Is My Dog Chasing Ghosts?

1930511_22257439868_2684_nWe know that dogs have better hearing than humans do when it comes to higher pitched sounds.. but what about sight?

According to a study in “Psychology Today” most dogs have 20/75 vision- compared to our vision which is 20/20 (unless you have the Firfer genes and it’s 20/I can’t see a thing).

Scientists also think dogs are somewhat color blind.. the way the nerves function in their brains doesn’t allow them to see red and green the way we do. I know what you are thinking.. this is remarkable, because they still manage to eat the low hanging ornaments off the Christmas Tree.

So what in the heck is going on with Kashmir?

My Bully Pit is a ‘shadow chaser’. You know the type.. who just sits there and all of sudden starts chasing.. nothing.

My husband Shawn calls her a ghost hunter.. her brother Barnsley has a different reaction altogether.

Now let me preface this by saying Barnsley, our Black and Tan Coonhound, is ‘special’. He has problems of his own.. that’s for another blog. But being skittish to begin with, doesn’t help him deal with Kashmir who sees ‘things’.

The minute she starts her quirky visions.. he is out. Literally.. Out of the room. It’s almost as if he knows something….. Now I am the first to be a skeptic, but sometimes I think Kashmir is playing with the pets of our past. Yep.. the dearly departed, and there have been many.

I did a little research and learned that dogs who chase shadows can suffer from compulsive behavior. This can be born from stress or anxiety. In our case, I can guarantee you, this dog lives the most stress free life of any creature. But it can also be a sign of boredom.

Now, this is definitely possible in our world. Shawn and I have full time jobs and when we get home- often times it’s just throwing the ball in the backyard for exercise. So, I have started to engage in what we call “diversion therapy”. When she starts to chase those ghostly shadows- I start to chase her. Yup- full speed around the house, we play ‘cat and mouse’ until one of us poops out (or knocks over a vase).

Now we are lucky her shadow chasing is not a regular occurrence—and I’m not gonna lie- sometimes it’s really funny. But I know there are dogs who have more serious issues. In those cases- an animal behaviorist is your best friend.

As for Kashmir, her occasional bouts of capture the flag- where there really is no flag- are harmless. After all, who doesn’t have the moment of ‘freakout’ when they see a shadow move next to them? Uh- huh- that ‘phantom spider’- you know what I’m talking about.

More on shadow chasing here... 

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Positively Expert: Holly Firfer

Holly is an Emmy-nominated journalist and a correspondent for CNN. She is active in many charities and actively raises money for cancer research and animal shelters. Holly co-hosts the Positively Podcast and was featured in an episode of 'It's Me or the Dog'.


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