Nothing to bark at

I’m answering a Frequently Barked Question (FBQ) today.

FBQ: We have recently moved and my Pyrenean Mountain Dog, or Great Pyrenees, has started barking at everything. He was quite sensible about what he barked at before we moved. How do I help him to settle down and stop barking so much?

Clowie: From his point of view everything has changed and there are lots of new potential threats. He needs some time and help to work out which things are normal in the new location and which things are a concern, just the way he did when he was an adolescent and assumed his role of looking after household security.

I’d like to tell you about when we moved to a house in a remote part of Spain. It was very quiet. There were only a couple of houses and a barn anywhere near us. The houses were empty most of the time as they were used as holiday homes and the farmer rarely visited his barn.

A view of green fields and mountains in the distance

The view from the terrace

On the day we arrived we stood on the terrace together looking at the view, when the male biped said, “Well, Lieutenant Woof, even you’re going to find it difficult to find anything to bark at here!”

I should explain that Lieutenant Woof is one of my many nicknames. It’s because I’m as excellent in my role of Chief of Security as Lieutenant Worf in Star Trek is. I should also say that wasn’t one of the brightest things the male biped ever said. He won’t mind me saying that, as he freely admits that he had totally underestimated my abilities to spot a potential threat when he said that.

During the course of the next few weeks I alerted the bipeds to all kinds of threats that they had no idea were lurking. Each time I barked one of them would come and check what I had seen and tell me what it was and that it was okay, just like they had when I was an adolescent first taking up my guarding duties. I think they were quite surprised at the variety of animals they wouldn’t have noticed near the house!

Clowie, Pyrenean Mountain Dog, Great Pyrenees, on guard duty on the terrace

One Sunday afternoon a few weeks later, I was in my favourite lookout position on the terrace when I spotted something and began to bark. The male biped came out onto the terrace and looked around. He said that he couldn’t see anything to worry about and told me to be quiet. I continued to watch as I knew he hadn’t seen the threat. It wasn’t long before I felt the need to sound the alarm again. The male biped came out and he still couldn’t see what was bothering me, but he told me to be quiet.

I knew he didn’t know what I was barking at, so it wasn’t long before I barked again. This time he came out he asked me where the threat was. I stared pointedly at the ridge, but he still couldn’t see anything. He went indoors and returned with the binoculars. He put them up to his eyes and scanned the ridge. I knew he’d spotted the threat when he stopped moving and looked intently at one spot. He took the binoculars away from his face.

He looked at me and asked, “Seriously? A fox on the ridge?”

I looked back at him, pleased that, at last, he’d seen what I was warning them about.

View of fields with a red arrow marking the spot

The red arrow marks the position of the fox

He said, “But that’s about half a mile away, Clowie!”

I stared at the fox again, it was brazenly strolling about in broad daylight – it was obviously up to no good. I drew breath, ready to bark again. The male biped told me it was okay for the fox to be there and he didn’t want to hear another woof on the subject. I was wondering how close the fox would have to be before I should warn them, when he said that he didn’t want to hear another woof until the fox was in the yard below. He then turned to go back indoors but as he went in through the door I gave a quiet woof. He turned to speak to me again. I was sure he’d realised it wasn’t a good idea to let the fox get that close.

He said, “Clowie, it’s only a fox, be quiet! Not a woof till it’s in the yard below.”

Then he added, “On second thoughts, I don’t want to hear about it unless the fox starts climbing the grapevine to get onto the terrace! Not a single woof.”

I could hardly believe my fluffy ears! As you can imagine, I kept a close eye on that fox. It eventually disappeared into the distance and I knew all was safe. Over the next few weeks, I became more familiar with my surroundings and the things that my bipeds wanted to hear about. I also discovered there were plenty of things they thought of no concern, but I continued to watch just as carefully.

See you next Wednesday!


  1. My word your vision is excellent Clowie, to see a fox in greenery half a mile away! Well done on protecting your bipeds even if they may sometimes not see things in quite the same way as you do!

    • I don’t miss much! I make it my business to know everything that is happening. The bipeds can afford to be relaxed about these things with me there to look after them and just because I, usually, stop barking when asked doesn’t mean I’ve stopped watching!

  2. It is so difficult for me to figure this out. Who is most in charge Clowie? You, or the bipeds? 😉 😉

    • I let the bipeds think they’re in charge most of the time – it seems the polite thing to do! 😉 I reserve the right to overrule them on matters of security, as that is my area of expertise.

  3. same here… I had to read it twice… “it’s only a fox, be quiet?”… oh boy it’s a F.O.X. … and we have to chase that red criminal away immediately… they are dangerous… and the sing ring-ding-ding, like the fox in that song…
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog AWWWW… an AWARDMy Profile

    • I knew you’d understand, Easy! Only a biped could say “only a fox”! They have no idea about half the things we protect them from!

  4. Don’t stress yourself out Clowie worrying about us humans and our lack of understanding of real threats 😉
    Animalcouriers recently posted…Five dogs, five cats and a parrot join Tiddles for our trip to the UKMy Profile

  5. Your family is in SUCH good hands (paws), C. Your dad is so funny waiting till the fox was climbing into the house to worry. I for one, am POSITIVE you would not have let that happen. Good work!

    Love and licks,
    Cupcake recently posted…Countdown WednesdayMy Profile

    • Thank you, Cupcake. It is hard to believe he thought it would be okay for the fox to come that close! You’re right, I would have made sure it didn’t get on the terrace.

  6. Pretty amazing Clowie! You have super protection skills!!!

  7. “It’s only a fox!?” oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, here we come. Fox, woolf, squirrle, it’s all the same to us. wag wag Max & Bella
    Paulette Mahurin recently posted…The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap by Paulette MahurinMy Profile

    • Yes, “it’s only a fox!” – that doesn’t make any sense at all! I’m glad you protect your bipeds from dangerous creatures – they have no idea!

  8. haha! I think my huskies are with you on this one. While they don’t bark at everything they see, they do like to whine, and give off the odd howl. Koda always jumps up at the door when something is outside, and gets me every time because I always stand up to see whats out there LOL! Maybe he has a big laugh about it when I do who knows!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
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    • I’m glad they’re alert and keep you safe. I haven’t howled since I was a small pup – I was quite loud then, maybe I should give it a try again!

  9. What a good spot – well done you! The bipeds are so lucky they ahve you to keep them safe!
    Lauranne recently posted…#PimpmyRabbit – Look at me Mum!My Profile

  10. I know I have company coming when my cats take off for the upstairs bedroom. I can’t even hear the car coming down the street but they do. Animals are amazing and you are a great security lieutenant!

    • Thank you, I take my duties very seriously. My cats approve of your cats’ actions and say that’s very wise. They always make themselves scarce when we have visitors, whereas I love the extra attention!

  11. You are a guard dog, just like Katie. She used to bark at what Mom considered nothing all the time, but it is what your kinds were made to do.
    Emma recently posted…Woo Hoo! Bailie Is Turning Two! #MultiPetManiaMy Profile

  12. What excellent eyes you have, Clowie! Although, I must say I was thrilled when I saw a fox one morning in the conservation area behind us. To my eyes, they’re a sign that the ecosystem is working!
    jmmcdowell recently posted…Ends And OddsMy Profile

  13. Silly, silly people. They are oblivious to almost everything, which isn’t surprising since they can’t seem to hear, smell, or see much at all. They put perfectly good things in the bin and say “rubbish”, they roll in water to get rid of any good smells they pick up, and our person spends a ridiculously large amount of time staring at a little screen while she clacks away on a “keyboard”. If it wasn’t for us Clowie, people wouldn’t begin to realize that life was going on around them!
    Saved by dogs recently posted…Chihuahua: Mighty Personality on Petite LegsMy Profile

  14. Beautiful photographs and post, dear Clowie AKA Lieutenant Woof!…💫✨🌟 happy weekend …. best wishes. Aquileana 😀
    Aquileana recently posted…Mythology: “Apollo”/ Poem: “Hymn to Apollo”, by Geofrey Crow (@GigglingStream) / “@Saltoalreverso #7″.-My Profile

  15. What a great story! Reminds me so much of my Jeffie who we say has xray vision 🙂
    Sue recently posted…Dog Song by The Doug McFarland One | Dog Song SaturdayMy Profile

  16. You have amazing vision, Clowie! Glad to know you are keeping the bipeds safe from harm, even if they don’t always appreciate it. 🙂
    Debbie D. recently posted…THE YEAR WAS 1965 – #MusicalMemories #ThrowbackThursdayMy Profile

  17. Aurora Jean Alexander

    You’re an amazing dog, Clowie. Great interview too! 🙂

  18. WOW that is good eyesight indeed Clowie. I know sometimes my guys see stuff that I can’t see. Your biped is lucky you spotted that.
    Jodi recently posted…Team Sampson – #MultiPetManiaMy Profile

    • Thank you. I think my bipeds are very lucky to have me to protect them – they’ve no idea about most of the dangers that are lurking!

  19. That really is some excellent eye sight. Clowie does his job well. I must say that a fox on the ridge, however far away is much more dangerous than a plastic bag. We had a samoyed who barked for what seemed like 20 minutes at a plastic bag that was taken by wind and flying across the street. He made sure that everyone in the house and the neighbors knew that they were in imminent danger.

    • I don’t miss much! Maybe there was something far more sinister about that plastic bag than you know! You can never be too careful.

  20. Well of course it’s very important to take your guard duties very seriously! And if there was a fox in the distance who knows how long before it might be invading your bipeds fridge!! keep up the good work Clowie!
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  21. Pingback: To bark, or not to bark, that is the question | Clowie's Corner

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