Living on a boat allows Honey to meet some unusual species. Can you guess which one she barks at?
Honey has a weak prey drive.
She’s generally more curious about other animals than she is predatory towards them.
But over the seven years we’ve lived together, I’ve learned not to predict how she’ll respond to a particular species.
She constantly surprises me.
Here are a few animals Honey has engaged with.
Honey loves them.
And she appears sad that they don’t all love her back.
When I’ve introduced her to dog-friendly cats in our Ithaca neighborhood, she remained calm and relaxed. Eventually, she’d get a little excited and try to play-bow to the cat, a move that usually didn’t go well.
There was one black cat that used to join us on walks.
When the kitty finally decided to follow someone else or return home, Honey would look for her missing friend and seemed genuinely disappointed she was gone.
Usually Honey ignored squirrels.
But sometimes, on a cool and windy fall day, Honey would be full of piss and vinegar. She couldn’t resist chasing squirrels.
Not sure why she became so fascinated by squirrels. But her interest seemed purely playful. If she managed to catch one, I’m sure she’d only release it to start the game again.
My neighborhood in Ithaca has a rat problem—the result of leaky, old houses owned by sloppy composters.
We had one specimen who was quite bold.
I’ll never forget hearing scratching sounds coming down our attic stairs and into the hall. As a whiskered face peered into my office, Honey and I looked up.
After a few moments, Mr. Rat went scurrying down the front staircase. Honey just laid her head back down on the couch.
Raccoons and Skunks
Fortunately, Honey has expressed no interest whatsoever when we’ve crossed paths with raccoons and skunks.
I hope she is as disinterested the first time we meet a poisonous snake or alligator.
A stranger we met on the beach told us how his golden retriever liked to chase birds. He seemed shocked that Honey didn’t do the same thing.
Since we often meet herons, pelicans, and eagles who could practically carry Honey off, I’m glad she doesn’t press her luck.
So our golden pup has encountered many kinds of animals. Did you notice that I never mentioned her barking at any of them?
Can you guess what animal drives our usually silent dog to bark?
Honey Barks At Dolphins
For a long time, Honey never saw dolphins. She usually sleeps when we’re underway.
But recently she’s started noticing dolphins. In fact, sometimes she spots them before we do. By smell.
If Honey sits up and starts sniffing the air, I look into the water. There’s probably a dolphin somewhere.
Once she spots one, Honey becomes very excited.
She moves around the cockpit trying to keep it in her sights. And then she lets out a woof.
It’s not alarm barking like dogs responding to a doorbell. It’s more like, “This is exciting. I need to explore it. And I hope they’ll bark back.”
I wonder if she thinks dolphins are big, swimming dogs. Because her barking pattern reminds me of when she’d see a big, friendly dog passing by our house when she was on the porch.
Will Honey Play With Dolphins
Honey’s not crazy about swimming. So I can’t imagine her imitating the labrador who swims with his dolphin friend in the harbor most days.
And the cockpit of our boat is about three feet over the waterline. It doesn’t seem likely I’ll ever get video of dog and dolphin kisses.
But who knows?
Honey continually surprises me.
And maybe the dog who won’t swim with me or other dogs has just been waiting to swim with dolphins.
Your Turn: How does your dog respond to other animals? Does he or she act differently toward different species?