Why Does My Dog Do That?

Honey the Golden Retriever - why does my dog do that

C’mon, put down the camera. Let’s find a stick.

They say mystery keeps a relationship exciting. That means Honey and I have enough thrills for years to come. Because sometimes I have no idea what that dog is thinking.

Setting the Record Straight

When I wrote about how Honey taught me how to train her not to jump, I got several nice compliments on the strength of our relationship.

But I didn’t want to leave everyone with the wrong impression.

Honey and I aren’t always in synch.

Sure, I try to listen to what she’s telling me and to give her a stimulating life. And Honey certainly works hard to fit into my life.

But some days I’m reminded that I really am living with a fuzzy alien. And I have no idea why she does what she does.

Why Does My Dog…

Maybe you can tell me.

Why does Honey:

  • bark her special “I gotta go out right now” bark just to stand and look at me when I get the door open?
  • respond to some dogs on the computer while ignoring others?
  • hate having her picture taken?
  • never let me out of her sight when I take her for an off-leash walk but will stay at the bottom of the steps and refuse to come inside, even if I go inside without her?
  • bark to tell us it’s time for bed instead of just crawling into bed herself?

People are Crazy

Of course, Honey probably has a few questions of her own:

  • Why do I have to bark to get someone to open the door for me? Can’t we just leave the door open all the time so I can go where I want when I want?
  • Why do my people spend so much time looking at screens? And why do some of them sound like dogs?
  • Why would anyone want to stand with a box against her face when she could be playing with me?
  • Why do we sometimes go for really long and exciting walks while other times we just walk around the neighborhood for a while? And why do my people mutter about being in a hurry when I want to keep walking?
  • Why do my people force me to stay awake when I’m so tired and ready to sleep? Don’t they know we should all go to bed when I’m ready? After all, I’d hate to miss something important.

My Dog Is a Mystery

My dog is, at times, a mystery to me. And I’m okay with that.

I love that she’s a unique being with opinions of her own. And I look forward to learning new things about her for years to come.

After all, we’ve only been together two and a half years. We’re still getting to know each other.

I’ve known my husband for thirty years. And I still have no idea what’s going through his mind.

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  1. You nailed a few of those for me too. Torrey and Roxy both won’t go to bed unless we do, Torrey will stand there and look at us. Dogs are furry aliens.

  2. Good Morning! I can give you an idea about the not liking having her picture taken thing. My Shadow doesn’t either. I think it’s the noises these digital cameras make when we use them, as well as the flash of light when taking indoor shots. And Shadow’s a little shy anyway. She will come up to greet you, but immediately turns her head slightly to avoid direct eye contact. Her doggie instincts have always been very respectful in that regard. (Except when she’s super-excited — then it all goes out the window and she’ll jump up on you unless you body-block her or hold your hand out in a stop signal kind of way.)
    As for that “I wanna go out NOW look.” I wish I could help! Shadow would rather be outside than in, regardless of the weather, if only Callie would stay out with her. Callie on the other hand, would rather be comfortable in the a/c during the summer months and in the heat in the colder months (like me!). The dogs on the computer screen thing baffles me, too. Maybe some of them just sound more “real” than others to our dogs?
    I love your blog, by the way! It’s one of my two favorite doggie blogs — the other is Life with Desmond.

  3. I have no doubt my dog is even more baffled by my behaviour than I am by hers. Most of the time I can guess at why she is doing something and even if I am wrong my answer satisfies me. My dog, I am sure, is not so easily fooled and probably thinks I’m insane. Yet, she sticks around anyway. I must be pretty lucky.

  4. I’m laughing out loud as you hit on some of the same things we’ve observed with all of the dogs who have been in our lives. The most puzzling is the “gotcha” bark. Sounds just like “I gotta GO NOW” and then they sit there with that blan– sometimes I would say Smug– look. Kind of like when you tell them to sit for no earthly reason. You call it training. They just store it away and do it in reverse, thinking, ‘I’ll train them to go open the door by seeing if they behave whenever I bark in this tone.’ They could at least give us a treat when we behave!

  5. Your post is hilarious. I ask myself the same questions many times.
    Here are a few of questions my dog probably wants to know:
    Why does Lynda follow feeding instructions even though I”m still hungry?
    Why does she let me sniff poles and trees and not garbage bags?
    Why does she always want to cuddle when I’m trying to rest?
    I’m sure there are more, I just can’t think of any right now.

  6. I love how dogs all have such unique personalities and their own little quirks. Funny that she doesn’t like having her picture taken. Our last dog loved it and totally seemed to pose for pics!

  7. I’ll never completely understand them but every day, I’ll try to get a little closer – both dogs & husbands! :)

  8. Fun, thoughtful post!

    I’ll try a couple of these….
    Why does she hate having her picture taken? Dogs take eye contact very seriously. A direct stare into another dog’s eye often precedes an attact. Your camera (esp. if it is a DSLR model and not a point/shoot) has a big central eye staring right at her. Yikes! I have one dog that loves to pose and will look right at the camera as much as I need. My other boy is very intimidated, esp. if he’s the only one in the picture, and I have a hard time getting eye contact.

    Barking to go to bed….Hey, you are all one big happy pack and she wants it to stay that way. Safety in numbers…..My one boy (the one who loves the camera), goes to bed by himself. Just gets up and heads upstairs, doesn’t look back….The camera-shy fellow stays until the last person retires for the evening altough he will tell you he’s ready to go with a few barks.

  9. Mike Webster says:

    From the Husband:
    Food, sweetheart.

  10. I do think that we confuse each other, frequently. I think that part of Elka’s communication limitation is because she is, in fact, just a dog. And I forget sometimes. So she says “Out” because it’s the only word she knows, and I’m confused when we get out there and she doesn’t have to eliminated. But really, she wanted her hoodie. Or something else. It’s an ongoing process!

  11. Ha ha, Mike is so funny . .my hubby would have said the same thing! Cali is pretty set in her ways, and if stray from the routine, she looks at us like we are stupid :) They’re so cute!

  12. I could write a book about the things I don’t understand about Koly and that “mystery bark” issue would have a dedicated chapter. I swear, sometimes he barks at the door just to see how many times I will get up!

    And that bedtime thing…drives me NUTS! JUST GO TO BED! You’re going to hog all the space anyways! But no, it’s very important to him that we all go to bed together. I suppose I should b flattered he deems to share the bed with me at all, eh?

  13. Thanks for the giggle Pamela. Can you tell me why Jasper can’t go to the bathroom when we are all outside together, but must wait until we are all inside for him to remind me that he needs to go back out again to take care of business?

    I suspect that Daisy would like to know why I am constantly typing on that stupid little machine that is always on my lap. :)