Monday, February 15, 2010

Compulsive behavior

We own a tail-chasing dog.

Tasha spins on certain occasions, such as when her preferred person comes home and is mobbed by all and sundry instead of focusing exclusively on her. She spins when she wants her dinner prepared. She spins when she wishes to leave her boarding kennel, which leads to injuries when she's there for more than a couple of days.

However, the dinner preparation starts to look like a cargo cult. She sees me pick up the food dishes, goes into a back room, and spins like the washing machine on the wringer cycle. There is soon food; therefore the ritual has worked.

The past few meals, we've made her come and lie in the kitchen while we scoop kibble and dole out supplements. Her obedience is good enough for down-stay to be effective. I'm hoping her basic intelligence, which generally seems pretty good, will eventually twig to the idea that the food is made even when she is not wearing holes in the rug and her pads.

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