Pavlovian Reaction

I written before about how my dog is afraid of thunderstorms or any other sudden, loud sounds (fireworks, gunshots, bubblewrap, etc).  The picture below was taken during a thunderstorm one day when she wormed her way under my desk to hide, making it rather difficult to get any work done.

Boots hides under desk during storm

But she has gone so far now as to associate the sound of a UPS switching to batteries with storms.  We had a short power outage the other night around 1:00am.  I was awakened to beeping (from the UPS’es) and whining (from the dog).  Even the little “click, hum” of the weekly test on the big UPS I have on my media server causes her start whining and trying to worm her way under my desk.

She’s a fairly intelligent dog, and a quick learner.  Unfortunately, it’s not just positive lessons that she learns.  She’s really quick to pick up on any little pattern related to something unpleasant, regardless of whether it’s really malign or not.


  1. Gerry N. says:

    I have a 95# American Staffordshore Terrier named Ozzy.  He goes nuts at the sound of loud noises.  He loves them.  He’ll dance around the yard in an electrical storm, barking and jumping, apparently trying to bite the lightning.  Fireworks are somewhat hazardous.  If he gets loose, he’ll try to bite firecrackers and grabs and shakes anything with smoke coming out of it.  For some reason, if he hears gunfire, he sits and looks at me impatiently for permission to go to the target. 

    Dogs is strange people sometimes.

  2. I guess somewhere in between the two extremes would be best.

    I keep thinking I should look into training her to be more used to loud sounds, but I tend to forget between storms.  I don’t know if it’d be effective anyway, as I was under the impression that you had to start training early (and when I got her she was almost fully grown).