Ollie the Guard Dog

Ollie was never going to be a guard dog. He is not that sort of dog, one who protects his home, and is instinctively ready to sort out anyone who comes calling uninvited. He is a companion, and welcomes visitors excitedly, happy to have company to impress by showing them his toys. It was a very long time before we even heard him bark, and it came as a surprise when he did.

For over five years, his barking was restricted to an occasional ‘woof’ as the postman approached the house, or occasionally barking at motorcycles when he was in the car, as he doesn’t like the noise they make. He would be unlikely to put off a potential burglar anyway, as he would no doubt view them as a ‘guest’, and show them one of his stuffed toys, whilst wagging his stumpy tail.

Then something changed. Earlier this year, he started to bark noisily if anyone stood outside the front of the house, or walked slowly past, talking.
He would keep that up until one of us told him to stop. Then his attention changed to the back garden, and we suddenly heard him woofing loudly at things he could hear out there. He had to be called in, and told to be quiet. When we are sitting watching TV in the evening, and he is fast asleep on his rug, he might suddenly decide to spring up and bark noisily at a passing car, or the sound of a car door opening and closing. This was so unexpected, it usually made us jump.

In the last few months, something new has started to happen. Ollie is put to bed every night in the kitchen-diner. He has food and water there, and a very big and comfy dog bed to sleep on. We have done this since the day we got him, and he has never hesitated to happily jump onto his bed, and lie down. He slept through the night from a very young age, and would often take himself off to bed if he felt it was time to do so. Then one night this summer, we were disturbed by noisy and continuous barking, just after 3 am. At first, it didn’t occur to me that it was Ollie. But it soon became apparent that it was. So I got up and went into that room, to find him sitting up on his bed, barking in the direction of the back door that leads out to the garden.

I put on the outside light, and went out to check the garden and surrounding paths. I was concerned that if Ollie was making so much fuss, there might be the possibility of an intruder, even though that is highly unlikely, in a place like Beetley. Satisfied that nothing was amiss, I went back to bed. A few nights later, the same thing happened, just after 4 am. That time, I stroked Ollie, and spoke to him calmly, until he had settled down on his bed, and started to relax. It was possible that he had been disturbed by cats. A lot of our neighbours have cats, and they do like to roam around at night, apparently. There are other nocturnal animals that he may have heard, like hedgehogs, owls in the oak trees, and the possibility of foxes in the garden. Though I have yet to ever see a fox in Beetley, I am told they are around.

At 04:30 this morning, I was disturbed from a deep dream-filled sleep by barking that started as a series of low woofs, then developed into a full-on continuous racket. I had no choice but to get out of bed, and go to see what was happening. As usual, Ollie was sitting up on his bed, barking at the back door. A quick check (due to below-freezing temperatures) revealed nothing I could see. I calmed him down, and went back to bed. But I could’t get back to sleep, and silently cursed Ollie for ruining my night. At just after 8 am now, it already feels like a long day.

I have no idea why he has suddenly decided to become a guard dog.

63 thoughts on “Ollie the Guard Dog

    1. Could be. Perhaps the two Spaniels gave him some training? He was at the Vet’s yesterday, and he suspects muffled hearing, caused by the current ear infection. Let’s hope he’s right. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

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    1. He has the full range of steroids and antibiotics now, Kim. The Vet thinks the barking might be caused by muffled hearing from the infection. That would change Ollie’s perception of normal sounds he might otherwise ignore. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much for that link, John. It’s a good article. I am concerned Ollie may be barking because ear infections cause him to have reduced hearing. That is mentioned in the link. I am currently treating him for an infected ear, and will take him back to the vet next week, or as soon as I can get an appointment.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Funny but our dog has become much more protective(and barking)as she has aged. Since dogs have such a great sense of smell, Ollie probably smells something that is new in the yard in the early morning. I think it is probably not a cat, since he is used to those. Maybe it is a fox, as you know they are around.

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      1. Pete, my reference was to an Academy Award-winning popular song written by Frank Loesser in 1944 that has suddenly become controversial over here in the USA and Canada. Google the song title, and you’ll see! (Captain Kirk approves this message.)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hope he settles down so you all get a good night’s sleep again. I like how you calm and reassure him. Our cats are in at night and quiet. But if we’ve been gone for a few days Tiger has a hard time adjusting when we return and cries during the night often waking me up. It takes him a few days to get back to normal, he’s a sensitive soul.

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    1. I might have tried those, if he didn’t always seem to be having one ear infection after another. At moment, his right ear is in a bad state, and I am having to use ear drops on him again..
      Thanks, FR.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

          1. Maybe put a radio on in the kitchen, (or where he sleeps) not loud enough to disturb you, but it might be enough to keep Ollies tinnitus at bay if he’s got it, I always advise my tinnnitus people to this, on Classic Radio they have lovely soothing tunes at night in the wee hours.

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      1. My Gran used to say the same and I always use this explanation for unusual pet behaviour πŸ™‚
        But the ear infection makes a lot of sense. I pretty much massage ear drops into Jackie’s ears every day now, its almost a ritual. She quite likes it πŸ™‚ Although I just buy the drop for humans, no need to fill the vets pockets.

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        1. We have those ‘cheaper ear drops too, Eddy. But Ollie’s ear gets so infected, it swells inside and closes up. (And smells awful too)
          So, he needs antibiotics again, unfortunately. Vets at midday today. πŸ™‚
          Cheers mate, Pete.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I know what you mean…MO does not bark much and when she does I also go check to be sure there are NO surprises in the yard…..she has this one note when barking that is like a finger anil on a chalk board…..gives one goose bumps…..LOL chuq

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    1. He has had a lot of ear infections in the past, Ros. But I am currently treating him for a new one, so I doubt his hearing is too clear at the moment. It may just be the arrival of more cats and dogs along the street. Nobody has reported any increase in crime, so it’s probably not ‘prowlers’.
      It remains a mystery. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

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