The Source of So Much Fear

Shiva and I make for the most awkward team in history. We must rank up there with any movie starring Michael Cera. I wonder if the combination of over-anxious dog and over-imaginative human is a smart idea. Maybe Shiva and I should never be left to our own devices. It only leads to trouble or utter embarrassment. It looks like I am at a two for two on the mortification scale this weekend.

Do any of you remember this post? If not, I will give a rapid summation: Shiva and I were walking in the ravine, pre-dawn. I couldn’t see very far ahead due to the lack of light. All of a sudden Shiva stopped and refused to move forward, a very weird action on her part. Staring straight ahead she barked several times, seemingly at nothing. Freaking out and thinking it was either a pack of coyotes or a serial killer hiding in the trees, I swung around and booted it out of there as fast as my rubber soled feet could carry me through the snow.

Well, in the light of day we have now uncovered the source of all the commotion, the reason for Shiva’s unaccountable behaviour. I brought her back to the same area and she had the exact same reaction only this time I could see what was causing her so much consternation. The closer we walked to the evil doer, the more tense she became. Until she too realized her mistake. The crazy thing is, she didn’t even look that ashamed.

Can you guess based on the picture below?


Any thoughts? How about if I make it easier?


That’s right, Shiva was flipping out over a garbage can. A large garbage can that had been moved closer to the path, but nonetheless, the same metal container containing rubbish Shiva has encountered millions of times before. Garbage cans have apparently been added to her long list of enemies, a list which also includes rocks, garden gnomes, plastic bags, fire hydrants, snowmen, and lake monsters.

So much for the canine instinct. Perhaps I just need to invest in a good headlamp. Sheesh.

16 thoughts on “The Source of So Much Fear

  1. HAHAAH! Mouse was scared of a blue plastic tarp on our walk the other night, the same as the one she lies on in the backyard. Good thing I have streetlights to illuminate these things. I am wondering if Mouse will get over this fear stage. Since she is almost 3 I don’t think it’s developmental it is just something that is part of the way her brain works.


  2. That’s too funny. Our Sally had the same reaction to a set of large trash cans at a football field we occasionally ran her at. If we were there in the early morning dawn, she would refuse to run past them on the track and we had to divert around them. I kind of get it – this big looming thing that doesn’t move – just sitting out there in the middle of the field…


  3. LOL!!! You know what’s funny? Cupcake did the exact same thing to me! She even got Jasper going. It creeped me out and I thought coyotes too because I couldn’t get her to turnaround and walk forward with me. She kept turning back and growling and barking. It was dusk and getting darker. Yeah. It freaked me out big time.
    What was it? A trash can just like yours.
    Guess I would rather trust my instincts and them be wrong than not trust them and them be right.


  4. Rita does exactly the same sorts of things. One day I was so impressed with her on a walk, because she was so brave walking the gauntlet between some gardeners (her nemesis!) and construction workers (so scary!). And then we came around a corner and she leapt into the air and yowled, because someone left a bag of potting soil leaning up against their mailbox. Potting soil is terrifying!!!


  5. Poor Shiva! It’s pretty funny though 🙂 Mine is terrified of traffic cones, or stand up road signs. He will simply not walk past them. Not sure if it’s something to do with the high-visibility stips on them. Oh, he’s also frightened of the salt and pepper grinders, and the ironing board. Strange little things, aren’t they? 🙂


  6. Gwynn was scared of fire hydrants when I first got him! And the electrical box on the gazebo in the park near me. Not the whole gazebo – no, that’s fine. he’s just very nervous of the 1’x1’x.5′ black box on the gazebo.

    I’m glad you weren’t being stalked by a psychotic axe-murdering pack of coyotes 🙂 I have those same types of paranoias. I thought someone was following me the other day, when I was alone in the park. couldn’t see anyone, but I could hear steps that almost perfectly matched up with mine. Then I realised it was the sound of my coat brushing against the corner of ziplock treat bag sticking out of my pocket. I was stalking myself.


  7. You know, in Shiva’s defense, there COULD have been a serial killer hiding INSIDE of that trash can…

    It’s funny how in the dark Blueberry is also more hyper-vigilant. She has actually tried to run or growled at other people on the trail. But during the day she could care less.


  8. I know Mel reads it, but I hope the rest if you read the Fearful Dog blog, this kind of behavior is serious and should be counter-conditioned. With a dog as fearful/reactive as mine, I know that flooding that brain with fear chemicals is adding up, and yeah, night time is worse. … But I’m sure we are calming our doggies, who don’t read these blogs and don’t know that we’re writing/laughing because…. We just have to sometimes, right?


  9. Oh, man. Cooper is right there with you, Shiva. Anything unexpected/out-of-place/odd-shaped or in dusky shadows and he gets frightened. I totally feel for them, too. I think it’s just like people… some of us are hard-wired for anxiety and worry and over-thinking, and others are super laid-back. Incidentally, the people across the street decorated their lawn with life-sized sparkly reindeer. As far as Cooper’s concerned, they might as well be chainsaw-wielding dog killers. Always something…


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