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LittleFokker
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Posts: 1445
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:25 pm

My Bulldog Hates Tape Measures

Sun Dec 14, 2014 5:21 am

So my wife and I adopted an English bulldog about 6 months ago (she was approximately 5 years old at time of adoption), and we've finally reached the comfort phase where we understand the dog's habits and she's understanding ours. We can tell she's had a somewhat troubled past, as she tends to be skiddish about certain things, including flutes, cell phones (though that may have more to do with her perceived lack of attention from us to her), and other dogs (inferiority complex?). But the thing that makes her go the craziest is a tape measure. Found out one day while measuring a stairwell for a gate. She doesn't bark much, but she barks loudly at that thing, and will go into immediate hump mode (humping is her primary dissatisfaction mechanism). Any idea on why a tape measure would be such a bother to her?
 
jetmatt777
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Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2005 2:16 am

RE: My Bulldog Hates Tape Measures

Sun Dec 14, 2014 6:43 pm

It's likely that maybe she walked across one while someone was measuring something on the floor, and the lock mechanism let loose as she was near or over it and the tape rapidly retracted and possibly struck her as the tape can sometimes be uncontrollably wiggling around as it comes back into the spool.

The loud sound it makes also could contribute to that shock, and it may produce an even higher pitched noise that we can not hear but dogs can.

[Edited 2014-12-14 10:44:17]
 
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Moose135
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RE: My Bulldog Hates Tape Measures

Sun Dec 14, 2014 6:47 pm

Quoting LittleFokker (Thread starter):
she tends to be skiddish about certain things, including flutes

I'm not so fond of flutes either...
 
 
VapourTrails
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Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2001 9:30 pm

RE: My Bulldog Hates Tape Measures

Mon Dec 15, 2014 4:36 am

Quoting LittleFokker (Thread starter):
But the thing that makes her go the craziest is a tape measure. Found out one day while measuring a stairwell for a gate. She doesn't bark much, but she barks loudly at that thing, and will go into immediate hump mode (humping is her primary dissatisfaction mechanism). Any idea on why a tape measure would be such a bother to her?
Quoting jetmatt777 (Reply 1):
The loud sound it makes also could contribute to that shock, and it may produce an even higher pitched noise that we can not hear but dogs can.

You mean the metallic 'tradies' type of one? Yes, it makes quite an interesting noise when let go at great length, and I am sure at her height above the ground, combined with the visual effect, it would be quite scary! She may have been flicked with the end of it when that happened, which would explain the fear too.. I can't add or think of any other reason, other than what has already been suggested, however, one would hope that someone hadn't tormented her with it at some point in her younger life, that would explain the fear..

Cell phones and flutes, the pitch of the flutes, I assume this is when being played, or some cell phone ringtones are quite harsh on even human hearing let alone dogs..

My cat does not like the vacuum cleaner - more obvious reasons; or rolling suitcases, that may be a 'you're going to leave me for a while, or take me to the cattery' kind of fear.. I find the lack of attention thing usually results in naughtiness, like the contents of the bin knocked over when I am on the phone, or the pushing of the iPad from the lap, or the look.. perceived lack of attention .. rather than fear?
 
LittleFokker
Topic Author
Posts: 1445
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:25 pm

RE: My Bulldog Hates Tape Measures

Mon Dec 15, 2014 11:33 pm

Quoting jetmatt777 (Reply 1):
The loud sound it makes also could contribute to that shock
Quoting VapourTrails (Reply 3):
Yes, it makes quite an interesting noise when let go at great length
Quoting VapourTrails (Reply 3):
the pitch of the flutes

There might be some truth there, and we've tested out various other sounds. The first time we discovered that certain sounds might bother her is when my wife stumbled upon this video of an amardillo screeching:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPuOQxJOqh0

That video drove our dog nuts when she heard that. Not all noises bother her though. Since my wife is a musician, we have a variety of instruments in the house, including a piano (doesn't bother her), a guitar (also not a problem), drums (no worries there), and this flute (and it's a lower pitched Native American style flute that my wife found at a craft booth in Arizona) - it is the only one that bothers her. As for the cell phones, I think she more has associated the cell phone with us not giving her the attention she desires more than any noise they make (none of our ringtones have ever been a problem for her).

But when she sees that tape measure, she tries to bite it, becomes enraged at the sight of it (with most things that bother her she tends to cower in fear or run away, but with the tape measure she goes on the attack), which makes me wonder if there was some sore of abuse in the past involving a tape measure (though I can't quite fathom exactly how).
 
jetmatt777
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Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2005 2:16 am

RE: My Bulldog Hates Tape Measures

Tue Dec 16, 2014 12:28 am

I doubt she was abused with a tape measure, as I had pointed out in my first reply; when the dog was a puppy she probably walked across it and the lock let go and the tape screamed back into the spool and possibly struck her on the way in.

Dogs are highly emotional, and things that scare them when they are young stick with them until they die.

If the dog is afraid of it as an adult, it was likely exposed to an unpleasant or frightening experience as a pup. When the dog sees that familiar item, she gets afraid because she remembers in her mind being struck with it and scared.

Just keep her in the other room while you measure. Have the wife take her to the park if you need to use it for several hours.
 
WestJet747
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Joined: Sat Aug 06, 2011 7:43 pm

RE: My Bulldog Hates Tape Measures

Tue Dec 16, 2014 12:46 am

I have a 12-year old beagle who we adopted when she was about 1-1.5 years old (she was a drop-off at the Humane Society, so it's really a guess). From day one she has always been very nervous of people walking downstairs. What I mean by this is that if she's laying down near the bottom of the stairs and someone starts walking down the stairs, she gets very skiddish and walks away. We think she had a bad experience of someone walking down stairs and maybe stepping on her.

I'm not so sure what bad experience your dog could have had with a tape measure, but it's very likely she had some sort of negative experience that lead to this behavious. I doubt it was abuse, though.

Quoting LittleFokker (Thread starter):
she tends to be skiddish about certain things, including flutes

Must have had a bad experience this one time at band camp...

Quoting LittleFokker (Thread starter):
cell phones

My dog is terrified of the shutter sound my phone's camera makes. It's gotten to the point where if I take my phone out and point it at her to take a picture, she skulks away.

Quoting LittleFokker (Thread starter):
other dogs

Easily explained by socialization patterns from before you adopted her. Unfortunately I'm not aware of any techniques to improve socialization once they hit that age. My pup is also very bipolar when it comes to other dogs, and we've tried everything to make her more friendly (or at least consistent).

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