The Perks of Dog Ownership # 6

Passover ended last Wednesday. It’s a busy, hectic, and difficult holiday, and as it lasts eight days, many people travel to spend it with family.  This year, our community was hit by a number of break-ins, all of which occurred at houses where the owners were away.

Clearly this has the feel of an “inside job.”  As far as I know, the police have no leads and have made no arrests. The other day I saw one of the neighbours whose house was burgled; I’ve known him and his wife since I moved here 16 years ago, and their daughter is one of our babysitters. Though they were away, they had let someone from out of town stay at their house, and the thieves had made off with much of the visitor’s belongings, as well as their children’s small cash savings.  The Spouse and I had a break-in ourselves about 14 years ago, and my neighbour and I talked about how unsettling it is: the sense of violation, feeling unsafe in one’s own home.  Then he laughed and said, “I don’t suppose you want to lend us Our Best Friend, do you?  At least we could record him barking!”

Our Best Friend has a fearsome bark.  When the Spouse comes home late at night, he phones before he comes in so I can make OBF sit next to me; for some reason, if I have my arms around him, he doesn’t bark.  He’s even come to realize that when the phone rings late at night, it means the Spouse is on his way. He sits alert, eager with anticipation, but silent.

Because when he does bark, it stops your heart and peels the hair from your scalp. It’s a cross between a bark and a howl and a baying noise.  It’s not one bark to warn us; he continues to bark, even when sent to his bed, until the person enters the house. We need a trainer to come back and work on this issue before someone has a heart attack.

The irony is, he’s no protection against burglars.  First, once you’re inside he’s your best friend: the cliché of all bark, no bite. Second, he only barks when we’re here. If I come home to an empty house, he makes not a sound. So if thieves come to visit when we’re out, his barking won’t deter them from breaking in.  Then again, I have no idea how he’d react to nervous strangers on his territory; he might spring at them, or otherwise react aggressively, which would be fine with me.

But if they case the joint first and hear his wuffing, they’re likely to abandon the idea. (Assuming they don’t read my blog, of course.) And if they try to come in the dead of night when they think we’re sleeping and won’t hear them, they better think again; we’d have to call the police to arrest them and an ambulance to revive them from heart failure. When we’re out of town, we’ll have to rely on the burglar alarm; when we’re here, I’m glad we have Our Best Friend manning the fort.

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I'm the mother of three girls, three cats, and a dog. All need constant attention, but only the dog likes to go for long walks!
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20 Responses to The Perks of Dog Ownership # 6

  1. cdawnr1818 says:

    Ahh, people keep talking about getting a dog as robbery protection but if I did own a dog, the dog would not have been here. We were away for a week and a half–either the dog would have been with us, at a friend’s house or in a kennel. As far as I know, those who were robbed were away for more than a day trip…so the dog as protection, sadly, doesn’t really work in this case.

    • No, it only works when you’re home with the dog… but as the house we currently live in was broken into with the previous owners asleep, and all the silver stolen, protection while you’re home is something too.

  2. chesshirecat says:

    My pupster (almost 3 years old) is the biggest scaredy cat of em all! Like yours, mine is all huff and no puff. If you peek through the window at the carport entry, you can see him peeking around the corner, making all the noise a 60 pound dog can make, but looking into his eyes, it’s not hard to see he’s fearful. And his body actions prove that out. Any burglar worth his salt would be able to see once inside the house, this puppy is a wuss, a lover, a….. Scaredy KAT! But he’s my pupper, I couldn’t love him more. He’s a good and loving furr baby. He’s everything I’ve ever asked him to be.

  3. Yay! A new blog post! 😀

    It’s interesting that OBF only barks when you’re there – it definitely sounds like he’s trying to protect you. When no one is home, there’s nobody to protect!

    I hope you were able to enjoy your holiday – it sounded like you were busy bees!

    • It’s a crazier holiday than you can imagine.

      Yes, he’s definitely a people-guarder and not a property-guarder. I’ve always been interested to see what would happen if he really thought I was threatened, but I’d rather not be attacked to find out.

  4. Silverycloud says:

    There were a few houses that had security alarms where the robbers got in, but nothing was taken. Apparently, the alarm scared them off. This, according to a spokesman for Chaverim

  5. thatjenk says:

    The door-to-door home alarm salespeople that make annual trips to our neighbourhood always lose their gusto when they see Moses looking at them as they start their pitch. They call him one heck of a home security system… little do they know.

    Moses is a rare barker (usually just when he’s playing), and barely raises an eyebrow when someone unknown comes in house and he’s “standing guard”. We’ve actually been able to test his reaction, sending friends or cleaners in when he’s home alone, and he doesn’t even get up to investigate – he just opens one eye, sizes them up for disturbing his slumber, and goes back to napping.

    So sometimes I do wish he was a little more like YBF and let out a protective bark now and again at intruders. Oh well.

    • thatjenk says:

      Retraction:

      I have changed my mind in the course of an afternoon; I am glad Moses is easy going and doesn’t bark at visitors.

      Why, I assume you ask? We are dog-sitting a Bernese Mountain Dog this week who barked and growled this afternoon enough today to scare off our cleaner who came by for our bi-weekly appointment while the dogs happened to be home.

  6. Kari says:

    Ok I am way far behind but this is a great series 🙂 I am FINALLY following you in my google reader so I can get all your updates

    Kari
    http://dogisgodinreverse.com

  7. that hair peeling bark sounds familiar :p georgia always barks at me when i come home, never at The Other Half. i don’t know if i should be insulted. if i was a burglar and heard her, i’d be terrified. she does a nice hackles up charge to the door too.

    lately, though she’s good once unfamiliar people come into the house, she will keep a watchful eye on them. we had a friend stay over for a week and she slept outside his bedroom door the first 2 nights. what a champ!

    yes, i do hope burglars aren’t reading your blog.

  8. Kristine says:

    Shiva barks when we are home and when we are not home. She barks anytime she hears someone open the front door. When we are not home she is in her crate so she isn’t able to do anything BUT bark. When we are home she will run straight to the door and keep barking long after the person has come inside. It’s one of the issues we haven’t exactly solved yet and it can be frustrating. If we order pizza, we have a complicated plan for preventing the dreaded bark. If I am home alone with her, she almost always barks when my husband comes in the door. I always joke that she is my little protector but I think she is doing it for herself as much as she is doing it for me.

    See: fear issues and wariness of strangers.

    While she has never been aggressive or even tried to hurt anyone, it’s a problem as we can never have guests to our home without going in to a long explanation how what they should expect and how they should behave around our dog. But I guess it does help keep the burglars away. 😛

  9. The Hook says:

    Sounds like a great perk!

  10. Anna says:

    I am a firm believer that a dog that loves and respects you will protect in the end. I think they can sense when people are up to no good, and would probably act out of the ordinary for their personality. Because of this I have no doubt that even my 40lb tiny vizsla would go at someone if I needed help. She alerts me to most everything, even the dogs upstairs who have lived there for over a year now. She doesn’t miss a thing, but she is good about stopping when I tell her to, as well as with people coming in. Hard to really know what they would do unless given the chance, which none of us want. I would love to hear your dogs bark with how you have described it. I should try and record Luna’s as people probably would never think it came out of her. Sorry about your neighbors, glad you all were safe.
    Anna
    http://www.akginspiration.com

    • I’m intrigued by your “out of the ordinary” part of your comment. My best friend has a dog who is the sweetest, most loving creature on the planet. I can’t imagine her defending anyone. I wonder what she would do if she thought we were threatened… because she’s big enough look quite threatening.

  11. Eric says:

    It could be a inside job. Or:
    http://pleaserobme.com/

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