Puppy Paranoia

The dog bounced up and down at the back door as if he wanted to jump through the window glass, absolutely frantic to get outside.

Well, if he’d heard another dog, then we certainly didn’t want to let him out. We tried to distract him with a chunk of banana in his Kong, but he would not be consoled or diverted. Agitated and full of dread, he cowered around the edges of the room looking over his shoulder at an unseen menace, following Ann into the laundry room. Pressed into the angle between the washing machine and dryer, he hid his head in her robe.

“What in the world has gotten into the dog?” we both wondered out loud.

“Maybe he’s sick and needs to do something outside we wouldn’t be happy for him to do inside” I suggested, but we hoped he wouldn’t bolt off down the road when we opened the back door for him, after another dog. Or a bear.

But no, it was more a matter of him avoiding inside than being attracted to something outside. He trod straight to the far side of the drive, up by the bank, and just sat there looking back toward the house, trembling.

Landscapes from Floyd County, Southwest Virginia, Blue Ridge Mountains by Fred First After five minutes or so, he hadn’t budged. So. It wasn’t to puke or poop he wanted out so badly. I called him in. He refused. I threatened. He refused. How very odd. I gave up and left him peering fretfully at the back door as I closed it to get back to whatever it was I was doing at the computer.

An icon had apparently been flashing on the toolbar while we were in conversation in the kitchen and the dog in the front room in his usual position between the computer and wood stove. Instant message–not something that happens often around here. It was only about a week ago a GoogleTalk chat invitation came in, and the little BaBink! notification sound went off, and the dog…

So THAT’S it! There is something about that sound that makes him crazy. Now that I think about it, he acted nuts like this then, and I figured out it was the GoogleTalk sound. Doesn’t seem very high pitched to me, and it certainly doesn’t imitate another creature’s growl or bark. But whatever it is, the dog loathes it, and when offered a chance to come back inside yesterday, he made a bee line for the pen, and put himself in Puppy Jail rather than come in.

Hmmmm. We tend to reward the good rather than punish the bad behavior, but heck, the avoidance of hearing a Ba-Bink! recording would be a powerful inticement to one certain dog I know to comply with commands. But nah. What will happen is that I’ll keep my speakers turned off from now on lest we have a dog that needs psychological counceling twice a week.

I actually am thinking about “rewarding” him for tolerating such sounds, Pavlovian-style. I’ll keep some kibble at the desk, just in case. Might work. I’ll let you know.

Anybody else have a “dog sounds” story similar to this? Tell me Tsuga is not alone in his weirdness.

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6 thoughts on “Puppy Paranoia”

  1. My Sheltie will bark at the sweeper and at leaves blowing past the window, but I think he’s pretty much resigned to electronics and the 21st Century in general. I expect yours will get habituated to the babink eventually.

  2. The good news is you can turn off that sound! Go to your “settings” and adjust – before the dog goes mad.. 🙂

  3. I tried clicker training for the 2dogs we have now (we got them as adults, so figured that would be a good way to go). Turns out Missy is scared to death of that sound. Kind of put the kibosh on training either dog that way!

  4. TELL TSUGA HELLO FOR ME!!

    AS MICHELLE SAYS, MAYBE SOUND OFF, OR CHANGE THE SOUND. THERE MIGHT BE A LESS HARSH SOUND TO FIND IN THE SETTINGS. I TRIED THE RINGING SOUND FOR MY E-MAIL, AND THAT LASTED ONE DAY, IT NEARLY DROVE MY NUTS. I CAN UNDERSTAND THE DOG’S REACTION.

    MARK

  5. The pup surely is not alone in his fearful reaction to a certain sound. Our Jenny understands a good number of words we frequently use. There is one she is so fearful of, all we need do is speak it and she is gone, up to the bedroom and under the covers if the bed isn’t made yet. The word is “Machine” and to her canine mind it means one of our vacuum cleaners is about to come to life and that knowledge is more than she can bear.

    She is afraid of thunderstorms and heavy rain on the roof. She goes into fits should the power go out and the constant power supply on top of my computer cabinet should make it’s beeping noise to let me know that I need to shut down the computer while I can before turning it off until the power comes back on.

    Just pretend that you are going to get the vacuum out of the closet and she is only a vapor in the wind of fright.

    I hope your pup never gets to the point of needing calming drops as our Jenny does.

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