Can dogs have autism?

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Fred R
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Can dogs have autism?

Post by Fred R » Tue Nov 21, 2017 9:44 pm

Following a course on the Autism Spectrum in people I was wondering whether there might be canine autism. Google to the rescue! Lots of interesting articles, like this one:

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Re: Can dogs have autism?

Post by MrsP » Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:06 pm

Autism is a triad of impairments not only two as the article suggests and the descriptions of indicators are incorrect.
I think a lot of things that help people with autism like routine, clear signals/expectations, structure and physical exercise also help dogs too, but that is from sharing the same challenge of living in a world they struggle to undestand that's run by humans that make minimal effort to understand them. I don't believe dogs have the cognitive ability to have autism.
I do believe dogs can have mental health issues and brain disorders though.

Fred R
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Re: Can dogs have autism?

Post by Fred R » Wed Nov 22, 2017 11:21 pm

Both humans and dogs have brains with millions of neurons which are in charge of participating in the functions related to the nervous system and hence cognitive functions. There is general agreement that people with autism are ‘wired’ differently, so why shouldn't a dog's brain on occasion be wired differently. People with autism usually show either hyper-sensitivity or hypo-sensitivity to touch, light, taste, noise etc. Ruby could said to be hypo-sensitive and Peppermint hyper-sensitive to firework bangs. Obviously their different reactions to loud bangs could be due to something entirely different. Just a fleeting thought [0128.gif]

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Re: Can dogs have autism?

Post by sweetpea » Fri Nov 24, 2017 7:13 am

I agree with you Fred ...we have been doing a lot of research into the possibility of dogs having autistic traits ...
I have 2 grandchildren who have autism both having different needs. ....i have attended lots of courses over the past 5 years to understand autism and how autistic children see the world. is a real eye opener a d now when i see a child who appears to be having a tantrum i Do not judge as that child could be autistic. ..because both of my grandchildren look normal people think they are just naughty grandaughter often gets called weird and the saddest thing is she just accepts thats how people view her ....
I watched the documentary on chris packham and his autism. was honest and really heartfelt ...

We have Sid a Jack russell terrier that we got from wales 2 and half years ago he was an unsold working pup ...he was 12 weeks when we collected him ...he has never been hurt in his life but he is a bundle of nerves and anxieties. ....he doesn't like certain noises, smells or lighting....we have had scans done to see if he had a brain tumour ...nothing showed up ...the vet said this is just him and his personality. ...he shows the canine equivalent to being on the autistic spectrum. ......we started to do different things with him like we have with the grandchildren and certain things have worked. ...

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Re: Can dogs have autism?

Post by RosC » Mon Dec 18, 2017 9:25 pm

I'm not an expert on autism but I do think that anything that highlights that we are all individual and react to things in different ways can only be a good thing. There is no reason why dogs' behaviours are not as complex as humans and so long as we listen and react to their behaviour (whether inborn or reactive to their history) then we can learn to understand them as individuals and hopefully improve the outcomes for all our dogs.
I think that is one of the many things that makes our rescue an amazing place, that we treat all dogs as they come, try to understand them and don't impose our expectations on them.
I know how much interaction with animals can help autistic children so I am sure that positive interaction with humans will affect any dog with behaviour issues whatever the reason. thumbs.gif

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Re: Can dogs have autism?

Post by Deborah » Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:41 am

I agree with MrsP. I see where you're coming from but I still think it's silly 'I think miko is dyslexic like me because I've tried teaching him to read and write but he just doesn't get it, I'd love him to be my pa and do my banking for me but he just doesn't have any concept of organisation or mathematics. All he wants to do is eat, sleep and play. Something must be wrong.' 0002.gif] they are very social creatures so it's extreme personification of animals. I know some aspershic people and non verbal autistic adults...I also know a bit about neuroscience... Lots of new understanding coming from fmri... Without looking at research I think Dogs are more 'autistic' than humans by nature but that's because most of their brain is used for prosessing smell and other sences. They don't have the developed frontal lobe for reasoning and language like humans and they are only man's best friend because we evolved together. We're not remotely geniticly simular. Pigs, elephants, dolphins are just a few mammals smarter than dogs... It's easy to imagine and even train human traits into dogs, eg I've accidentally caused miko to be wary of bubblebees and small dogs because I get stressed when he's around them, not a bad thing that he avoids dangers that he doesn't naturally understand are dangerous. He'd be more scared if he got injured.
Rescue animals are not damaged they have just experienced more in life. If they were human we would call them wise.

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