Monday, August 17, 2009

Meet Ellie; She Probably Hates You

My girl Ellie is a little cross-eyed, but that doesn't slow her down. She loves to wrestle, jump, and toss around toy squirrels. She's learned many tricks, but jumping through a hula hoop is her specialty.

Though just a svelte 27 lbs., Ellie has the deep, powerful bark of a much larger dog, and she is not afraid to speak her mind. If you live in Bangor, she's likely told you, your dog, or your children to go to hell. (I was the exasperated human yanking on the other end of the leash.)

Since she came to live with us at 11 weeks old, Ellie was a timid puppy. She hid behind chairs at obedience class and dove into the bushes when cars went by. In Ellie's world, a plastic bag blowing in the breeze poses a threat. She soon realized that the best defense is a good offense, and began to employ barking, snarling, and lunging to clear her path of danger. Add to this paranoid aggression her powerful herding instincts and the prey drive of a coyote, and you've got a challenging walk through the park.

An Incomplete List of Things Ellie Hates
Ice and Roller skaters
Dogs (except Graeme)
Children (Why are their legs so short? Scary!)
Ringing telephones
Humans hugging
Humans standing on stools, chairs, or countertops
Humans ascending or descending stairs
Eye contact with strangers
Strangers approaching
Strangers sitting or standing too close
People at the door
People who slip on the ice
Feather dusters
Food processors
Salad spinners
Vacuum cleaners
Sudden movements

Comments from veterinarians and dog psychologists welcome.


  1. Ah, Ellie's such a cutie! I look googly-eyed dogs! I know the feeling of being the embarrassed human pulling on the leash ... my dog Datsun went through a phase for awhile where he actually tried to bite people that we passed on the sidewalk. Never very hard, just a nibble...but when people are scared of dogs, that totally freaks them out. He finally grew out of it, but it was a weird phase.

  2. that's so interesting! i can understand if you'd gotten her older and traumatic things had happened to her, but that's a long list for a pup who has been with you since so young.

    my dog, logan, was adopted at about 7 weeks from the shelter and is scared of black trash bags only. i had a theory that maybe he was put in one and abandoned :(

  3. Sarah,

    The first thing everybody asks is "Oh, was she abused?" I have to say, "No, she's just crazy. She came that way." I wish I could fix her, but continuous obedience and socialization classes have only turned her into a paranoid, snarling dog who knows lots of tricks. I just have to keep her on a really short leash and apologize a lot. :(

  4. Haha, she hates everything! I love that second picture, with the light coming through her fur :)

  5. Try checking out Cesar Millan's website! I actually just recently saw an episode with a dog that was very similar (and had even gone to obedience school). Basically she became more and more possessive of her owner, until even her owner's mother couldn't come in the house. Cesar showed the owner how to be the dog's pack leader through a mixture of distracting certain trains of thought or removing her from the room to show disapproval. I suppose each dog is different though, but maybe you can glean some good info from his site. :-)

  6. Haha, this post really brightened my day! I love dogs and all of their strange quirks... And Ellie looks so sweet, despite her long list of dislikes. ;)

  7. Ellie is beautiful! My parents' dog dislikes lots of the same things as Ellie does

  8. "People who slip on the ice"- ha! Just to add insult to injury for some poor person. She's adorable though. :)

  9. ROTFL! I'd missed this post, glad you linked to it today! That's quite an extensive hate list (Amy's comment about Ellie's loathing of people who slip on ice says exactly what I thought!) Good thing Graeme is in her good graces!

    I wonder too about this sort of quirkiness. My husband - the UPS man - will tell you it's not the big dogs you have to watch out for, it's the smaller dogs with all the attitude and something to prove. Sounds like Ellie would agree - just before she bit my husband on the ass. LOL (Now I understand better her tearing up the floor trying to get at the workers in the room below! Dang, Ellie, give your poor mom a break!)


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