We have been dog sitting for two weeks. My brother-in-law's pride and joy is a rough-haired collie named Raffles. A lot of the time he behaves like a normal dog but we spend an awful lot of time trying to second guess what is going to put him out of kilter next.
I know dogs have acute hearing faculties but Raffles must have super-hearing. O.K., I can understand a deep dislike of fireworks of any kind, but leaves ...? It took us a long time to work out why he refused to walk on the pavement as we made out way down the road that leads to the promenade running parallel to the sea. We had to think like a dog. Two people happily crunching their way through the autumn leaves sound to a dog like a battalion has been let loose with a whole load of AK47's. Poor old Raffles was frightened and would only walk on clear dry leaf-free tarmac. Never mind that we may get flattened by passing traffic at any moment, but at least we wouldn't be shot.
Once you get on the dog's wavelength lots of strange behaviours explain themselves. raffles won't go near his food if you are watching him or anywhere near him come to that. Even though I provide his food maybe I could be some kind of predator waiting to pounce on him when he's not looking. But then, how come he closes his eyes in ecstasy when he abandons himself to having his tummy tickled? No, let's not even go there.
Water - the stuff of life. He hates it. He'll walk around every puddle, every teaspoon of water and has great difficulty in even drinking the stuff - snout well out of the bowl and look of acute distaste on his face. I'm still working on that one. He has a hairy waterproof coat so no water can penetrate to his skin, but you try getting him to go out in the rain and certainly not in the dark. Too spooky. I suppose leaving a warm fireside at night is one ask too many in doggie thinking, but in my thinking I need him to go as I don't want to be woken up in the middle of the night because he can't go the distance.
So, here are other unfathomables. I have tried my best to get to the doggie reasons behind certain behaviours, but I can't fathom what goes on in Raffles' brain. Sneezing, not a contentious issue I would say. But it does not matter how quiet it is or suppressed in ladylike fashion, a sneeze is a sneeze to Raffles and woe betide you if you sneeze in his vicinity - he'll have you. He will take exception to certain dogs and not in any consistent fashion, maybe just depending on the whim of the moment. It bears no relation to breed of dog or its sex, some days they're OK and some days they're not. Same for motor bikes. Big or small it makes no difference, or the roar of the engine. Some days they can be ignored and the others they just have to be chased and frantically barked at. The same goes for cars, children on scooters, chlldren eating ice-creams ... who knows what he thinks any of the above are doing - I don't, try as I might to think like a dog.
So, excuse me whilst I go and lie on the mat and devour a whole bunch of biscuits. Maybe then I won't be quite so barking ..... and Raffles might seem quite sane.