Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Confession: Sometimes I feel like barking at dogs

Does that make me crazy? Probably not. Does it make me immature? Sure, I'll admit that.
I got Sensi to bark during a photo shoot
At least now I know to never exercise this desire around a police dog, thanks to an article I read this morning about a Ohio man getting charged with a misdemeanor for doing so.
Read the full story, Cops: Ohio man charged after barking at police dog
My favorite part of the article is where the man says "the dog started it."
My second favorite part of the article? The misdemeanor this guy was charged was for "teasing a police dog."
But seriously, have you ever felt like barking at a dog?
The article reminded of a recent trip some coworkers and I made down to Dearborn to visit a friend of ours. We walked from her apartment to a restaurant downtown. On the way back, we passed by a home with a dog barking furiously at us from the front porch.
I leaned over to my dog-loving friend and said, "Is it bad that I want to bark at that dog?"
She laughed. "I don't know, but it's funny," she said.
I didn't bark at that dog. I wanted to, though. My motivation? I was irritated. It's kind of like being around a crying baby and wanting to scream "Wahhh Wahhh Wahhh" back at it.
Is it awful? Sure.
Does it accomplish anything? Nope.
Is it a sign of my incredibly impatient attitude? Definitely.
Is it among the most immature desires my responsible adult self has? I think so.
The practical, intelligent, dog trainer side of me knows that barking at a barking dog only makes the barking dog bark more.
The immature, impatient, irritable side of me says, "Ahhh, whatever. Bark away."
I have not yet barked at anyone's dog. If the day ever comes, I hope someone's around to hear it and get a good laugh.


  1. I think we've all felt this way at some point!!

    And one of my dogs is a chronic whiner, so I whine back at him when he whines at me for seemingly no reason. I know it could make him whine more, but sometimes I can't help myself. He actually stops and tilts his head at me when I do it. Sometimes I think he he knows I'm mocking him... even though that's probably not the case!

  2. I don't know, that's one area I'm pretty well convinced that dogs are acutely in tune with us on. I've come to believe that emotions — humiliation, happiness, embarrassment, fear — don't need a whole lot of verbal communication to be understood between dogs and their owners.

    I sometimes mock my dog too and from the looks he gives me, I'm pretty sure he knows I'm making fun of him. In fact, the look on his face usually makes me feel bad for making fun of him and then I apologize and tell him he's a good boy!

    In terms of barking at your own dog to mock him, though, he may not get the message of humiliation because he's too caught up in whatever he's barking at and now, with you barking, he thinks you approve, you're joining in and you want the barking to continue. You're essentially validating his barking.

    As for barking back at an unknown dog barking at you, they're most likely to think you're sending that same stay-away-or-else message right back at them. In response, they'll probably bark back with a bit more intensity and alarm in their voice.

    I hope that makes sense ...

  3. Ever see the Saturday Night Live "commercial" where they show you how to train your dog with sarcasm and mocking tones? Very funny, its worth looking up.

  4. Matt, I just saw that skit for first time not long ago! We now have Netflix and it was on a collection of commercial skits. I laughed the whole way through!