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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A few days ago my husband opened the door of a utility closet on our screened in patio to get something. It's a closet that's rarely ever opened so I don't think our dog, Rusty, had seen inside of it before, but since that day he has become obsessed with this closet. He stands outside of it with his nose pressed to the door begging to be let in. He will stand there endlessly. Eventually he will start to whine, this will escalate into very dramatic whining and then finally he'll get worn out and lay down and sleep in front of the closet. If either of us get up to walk around he'll jump up press his nose to the door and the whole cycle begins again.

The first time he did this we opened the closet and let him sniff around thinking that would satisfy his curiosity and we'd be done with it, but if anything that seems to have made it worse. We even took out the few items that were in there, let him see and smell everything and explore the empty closet, but as far as I could tell he would not have voluntarily left the closet. I suspect that there might have been some kind of critter in there at some point as he was standing with his nose to the floorboards sucking in air like he was trying to scent something. The closet is right above another one just like it on the first floor of our apartment building, so maybe it's something the neighbor has in his closet down below. I just don't know.

What should we do though? We've always been in the habit of leaving the patio door open (warm climate), so that Rusty can go in and out as he pleases. He used to enjoy napping in the sunbeams out there, but now he just stands in front of the closet door. If we close the door to the patio he just stands in front of that closed door and does the same thing. We've tried distracting him with toys and snacks, but it doesn't work. We take him for walks and the first thing he does when we come in is run as fast as he can to the closet. It sounds funny I guess, but he's clearly stressed out about this somehow and it's really beginning to worry and stress us out as well.

We have a vet appointment scheduled for Monday. We want to talk about possibly, finally trying some type of medication to deal with Rusty's reactivity. We've put a lot of time and effort into training and it has worked to some extent, but we feel that something more is needed. So yeah, vet appointment Monday, but that's almost a week away and we're not sure how to best deal with this in the meantime. I thought his obsession would run it's course or he would just get tired of it, but it's been 3 days now and he's still very intense about the closet.
 

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There is likely mice/rats/vermin of some sort in the floor or wall of that closet or the one below. You are lucky he doesn't go crazy digging at it and biting the walls or floor to get at whatever it is (my older dog would excavate to the center of the earth for a mouse!).

Other than redirecting and cutting off access, there may be little you can do to dissuade your dog from wanting to do what dogs do!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
There is likely mice/rats/vermin of some sort in the floor or wall of that closet or the one below. You are lucky he doesn't go crazy digging at it and biting the walls or floor to get at whatever it is (my older dog would excavate to the center of the earth for a mouse!).

Other than redirecting and cutting off access, there may be little you can do to dissuade your dog from wanting to do what dogs do!
Yeah, I feel like that's the situation. He does have a strong prey drive. I feel lucky that it seems to be limited to only a couple of critters. Our walks would be a real misery if he was interested in ducks or squirrels. He's being maybe just a little bit less intense today, just a little. We're going to take him to the beach tonight and wear him out as best we can, probably tomorrow too if the weather holds out. Thanks for reminding me to feel grateful that he's not being destructive. That would indeed be a problem.
 
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