My own dog is barking at me

Monday morning. I’m following my Monday morning routine of emptying all the bins in the house, for the Monday morning garbage collection in our neighbourhood. Bending over a black garbage bag, my back suddenly “goes”. I’m hunched over unable to move. Or at least unable to move without a great deal of pain radiating from my lower spine. Eventually I managed to straighten out and start shuffling down the passage.

And then it happens. Our dog, our sweet little Rosie, start barking at me. You see Rosie is prejudiced. She doesn’t like people who “walk funny”. I first noticed this when she was quite little. When we were out for a walk, she would be fine with people who strode past – or even ran past – us. But if somebody loitered or lurked or was even just waiting at the curb for their lift, she barked and growled at them. If people shuffled or limped or hobbled she barked and growled at them. She still barks at our gardener (whom she’s known since she was 2 months old) because he limps (a result of an accident), and at the disabled person who goes to the gym close-by, and at the 90-year old (my estimate) gentleman who walks – or rather shuffles – every morning at the same time we do.

So here is Rosie, the dog I’ve raised and loved, and spend almost 24/7 with for over two years, barking at me as if I’m an alien intruder. She stops once she realizes it’s me, and then furrows her brow and looks puzzled. Here’s one of her favourite people indulging in some very suspicious behaviour . . . and she doesn’t know how to handle it.

Twenty fours hours later, I am alternately shuffling or moving chameleon-like with very slow, deliberate actions. Rosie is still confused. She no longer barks at me, but she periodically nudges me as if to say “now walk properly”. She’s following me around constantly as I use furniture to “walk myself up” into a standing position or steady myself using walls and counters. As she watches me with a puzzled frown, I’m wondering if she’ll be more tolerant to those that “walk funny” in future?

A typical Rosie frown. ©LB/

Unfortunately, this is a true story so I’m not at my desk much. I hopefully will return to more regular posting soon, as well as catching up on those blogs I follow.

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Categories: Random


I live on the Southern coast of South Africa, and write about the things that interest, amuse or inspire me. You can find me at and (my photoblog)


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30 Comments on “My own dog is barking at me”

  1. June 28, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

    Oh you poor dear. I hope the pain in your back eases up soon – go for a body stress release, if you can. How do you usually treat such things?

    Rosie is such an intelligent pup. You’ve captured that furrowed brow so well!

    You can just tell from her look that she is trying to reconcile two conflicting worldviews at the moment – “People who walk funny are dangerous, so I have to bark at them” – and “Lisa is my best friend, so I mustn’t growl and bark at her.” Oh dear… Hugs to both of you.

    • June 29, 2011 at 5:24 am #

      Thanks Reggie! I’m just resting my back as much as possible, and doing some gentle stretching to try and “un-kink” it.

      Rosie has accepted how I walk now, but she’s not convinced that it should stop me from playing with her! 🙂

  2. June 28, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

    Oh, bless your poor back, Lisa! I have done that exact thing to my own–bent over and had it go out–horrid pain–the shuffling steps! And dear Rosie–sorry–but that part of the story is down right hysterical!

    I hope you feel better soon! In the meantime, keep that barking girl by your side!


    • June 29, 2011 at 5:28 am #

      Thanks Kathy! It’s a bother not being able to move normally. Have also realised how useful & under-utilized toes are. 😉 They work really well for picking things up off the floor! Pity I can’t train Rosie to do things for me . . .

  3. June 28, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    Did you change your “olfactory profile” by putting on new clothes? You know dogs (and cats?) like you to wear familiar smells!

    Hope your back gets better soon!

    • June 29, 2011 at 5:32 am #

      Thanks Wyrdsmyth! Nice to see you online again. Hope this means you’re blogging again . . .

      No, all I changed was the walk. Rosie just doesn’t like funny walks. And a whole lot of other things like black objects – black cars, black motorbikes, black bags etc. Everything gets barked at until positively identified as harmless,

  4. June 28, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    Wow, my husband’s back just went out last week — must be that age! (although his was a result of being clocked in a soccer game and knocked across the field, so it’s not really fair to blame our ever-advancing age) … what a beautiful dog! Hope you feel better soon!!

    • June 29, 2011 at 5:41 am #

      Hi Betty! Still wanted to comment on that wonderful post of yours. You’re an amazing group of women! A great example of aging being a state of mind.

      At least your husband has a valid reason for having a sore back, unlike me. Hope he’s doing better now. I’m still shuffling around like I’m ancient.

      Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment! 🙂

  5. June 28, 2011 at 8:44 pm #

    Ouch! I hope you feel better soon.

    Does Rosie know she’s a dog? That kind of disapproval seems more like a cat thing.

    • June 29, 2011 at 5:44 am #

      Thanks Laura! You’re right – dogs aren’t normally that judgemental. Maybe she’s been spending too much time with our cat!

  6. June 28, 2011 at 11:06 pm #

    What a clever dog she is. I hope you are better soon.

  7. June 29, 2011 at 4:54 am #

    Well that will teach you to take out the trash again! 🙂

    Rosie has the most precious and beautiful face. She’s a good protector.
    Feel better soon!

    • June 29, 2011 at 5:48 am #

      Thanks Jackie! Yes, now I have an excuse for passing on that chore to Willie! 😉

  8. June 29, 2011 at 6:06 am #

    I know it´s no party for you to be in pain but I couldn´t help but laughing when I heard the story of your dog with prejudices!!! how funny Rosie behaves that way!! and how adorable she looks while frowning!!!

    I had a dog that only barked and got uneasy in the presence of police officers!!! with the rest of the people she was the loveliest dog ever!!!

    I hope you feel better soon!!! I know it feels awful!!! I wonder what Rosie would think of the two of us walking together? Me, with that pain in the neck that makes me walk like a drank person!!a

    • June 30, 2011 at 3:25 pm #

      I meant for you to laugh at the story! Rosie is such a character with her definite likes and dislikes when it comes to things and people. She doesn’t like black objects either – black cars, black motorbikes, black bags etc. Barks at them all until she’s decided they’re harmless. You would definitely attract her attention – especially if you’re still wearing your neck brace. Hope your neck is improving.

      Your dog only barked at police officers? You didn’t perhaps train the dog to do that – as an early warning system?! 😉

      • July 2, 2011 at 1:25 am #

        I´ll try not to wear black in front of Rosie!! that and my collar will drive her crazy LOL

        I didn´t train my dog, she was like this!!! for the rest of the world, she was adorable!! imagine that when she had her 7 puppies, I found 4 cats in a box and she fed them!!! you saw the poor dog, with all the cats and dogs on her and she licked them as if they were all hers!!

        My neck is improving really slowly. I still have pain but I took up Pilates lessons and I´m trying to stretch all my back with those excersices. I guess it´ll take more time ;(

      • July 2, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

        Oh, I love any dog that is willing to take on the mothering duties of little kittens. That must have looked so sweet! 🙂

        I used to do yoga and think it’s time to take it up again. Not sure about Pilates – is that quite gentle on the spine too?

  9. June 29, 2011 at 7:53 am #

    I’m sorry to hear your back is hurting you. I believe back pain has to be one of the worst afflictions you can have. I’ve played nurse to a dear neighbor on more than one occasion when he couldn’t move around. Get plenty of rest, and get better soon!

    • June 30, 2011 at 3:28 pm #

      Thanks Jolene! I have a high pain threshold, but having severe back pain is something else. You quickly realize the role your spine plays in EVERY move you make.

      Lucky neighbour to have you help him! Willie is doing a lot for me, but he’s away at work during the day. Am so thankful that this didn’t happen during a week when he was away on a trip.

  10. Sarita Botha
    June 29, 2011 at 8:46 am #

    Poor Rosie! Hopefully you’ll feel better soon and Rosie won’t be so confused by your strange way of walking. Get well soon.

    • June 30, 2011 at 3:30 pm #

      Thanks, I am definitely improving a little every day. “Poor Rosie” is getting used to me walking funny, and thinks it is NO excuse for not playing with her or taking her for a walk!

  11. June 30, 2011 at 10:50 am #

    I’m so sorry to hear about your back. And your own dog barking at you, to add insult to injury! Please get better soon 😦

    • June 30, 2011 at 3:32 pm #

      Thank you Heather! As I said in response to a previous comment, Rosie is now no longer barking at me, but is insisting that I play with her and take her for walks. That isn’t going to happen for a while though . . .

  12. Lu
    June 30, 2011 at 6:22 pm #

    Oh dear – that’s not good. I do hope that you are feeling better soon. I do like Rosie’s confused expression though… not that it’s much consolation…

    • July 1, 2011 at 12:42 pm #

      Thanks Lu! Rosie often has a confused expression – it’s an all-purpose kind of thing. She frowns whenever she doesn’t understand something, when she’s puzzled, when she’s trying to determine whether you’ll feed her / play with her / take her for a walk etc. Guess it works for her, because everybody thinks it looks cute.

  13. June 30, 2011 at 8:21 pm #

    Poor you and poor Rosie – she does look rather confused – what a beautiful dog she is!

    • July 1, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

      Rosie’s play time has been severely curtailed with her primary playmate (me) being out of action. So she’s suffering too! 😉

  14. July 6, 2011 at 5:17 am #

    I’ve had two accidents with my back – so you have my sympathy. As for the dog – so funny. Recently I had a bad day and a friend was trying to help me out the door to go to hospital when my dag dug her teeth into my pants hanging on for dear life and growling like a savage wild animal. Funny from a tiny fox terrier if you weren’t trying to shake her off.

    • July 6, 2011 at 8:48 am #

      Thanks for the good wishes – my back has improved to the point where I am walking like a “normal” person again. Although my back starts to ache if I sit for too long or move around too much.

      Terriers are such funny dogs, aren’t they? Although Rosie, being a Staffie, often behaves like a bigger dog, she’s got some very terrier-like behaviour. She’s such a character!

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