Dog Health

Can Dogs Be Autistic?

Readers of the K9 Magazine Dogosaurus may well be benefiting from being able to label the odd behaviours that our dogs present. But labelling something is one thing, understanding the cause is another.

Given that dogs and many other animals have magnificent talents that our human minds can’t fathom or perform, K9 Magazine believes that many dogs may indeed be operating on a completely different mental spectrum to that which is ‘neurotypical’.

Plant, Puppy, Animal

Using the autistic spectrum applied to human behaviour, we have devised a do it yourself test to determine where about on the spectrum your dog may be. Otherwise, how can we explain why the same dog that a person relies on to warn them of an imminent seizure or to detect drugs hidden in a petrol tank, can also be responsible for wanting to ‘kill’ the newspaper or the old classic, chasing the tail.

Whilst the modern maxim ‘there is no such as thing as normal’ carries a lot of truth, there is such a phrase that goes ‘my dog is mad’. For those of us who have dogs that do inexplicably odd, weird, or plain crazy things (most of us then), for which we mere humans cannot find an answer, there may be underlying issues related to your dog's individual neurology.

The autistic spectrum helps people understand the cause and effect of certain mental conditions. Many of these conditions that are applied to humans are to be found in our dogs in slightly modified or basic levels of seriousness, and when we take into account that many people who are placed on the autistic spectrum have extraordinary talents, mental ability and creativity, the idea of understanding why an obviously intelligent dog can also be found tilting his head in confusion at your sneezes affords the canine human relationship a certain clarity.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Dogs (ADHD in Dogs).

Does your dog…

Have difficulty following a simple command such as ‘sit’ or ‘stay’ even though you know he understands you? Perhaps he tries to sit but cannot resist following you.





  1. Linda Glover

    September 15, 2012 at 4:26 am

    I have a biewer yorkie – I think he is the victim of a “puppy mill” – I know he loves me and thinks of me as his “mother” – but he never likes me to touch him…and never comes directly to me when I call him….He will come into the room I call him from, but he will not approach me OR allow me to touch him….he runs away when I try to touch him…….how can I get love from this puppy? he is 3.5 months old…please help me. thanks

  2. Patti Wotton

    October 27, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    I was surprised to find articles on canine autism, as we jokingly call our dog “Rainman”. His Dam was discovered not far from a puppy mill operation with a load of buckshot in the back of her head and ready to whelp 3 pups. She was severly underweight and dehydrated when found by a Keeshond rescue organization. I took one of the pups who is clearly a german shepard/keeshond mix. He’s smart as a whip, but needs to keep to a schedule much like Rainman or he becomes very frightened, flustered and at times aggressive. I have written to Ceasar Millan a few times, but never even get a response. Thanks for the article, it was helpful to know we are not alone.

    • Nancy Houser

      September 4, 2015 at 2:55 pm


      I also am fascinated with the latest research on dog autism. I am posting an article this week on the subject as we have had several requests on the subject. If you need any research on it, in addition to K9 I well help you find it.

      Thank you,

  3. Linda Batcheldor

    July 20, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    I have had my dog for 7 years, he has never got out of his bed in the morning’s to greet me. I found this disconcerting as all my previous dogs always greeted me. Also he does not really show pleasure when family visit other than ripping his bed up. My other dog is all over family visitors when they step through the front door, but Sparky is in the counterpoint testifying out of his bed. We are used to him now, but it’s weird.

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