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.

  • Anonymous

    The sound of CoCo made my dog bark insanly.
    Something aobut a puppy that sets off all other dogs!

  • Oh and by the way, you are totally right about crating your dog, for all the reasons you probably already know and are listed by the American Kennel Club, (it makes them feel safe and comfortable, it keeps your stuff out of their mouth etc., etc,) But I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that.

  • Stacy

    That is the exact noise our austrailian shepherd made when he was a pup. It hasn’t gone away… just morphed into a combination of that and a grunt. He also picked up a nifty little trick of smiling with the grunt. He scrunches his nose up and shows his teeth when we get home after being gone for awhile…or if we walked into the other room and came back.

  • it sounds like she’s hyperventilating.

  • Anna

    She’s cute, but holy crap, that makes me thankful that I have one of the quietest dogs in the world. He will bark/growl at what he perceives to be an intruder, but other than that he almost never says a word!

  • That is the EXACT sound I make after placing an online order at Yankee Candles. I know just how she feels.

  • Wow. That’s one excited puppy. My neighbor’s dog makes some of the most heartbreaking moans when his owner’s gone.

  • Lorrian

    That brings back memories! We had an Aussie, Playdoh, when I was a kid. Same energy, same whining, and just a total love.

    Oh, and so annoying…but I sure miss being annoyed by her.

  • I think my milk just came in.

  • Kim

    What a peach! But I have to agree with other posters – I’m glad our puppy days are over.

    I have a greyhound and we can make him roo by making the roo noise (sounds like a lonely ohwoohwooh howl) at him until he starts doing it himself. He will arch his neck and his long narrow face will look like Snoopy in the Charlie Brown Christmas special – it’s hysterical. I’m sure we annoy the neighbors and the other dogs in the area but it’s so damn fun to do.

  • Eve

    Awwww…. what about the other puppy? He got no attention ):

  • This is the sound I make when my husband gets home from touring….only HE’S the Aussie. Strange…?

  • Megan

    My dog just flipped the fuck out when she heard that Coco noise. She alternated staring at my laptop and at me, pleading with her eyes to make it stop. And when it did, she gave one low growl under her breath and stood next to me until I played it again. And again.

    So, thanks for the porn my apartment-bound dog. I guess.

  • Wow, she sounds just like my semi-boyfriend’s full-grown border collie when he gets back from a week-long business trip, or when I visit his house after not having done so in a long time. Amazing.

  • Sometimes I think I really, really want a dog… then I see videos like this and remember why I’m a cat person. Thanks for the public service warning.

  • Lisa

    Perhaps you should consider consulting The Dog Whisperer. He would whip Coco right into shape!

  • My dog huffed at your dog when she heard the video. Perhaps Coco’s own beer is in order? It might mellow her out. Australian Sheppards have a pitch to their bark that makes your ears bleed.

  • Ely

    this is whats getting me through my midterms this week.

  • christina

    That shite is hilarious. We are currently dealing with the same issue with our new rescue dog, but Coco takes the cake on tortured noises. I can only imagine walking her. Our trainer told us to distract our dog when he freaks on walks around other dogs. Easier said than done. So as he is jumping up and down and growling, there I am crouched down trying to tickle his ear. Works real well…

    Thanks for the post. I’m sitting at work sick and this was the only thing that has made me smile. Now it’s time to get back to frowning and coughing.

  • T

    I think someone’s a candidate for the Dog Whisperer.

    Damn, that’s a cute dog. Reminds me of my own crazy dog who spent many, many years driving us completely mental. Now that he’s passed on I remember those days as hilarious frivolity, but at the time I was pretty sure it was an orchestrated attempt to destroy my sanity. I do miss that big lug.

  • Man, that is one gross cellulite advertisement to the right 🙂

  • Liz

    OMG…I cannot imagine having a dog make that sound when its happy!! I thought I had it bad- my Pit Bull, Spencer, whines in this very immediate way when he wants to be included in something. Like for instance when he wants jump on the bed and cuddle with us, he just stares at us and whines…like please please PLEASE can I join you, because if I cant I am pretty sure the world will end RIGHT THIS SECOND!!!

  • OMG, I had forgotten that noise. My beagle used to make that noise when he was little, and it was the most awesome thing, he was SOEXCITEDTOSEEYOU!ANDYOUANDYOU!!

    Thanks for the reminiscing, that’s quite the doggie you got there.

  • Anonymous

    Look at how much has changed in your life since you began this site exactly 8 years ago!

  • Anonymous

    Look at how much has changed in your life since you began this site exactly 7 years ago!

  • Elizabeth

    We engrave our dogs’ (nick)names on their tags too…right now, we have our two beagles, “Polly Doodle” and “Rufus the Fantastic.” But my favorite ever was the white German Shepard we had for a while, Stan, whose tag read: “Stan the Man (the Dog).”

  • We named our dog ZZ and now we just call her “The Beast” or actually “Teh Beast” because we are ridiculous people.

    ANNNNNYYYWAYYY….she’s 2 and she still does all those things. I’m just saying it never stops. EVER.

    Did I…I just..I’m not helping, am I?

  • You think it might be time to apply to that Dog Whisperer show?

  • Michelle

    Our 3-year-old dog does that, only louder and more piercing, when she sees a squirrel. In the park, people run over to us thinking some dog got hit by a car.

  • Our puppy, Lulu, must be cut from the same cloth! She has quite the vocabulary and practices it OFTEN. Lately she doesn’t like to go to sleep for the night until she’s had a few barks/whines/wimpers and then she just tuckers out mid-wimper into a quiet sleep. Only last night she added the most hilarious ruff to the mix. she was actually ruffing – like you would imagine a cartoon dog to do. with the rrrs and the oofffs. we were dying laughing -on the inside – because if we make any noise then god forbid, she’ll have to start the whole tirade over again, and no one wants that when all you’re trying to do is sleep.

    Thanks for helping me realize that we aren’t the only ones with a Demon Dog – aka Cybill, aka Lucifer – on our hands!

  • Yah. That last sentence? Replace “that dog” with “my son” and “she” with “he.”

    Only he ran down a hill, turned the corner, and went head first into the side of the car. The door bowed in, then popped Seth back onto the curb.

    We, too, waited a brief, fleeting second to make sure he was ok before laughing.

  • Kristin (delic8genius)

    I love the desperation in that voice – at least when she’s done you can be pretty sure her heart hasn’t ACTUALLY broken. When my corgi was a puppy, I could never be sure he wasn’t a pissed-off malcontent. It took me a LONG time to realize what his noises meant – i would pet and rub and stroke him, and he’d grunt and groan like an old man (and when he growled, it sounded pretty much the same). So for a long time I was never sure if he was all, “cut it out!” or “ooohhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” Turns out it was the latter.

  • Anonymous

    Coco is adorable but please, take her to obediance classes asap! When she gets bigger all these things won’t be so cute. Puppies must be taught social and behavior skills. You’ll want to like her when she’s older too.

  • Cheri

    The videos were too funny – I was just playing it and my two Aussies just came flying out of the bedroom, off of my bed – mid morning nap you know – to render assistance to whatever poor thing that was making all that pitiful noise – which is pretty funny considering one of my Aussies is deaf. My Brother in Law has an Aussie that sounds like that whenever he is oh so happy to see you – he screams and screams – like he’s been run through with something – wigga-butt going all the while!

  • she sort of sounds like a parrot being castrated with that bark

  • Fucking brilliant. Our dog does the same thing and it makes it so hard to be upset about the fact that she likes to shit under the bunk beds in the girls’ room.

  • Elizabeth

    unless you want her to always do that, which is cool, what you are supposed to do when they bark, etc. is to ignore it – do not hug her, pet her, etc. because you are encouraging the behavior. if you ignore her, it does not elicit the reaction she is trying to get by doing it, i.e. attention and your recognition, then she will stop eventually. our dogs did that kind of stuff when they were younger puppies (they’re 8 months now) and it works like a charm

  • Kelly

    Since your Daily Style comments are closed, I will have to post here to say Damn you woman and your daily style. Because of you, I now own:
    1) a ring by Amy Burhoe
    2) 2 pictures by pushmepullyou
    3) 2 books about Charley Harper
    I am going to have to ban myself. Also, if I lived in SLC I’m sure you and I would be throwing down at the Green Ant on a weekly basis.

  • I would not ignore that noise. It is way too funny and cute! More Coco video!

  • I’m shrugging my shoulders and grinning ear to ear. She’s so cute!

    That noise though, WOWZERS!

  • Jeff


    BUT…it will eventually drive you out of your skull. 🙁

    SOLUTION: First, don’t take him out when you get home. Make sure he knows you’re there but don’t get him for several minutes. Second, when you do open the door, IGNORE HIM for at least 5 minutes. NO petting and NO eye contact.

    He’ll stop. He’ll still be insanely happy to see you, but he’ll stop the squealing and jumping, which will only be funny for about the first 6 months or so!

  • i’m sorry but i have to sue you and jon for copyright infringement…you’re both (allegedly) guilty of using THE EXACT SAME voice i use with my dogs.

    my lawyer will be in touch. 😀

  • Elisha

    My parents had a Australian Shepard/Golden Retriever mix that made that Yeeaw noise when she was excited to see people too. She would also do it in a lower pitch when people were leaving.

    Coco is too cute! My boston terrier loves to watch the videos of Coco just as much as I do 🙂

    Love your blog!

  • Brittany

    I bet she would make that sound whether you were gone four days or just to the mailbox 🙂 thats what i love about dogs. But that sound could drive you to an early grave!

  • I love Coco and the noises. I guess that’s because I don’t have that background noise called, Leta. (Love ya, Leta!)

  • We share beer with the dog. But he is at the point where he’ll only drink Guinness. WTF

  • I love Coco and the insanity she adds to your life. It makes me long for a dog. I currently have two cats (one is an urban panther…20 lb black cat that thinks he’s bad ass but in reality is a scaredy-cat and the other is an eye-less wonder), one hamster and two fish.

    A dog is next on the list.

  • I love Coco and the insanity she adds to your life. It makes me long for a dog. I currently have two cats (one is an urban panther…20 lb black cat that thinks he’s bad ass but in reality is a scaredy-cat and the other is an eye-less wonder), one hamster and two fish.

    A dog is next on the list.

  • Talon


    That huffing under her breath…omg!! I had an Airedale/Aussie blue healer cross when I was growing up…he was supposed to be my brother’s dog, but Hobbes had other plans.

    Anyway he was VERY dog aggressive, so much so that when I took him to the vet (because no one else dared subject him to such things…) they knew to give us our own waiting room and a muzzle. Any dog that even LOOKED at me was subject to his barking growl. And I’d finally HAD it when the latest outlet for his rage turned out to be a stumbly, eight week old lab puppy. So I turned to Hobbes, and said to him, (because we always talk to our animals like this) Do you feel special now? Do you feel like a BIG MAN barking and growling like that at a BABY?? HUH??? He kind of shrugged his shoulders and huffed under his breath and gave the puppy his EVIL eye glare (the blue one, not the brown one)

    Then getting him examined…I never harbored any ANY fantasies about Hobbes not biting anyone. Just because he never HAD didn’t mean he wouldn’t, and even though I was there it didn’t mean jack…so I muzzled him for the vet who was feeling him over and taking his…er…tempature…and Hobbes did not like that ONE bit and was growling LOUDLY.

    ME: KNOCK IT OFF HOBBES!! You stop growling right NOW!!

    Hobbes: *silent for a moment*

    Vet: *waiting for the butt stick to beep*

    Hobbes: *way way way under his breath growl*

    Me: I HEAR THAT!!!!

    Vet: *trying not to convulse on the floor from laughter*

    *remembers fondly* Every one of my boyfriends was scared to death of Hobbes…little medium sized dog…even up to the one I married. My good gator puppy…damn I miss him.

  • Poor Chuck – no basement to slink into, and then having to listen to THAT?? Sheesh.

    Then again, we just moved into a new house, with a new yard – and our dog ran around the house like a banshee, whining and huffing until he drove me NUTS. Of course, I was following him around, trying like hell to stop him from marking all our new furniture.

    Dogs – gotta love ’em! (And I love that my captcha phrase is “clergymen, please!” LOL!)

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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