Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pugs, construction noise and barking

Liam the pug is playing with his toys
Liam is better at playing than guarding.
Yesterday, we had the roof of this old house cleaned. In order to do the job, the workman had to climb all around the house, and he was wearing a huge parka as well as eye and ear protection. I felt sure the pug would be a barking, snarling mess when he looked out the window and saw some masked person peering through our windows. Much to my surprise, Liam didn't let out a peep. In fact, he didn't even seem to notice that anyone was here, even when the man was directly outside our workroom windows.

In addition, this man used a compressor on our roof, which meant a lot of slapping and swishing and dragging noises, and large clicks when the machine turned on and off. Again, I expected barking noises, and instead Liam responded with snores.

At first, this whole thing had me perplexed. Liam will wake up out of a dead sleep if he hears the merest jingle from a dog's identification tags, and he will bark relentlessly at any animal he sees on the television. He'll also sometimes growl at people he thinks seem threatening in some way, and that are coming toward our property. Put all of this together, and you have a recipe for a bark-a-thon when the roofers come.

On the other hand, the lot adjacent to our house is going through some extensive renovations, which means there has been a significant amount of construction noise day in and day out. At first, the noise was troubling to us all, and I found that both Liam and I would jump at each new sound. Now, since the work has been ongoing (and seems to be ending), we don't notice any construction noise at all.

Perhaps in Liam's little dog brain, the roof cleaning was another example of construction noise, and he chose to tune the whole thing out. This bodes well if the husband and I have to do yet more work on the house this summer, as we seem to have created the perfect construction-impervious dog!

It's probably difficult to recreate this situation for people who do not live next to construction. A recording of construction can't recreate the rattling of the earth that so often comes along with these big machines, and those sonic movements tend to drive dogs wild. I suppose you could hire a kid to drop something heavy from a 2nd story window or something, but it's probably not practical. I do think, however, that I will probably continue to encourage Liam to endure, and then become accustomed to, strange noises whenever I can. Instead of trying to shield him from the loud motorcycles, the leaf blowers or the screaming children, I'll let him acclimate to each noise in his own time. If it results in less barking, it's worth the effort.