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what scares puppies: part one

06 September 2011

Here are 8 Things that Scare our Great Dane Puppy

On the list of experiences or physical objects that scare our Great Dane puppy Luna, I don’t include “things that go bump in the night.” When we put out the lights at night, she’s the one invariably making all of the noise as she sleeps and dreams and grunts and kicks the walls of Azkaban.

There are, however, plenty of things that have scared her.

Like newborn humans, a Great Dane puppy’s first months are full of new experiences and discoveries. In Luna’s short life, everything has been new, colorful, noisy, and odoriferous. At least once. Some of the experiences, finding herself sharing the same room with a loud vacuum cleaner, for example, have been truly threatening. Others have been just silly.

The Past is the Past

Some of the scary Stephen King experiences are now formerly scary experiences. They’ve become part of the landscape to which she is now comfortably accustomed. Others, however, continue to frighten and unsettle her. They’ve haven’t become part of a pastoral landscape where everything is a chew toy and butter grows on trees.

What Still Scares Our Puppy

Short answer: a lot. Long answer: see list below.

Now that she’s crossed the 9-month threshold, here are some of the things that continue to scare Luna.

Great Dane and Beagles

luna with neighborhood friends harley and louie, who behave much better than some of the small yapper dogs luna has to share the dog park with

Small Dogs that Bark

I probably should have relabeled this “Small Dogs with Napoleonic complexes.” This is really about small dogs that bark at much larger dogs. It’s a common behavior at the dog park. They’re aggressive. They lunge at her. And they violently rush towards her. Some of them weigh less than 8lbs. Luna could probably kill them by stamping on them. But she doesn’t. Instead, she escapes as a dog the height of a beer bottle tries to nip her long legs and giant paws.

Vacuum Cleaners

Vacuum cleaners make a grande amount of noise. Thanks to the engineering genius of British industrial designer Sir James Dyson, most vacuum cleaners now sport technology called cyclonic separation that spins fast and scares the hell out of puppy dogs. Luna really dislikes all sorts of vacuum cleaners, not just the best-selling Dyson lineup. When MW or I get the vacuum out to clean the carpet, Luna’s disappears.

Lawn Mowers

When you think about it, lawn mowers are sort of vacuum cleaners for your lawn. Even if said lawn has been destroyed by your female puppy’s urinic assault. To learn about the downfall of our lawn, I invite you to read Urine and The American Dream. When the lawn mower comes out of the shed, Luna disappears into the house.

Lily the Cat

Dog vs. cat. Hatfield vs. McCoy. Red Sox vs. Yankees. Bugs Bunny vs. Elmer J. Fudd. South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Clemson Tigers. Rivalries exist everywhere. We have one in our home that is advanced by Luna. She just can’t stand LC’s presence. Maybe she (the dog) thinks that she (the cat) is usurping her position in the family hierarchy. In total contrast, LC seems pretty cool with Luna’s presence, as long as they keep a mutual distance and disinterest. Problems arise whenever Luna’s consciously awake and feeling territorial. If we’re downstairs and hear rolling thunder upstairs, it’s Luna in pursuit of LC.

Harley-Davidson Exhausts

Harley exhausts really freak her out. She doesn’t hear that many but when she does and she’s in the car, she become frantic. A state of frantic fear creates a lot of noise in a small SUV.

Easter Eggs

Great Dane Puppy Playing with a Lemon

a prelude to the terror that unexpectedly arrived one month later on easter morning, a four month-old Luna confuses a meyer lemon for something from the black lagoon

I videotaped this incident during Luna’s first Easter Egg hunt. Admittedly, Luna was very young then. The mysterious oblong objects behaved like kong dog toys. And every dog owner is well aware of the torture that is a dog playing with a kong.

Plastic Shopping Bags

These are your basic fill-up-the-landfill grocery store bags. They’re bad for the environment and bad for young puppies because they can scare the beejeesus out of young puppies.

Airsoft Guns

When I was kid, playing war meant using single-shot guns or branches and wooden guns you nailed together in the garage. Now, toy manufacturers make machine pistol knockoffs that look very similar to Uzis. Uzis scare Luna as do plastic Airsoft versions.

Airsoft guns are toy weapons that fire small plastic pellets. I don’t know what the firing technology is (Wikipedia tells me it is electric) but the manufacturers ensured that they sound very gun-like. No surprise, then, that tween boys love them. We’ve got lots of them living in the neighborhood.

Last night, as we were walking home from our run at the local public school, a bunch of kids were playing war. One of them had a stubby machine gun that could have come from the Bourne Identity prop room. As Luna stood drinking from the fountain, she panicked every time the staccato sound of imaginary battles erupted. She doesn’t like guns, at all.

In Time Comes Acceptance

These are just some of the things that continue to frighten our puppy. Over time, she may accept some of them and live in peace. She’s already done that with a variety of objects and activities. I’ll tell you about them in the next post.

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