Thursday, August 26, 2010

Andy's OCD

Andy has done many things that made me think “This dog is crazy as hell.” One of them was his compulsion to sniff at objects at his eye-level. It just so happened that my mom was going through her great spending spree around the time Andy was a puppy and into his early adulthood. Labs are curious by nature; they will notice and smell any new object in their home, or they will smell objects moved to another place in the room, even if only by a few feet. Labs will notice it and take a closer look. So, while my mom was in her Great Spending Spree, Andy had ample opportunity for his sniffing compulsion to display itself.

It also happened that my mom liked to buy top-heavy objects for decorations and place them all around the den and living room. Because of these objects’ high center of gravity, these objects moved easily when touched and would even rock back and forth when nudged by just a little. When the objects would move after Andy sniffed at them, Andy would either become startled at the objects unexplained movement, or Andy would become scared and jump back. The vacuum cleaner has always been a source of frustration and wonder for Andy. He has always been scared of it, but he can’t help but to sniff at the wand on my mom’s canister style vacuum. Sometimes the handle would lie precariously on top of the vacuum so it didn’t take much for the wand to fall to the ground sending Andy into a tizzy. He knows what a vacuum cleaner is but yet he can’t help to sniff at it.

If all Andy did was to sniff the objects and walk away, I wouldn’t have noticed this behavior. However, Andy was intrigued by the objects that moved when he smelled them leading him to keep nudging the object at least 3 or 4 times in a matter of a couple of minutes. He would sniff it again and again and again. It was an odd combination of fear and fascination that drove this compulsion of his. Of course with me being the person I am, I would often move objects around by just a little so I could watch Andy go through his routine. It kept him busy and brought me entertainment.

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