An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

The various voices of a miniature Australian Shepherd

Coco has earned several nicknames in the two months that she has been terrorizing living in our home. Among them: Gina, DAMN GINA!, Daffy, Cricket, That Awful Dog, and Coco Furrocious. That last one is actually engraved on her ID tag, and we like to think that if Coco were ever to take up a career as a rap artist that she’d get this name and a lightening bolt shaved into the hair on her butt. And she’d have a hit song about our corrupt government, and maybe one about all her hos.

Whenever we see another dog while we are out walking she goes out of her way to prove that she is vicious, either by huffing and puffing and blowing their house down, or by hopping up strategically to make it look like she’s taller than she actually is. And then the mad barking… my God, if that string of consonants could be translated into English we’d have to walk around bleeping every other word.

But then it doesn’t stop there, she has to get the last word in, and when these dogs walk away she looks after them and barks under her breath, like she is making sure they take her seriously. And I think she has convinced herself that it’s working by the way she prances for the next few steps, but I get the feeling that these dogs are thinking less about her magnificence than they are about the fact that they wouldn’t have to try very hard to get her entire body inside their mouths.

And then there is the other noise she makes, the one she uses to let us know that she is happy to see us. Except, it’s the same noise she uses to indicate that she is terrified or outraged. We hear it when we’ve been gone for a few hours and return to get her out of her crate, see here two separate instances of such a situation:

But we also hear it when we dare to correct her. Sometimes I’ll be in the other room and it will sound like Jon is swinging her over his head by her hind legs, and I’m all, are you trying to kill the dog? And he’s all, no, I just won’t let her lick my beer.

I heard it once last week when I was at my friend’s house and her older cattle dog had just about had enough of the ferocious huffing. I think he endured it as long as he needed to, until he was all, really? You can huff? Interesting, because watch what I can do! And with one very succinct growl that dog sent Coco YEEAW! YEEAW! YEEAWING! down the hall, through the living room and into the kitchen. That noise continued the entire time she ran though the house and didn’t stop until she landed face first into a sliding glass door.

And I love that dog so much that I didn’t fall over laughing until after I had made sure she wasn’t knocked unconscious.

  • I suppose Coco-licious was too obvious…

  • That noise actually made me jump! And my very sublime Chesapeake Bay Retriever totally stood up in her cage from her nap because it startled her too. I thought Heather stepped on her foot or something in that second one. Wow, that actually made my blood pressure go up a bit. I can’t imagine how you guys live with it daily. How many more months of puppyhood to go? Wow. Puppies are so much more anxiety inducing than newborns. I never EVER thought I’d say that.

  • Ren

    Too cute, I wish I had a video of how nuts my dogs went when they heard CoCo. I had to play it twice to make sure they were completely freaked out. Where’s the puppy? My girls would love to meet her and chew on her ears.

  • The vocalization is definitely an Aussie thing, and yes I have an Aussie. I’m thinking it will get cute, oh about when I go deaf.

  • Anonymous

    My aussie used to make that noise when she was little, but then grew out of it. And then one day, when I returned from college after being home for a particularly long stay away, she burst out of the house and jumped all over me, making the noise again for the first time in a long time. It was heartbreakingly cute … such a desperate happiness.

    However, get thee to agility and obedience! Don’t let her develop dominance issues with other dogs and kids. If Chuck is any indication, you guys will turn out another prizewinning dog, no doubt. Make that little furball work!

  • Despite the fact that she is trying to find her adult bark now (and no one is more thoroughly startled than her on the odd occasion when she actually does), our puppy Sophie isn’t as noisy as your Coco. But she is equally excited to see us. All we have to do is go on a lengthy journey to, say, take the garbage out to have her entire body wag with unbridled delight at our safe and sound return.

    It makes me want to send the husband out with the garbage more often.


  • Her pack is home!

    Your Coco stories make me feel better about my nutty hound dogs, though, because each time you talk about how you get to take Chuck for walks, to the dog park, etc, and there are no accompanying anecdotes about how he barks and barks at other dogs, I hang my head and think, “my dogs are just weird – the freaky things just don’t know how to be normal.”

    And to think that all this time they were normal!

    The video is an example of why people love their dogs so much, don’t you think? When else is anyone greeted like that?

  • Oh, my. I feel for you guys. I hope the puppy kisses are making it all worthwhile!

  • Anonymous

    Jacks – our female aussie “submissed” like hell. Just another SUPER ENDEARING trait of the breed.

  • MP

    My mighty chihuahua was looking intently at the door the whole time I played that video, like, “I know that noise has to be coming from outside! There are other dogs in the hallway, and I have to save them!”

    Coco videos always get the best reactions.

  • Laura

    So I am so glad that Coco does the same thing! My dog Cash sounds like a squealing pig every time we open his crate. Scares the hell of me, I can’t imagine what the neighbors are thinking. 🙂

  • Charity

    Coco is totally psycho cute! My gram’s Lab makes the exact same noise but only when happy.

    Hey Heather, if you want to read a good book about a Marine getting another dog out of Iraq check out “A Dog Called Lava.” I finished the book in 2 hours and it was a really good emotional ride and details how the Marine did it with the help of NPR reporters, US dog trainers, and an Iraqi Interpreter. I’m totally like you…a complete sucker for pets.

    Love your blog!

  • I know exactly what you mean about getting the last word. Our mutt Sammy does it with people when she gets yelled at. Whenever you tell her “no!” or reprimand her, she huffs at you, and will keep doing it until you finally get tired of saying, “Don’t eat my flash drives…ANYMORE!”

  • Sara

    Ha ha ha! I am so glad I watched the video before I finished reading the entry. It made reading “YEEAW! YEEAW! YEEAWING!” so much better because I could hear the exact sound in my head. Love this post!

  • Jen

    So cute! But when I played it, my cat streaked upstairs, hid under the bed, and hasn’t been out since…

  • We have a Chihuahua that does the same thing. She loves to pee on carpet (previous owner issue) and if we pick her up and start to go near where she peed she starts screaching. She screaches the whole time we tell her NO! and while we shove her out the doggy door yelling over her “Go outside!”

    The neighbors probably think we are killing her.

    When we come home from work she gets so excited she hyperventilates and we almost have to do doggy CPR…that is why we keep her. No one else passes out from seeing us walk in the door. It’s an ego thing.

  • Kimberley

    Too adorable. Our five yr old, seven pound poodle makes the EXACT same noise every time we go and then are nice enough to reappear!

    If the whole act gets a bit old, I found that being quiet and relaxed (even almost ignoring her) for a few minutes right at the beginning helps her to get ahold of herself and just CHILL, and bring the excitement level down off the moon.

    Good luck, and have fun :>)

  • Wow, when I first heard it (I was looking at something else so I didn’t see Coco, I was sure you had a video of y’all hurting her. But then I knew you wouldn’t do that. Wow. I’m sure that’s a nice sound to be welcomed too. At least my cat (who thinks he’s a dog) is much quieter.

  • I love to hear stories of Coco. We have a new kitty and while I don’t have to let her outside to pee at 5am in my drawers she does wake us up at 4am to play fetch for an hour.

    Why is it that even thought they drive us CRAZY we love them just the same…I guess it’s the unconditional thing, huh?

  • Rebecca

    Uhh…can I have your husband? Please?
    I love him…

  • So many comments from people whose dogs went nuts when the video played-my collie/spaniel/mutt just laid there on the couch like he always does. Unless the FedEx guy knocks on the door or a car pulls into the neighbors’ driveway, then he barks like the world is ending. Coco is adorable, and seems to have had a haircut!

  • That’s pretty awesome… for YOU. 🙂 She really is quite cute. Puppy energy is a ton of fun. But I think this might be a good wake-up call to the people who were thinking of running out and getting a Coco for themselves.

  • Kim

    I can totally relate to the gangsta posturing – my 33 lb beagle has recently developed a wonderful case of onleash aggression. He’s fine when he sees dogs that are of equal size or smaller, and is an absolute love with puppies (in fact, he will lie on his back and let them jump all over him), but he puffs himself up and turns into a howling, lunging lunatic when he sees larger dogs he doesn’t know. I am beside myself looking up information on how to stop this on the internet, as he likes to pull this on Boxers, German Shepherds and the like. ARGH. And I have trouble being the “calm, assertive leader” when I’m panicking about my dog being eaten by another dog.

  • Anonymous

    That definitely sounds like a “Help me!” yelp my dogs do when say, we accidentally step on their tales? It’s a sort of anguished cry. But Coco is still very adorable and I totally want a Coco of my own.

  • Why do you keep her in a crate? How long was she there for?
    Doesn’t seem so weird she goes so crazy after being confined to a crate :-/

  • Mindy

    Funny. Those videos got my lazy dog off of her chair and running and barking through the house. That’s the most exercise she’s had all week. Thanks.

  • While I was watching the coco video Gucci looked over at me and rolled her eyes. I swear I saw her mouth the words “good lord, do you want me to get the truck and a shovel?” I don’t think Gucci would be a good mother.

  • Awww, cute little Coco!

  • Oh my, how I can relate! That video is awesome — Coco’s squeals are ADORABLE.

  • Jen

    My god, this was freaky reading this. . .

    My miniature dachshund, Tillo, does the exact same thing.

    He does the under-the-breath barks, I think he sounds like a grumpy old man. Damn kids.

    And he FLIPS like that when he sees us.

    Maybe it has something to do with the fact that they’re minis? Or spazzes?

  • Aaaaawwwwwww! She is so stinking cute.

  • Caitorade

    she’s INSANE. good god. but damn adorable.

  • Tek

    Crating is an excellent way of training a family pet and is one way to establish a dog’s place in the pack with the owner on top. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I lived with three dogs, only one of which was trained by me using a crate among other things. as a result I lived with two dogs that peed, pooped and lounged where they wanted when they wanted and one nicely trained well mannered dog. I loved them all but being well mannered was a bonus worth working for.

  • allie

    i think coco must be saying something powerful, my dog started barking and making noises along with the video.

    all 17 times i played it.

    cause i’m mean, i’d let him get calm from playing it – then play it again to watch him get all barky.

    is barky a word? doesn’t matter, i’m mean. might as well make up words too.

  • Anonymous

    My parents’ Jack russell does that noise; I swear it sounds like he’s been run over. Some lady accused my mom of abusing him when he was freaking out at some other dogs. Too funny!

  • CJ

    Be careful about her barking and carrying on at other dogs on walks. That’s really bad behavior and could lead to her acting out aggressively. And that’s not fun. It’s especially concerning since you have a child in the house. Don’t you watch the Dog Whisperer???

  • I find it hilarious that you are not trying to disengage her from Chuck’s neck on a constant basis, nor protecting her from bigger badder dogs.

    Coco is growing up through the trial by fire method.

    And despite the things you and Jon say about her, I find it hard to believe because She.Is.So.Frigging.Cute!

  • mama V

    Our Mini Aussie, Charlie, made that same noise as a pup, and it has followed his into his adulthood. He’s 6 now, and it’s just LOUDER. Mind you, he only does it if he’s hurt, scared, or SOEXCITEDIJUSTCANTWAITTOLOVEYOU! yeah… gotta love that Aussie range of emotion – but I wouldn’t tradei t for the world, or hesitate to recommend the breed!
    And yes… i want a puppy too… maybe if I make that noise my husband will concede….

  • kim

    I LOVE Coco!!! My dog Mylie does the EXACT same thing, not as often when we greet her, but usually if she hasn’t seen someone in a whole 8 hours….she lets out a yelp of pain (the same yelp if you were to accidentally step on her toe, or hurt her in some way) it frightens strangers!! When she goes to the dog park, she also lets out the same cry when a big dog (she is a small dog) gets a little too close, she screams in pain and agony, as if it bit her, and in fact it has never touched her. Needless to say the big dog owners usually get frightened that their dog hurt her. She is SLIGHTLY embarassing to take out in public. But so cute, JUST like Coco!!! I want her!

    Here is mylie’s dogster page:

  • Aw. This video made me want to come over to your house and have Indian food.

  • Wow that is quite a noise and I can’t believe I want to adopt a rescue one that is blind and deaf (to go with my blind cat and three legged Irish Woflhound).

    Despite her crazy noises, she is adorable and I am hoping she makes the March Masthead!

  • Kelly

    wow. she’s cute but…damn. You make the puppy-raising sound even worse than kid-raising.

  • Natalia, studies prove that dogs do much better if they’re crate trained. Dogs are den animals and require a place to call their own. Crate training is the absolute best thing you could do for your dog. We kept our one dog in a crate when we were away from the house until he was over 2 years old. It took a few months but he eventually grew to love his crate and knew that no one would bother him if he was in it. If he was tired, he would go into it and have a nap. Being crated also helps with potty training, manners training, prevents problem chewing and destructive behaviour etc. If more people crated their puppies, there would be less dogs being euthanized in shelters, that’s for sure.

    Heather, Coco is beautiful and I was giggling like crazy listening to her. She sounds exactly like our dog did as a puppy. He’s seven now so I’d forgotten about that high pitched whining and carrying on that puppies are inclined to do.

  • delia

    I don’t think the crate is making her bark like that. Our neighbors have the same dog. It lives outside in a muddy yard (as I typed that I came to the realization that it might be a yard of poo, not mud)with little to no interaction with anyone. He does that insane barking when they pull into their driveway each night. It breaks my heart every time because I know he’s running circles in excitement, like Coco, but unlike Coco he never gets attention.

  • Melissa

    My 1.5 yr old border collie mix is so similar to coco it cracks me up. He makes that same noise when greeting my family when they visit. Me, he sees every day and doesn’t react much to when I come or go.

    Herding dogs, so much fun! I hope she doesn’t get the car chasing bug like mine has!

  • Jen

    My doggie does this same yelping noise. He hasn’t outgrown it in 2 years. God help us. No, God help our neighbors.

  • Sounds like Coco is trying to be dominant; she needs the Dog Whisperer! 😉

  • heh – I seriously haven’t laughed out loud at work in EONS.

    Thanks, Coco.

  • Natasha

    Oh my god. I’m exhausted just watching that. She’s adorable, but man it makes it seem like a puppy is harder work than my 5 month old baby!

  • We have a rescued 11 year-old (ish) Red heeler/ German Shepherd Mix.
    I hit play on your little clip there, and as soon as the sound began, my dog started running around making the exact same noise, doing the exact same dance. It is in fact the exact same noise and dance she does every time we dare to leave our house, or even go outside to get the mail for that matter.
    Dogs (and this particular brand of dog in particular) are both a joy and a total pain in the ass. I hate to tell you that it does not improve with age. Our dogs has one foot in the ground and remains as neurotic as ever.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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