms but are sometimes cheeky and boisterous at times. This puppy is not actually hyperactive, rather, their naughty owners need some advice about how to handle their puppies unwanted behavior.

Oscar is a truly hyperactive puppy. While he is very naughty at times, Oscar is still a very special and much loved puppy. He has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. This is Oscar’s story.

Mr and Mrs Patterson adopted Oscar from the local pound in the summer of 2015. Oscar’s parents lived in a big house with a beautiful garden in the wealthy suburb of Kensington. It was decided they would adopt a puppy because Mr and Mrs Patterson were unable to have children. From the very beginning, there were lots of teething issues with their new puppy. Oscar would constantly chew up Mrs Patterson’s high heels and had destroyed their yard in his first week at home. Mr and Mrs Patterson made the decision that they would take Oscar to puppy school to teach him some valuable lessons about good doggy behaviour.

TaleofMe_ADHD_1

At school, Oscar was not like the other bouncy energetic puppies. He was truly hyper active. Oscar was more dynamic than all the other puppies in most situations and his ability to heel and walk was greatly impacted by his distractibility.

“Our first lesson today is learning how to sit”, the puppy instructor spoke loudly to the excited class of puppies and their owners. “Ask your puppies to sit clearly and reward them with lots of pats and cuddles”.

The owners asked their pets to sit and all the puppies were patted…except Oscar. An autumn leaf that had blown his way distracted Oscar and he ran off to chase it.

After multiple attempts at sitting nicely, Oscar was just too wriggly and easily preoccupied.

The puppy school instructor walked over to Mr and Mrs Patterson concerned that Oscar was unable to sit. She took them all aside. “It looks as though your puppy Oscar has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. This can happen when your puppies brain neuron circuits fail to self-monitor and self regulate. This can result in your puppy having impaired concentration with a short attention span and distractibility.

I would advise you strongly that as parents, your management of Oscar determines how well he does at school and functions in social situations. He is a lovely puppy but it is important that you actively encourage behavioral and learning progress so he can be the best dog he can be. You need to have clear rules and expectations of Oscar, and consistently reward him when he adheres to the rules and discourage unacceptable behaviour.

If none of these behavioural interventions work, you should take Oscar to the vet. The vet can give him stimulants like dexamphetamine to reduce his excessive activity and improve his attention and focused behaviors.”

With that in mind, I think Oscar will be much better at the next lesson”.

“Okay class, lets move on from sitting. The next lesson is fetch – I want all of you to throw a ball at your puppy and teach them to bring the ball back”.

Oscar’s ears pricked up! He loved to play fetch.

All the owners threw their puppies a ball into Holland Park and Oscar was the first to fetch the ball and bring it back to Mr and Mrs Smith. The teacher was very impressed.

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Oscar slept soundly that night, he was proud of everything he had achieved in puppy school and after Mr and Mrs Patterson gave him lots and lots of pats, he knew he was a much loved animated puppy.

Anna Waldie

For more information about ADHD:

Australian Autism-ADHD Foundation

Provides advocacy, to change government policy and improve funding for treatment and research. Conducts research to determine the most cost effective treatment combinations while promoting effective treatment options for Autism, ADHD and other childhood disorders.

ADHD Foundation UK

The ADHD Foundation, in partnership with individuals, families, doctors, teachers and other agencies, works to build a positive foundation for life, improve life chances through better understanding and management of ADHD, raise awareness & understanding of ADHD – change the negative perception of ADHD into positive and bring about positive change and inclusion within policy and practice.


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