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Discussion Starter #1
So today I’m not feeling well and tonight we’re all siting on the couch, Merlin besides me and Beckie lying besides Merlin.

I put a heat pad (heated in the microwave) on my lower abdomen and it’s quite hot, on top of a blanket. It’s 77F in the house but I am cold, so the blanket and the heat feel good.

A few moments later, Merlin starts to «*cover me up*» with the blanket. He’s pushing a piece of the blanket with his nose (same they do when they try to cover something with sand or dirt). He’s also using his teeth a little, to get a better hold. He’s getting nowhere but trying like a champ.

At first I thought he was trying to cover me because I was cold, but then I thought maybe he was trying to protect me by «*extinguishing the fire*». He had smelled the heated pad and didn’t seem to know what to make of it. So that’s odd behavior number one.

I let him do it, I thought he was cute. But then Beckie sits up and let’s out a short growl, looking directly at Merlin. I immediately sense she is worried about something and I keep watching her. Merlin keeps doing whatever he’s doing, he doesn’t see Beckie, she is behind him. So in a flash, Beckie attacks him ! And she meant business, although she didn’t hurt him because I stopped her. Then I watch her to make sure she won’t do it again, but she’s definitely ready to strike! I gave her a firm «*no*» and she stopped, then came on my legs (I’m in a recliner sofa, legs elevated) and lay down. Odd behavior number 2 !

So was Merlin trying to protect me from «*fire*» ? And did Beckie misinterpret what he was doing, defending me as she thought he was hurting me ?

The jury is out...
 

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For Merlin's behavior, is it possible that the heating pad had a slight scent to it that he detected and was trying to cover it up?

I don't have any ideas on Beckie's reaction except what you've come up with.
 

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For Merlin's behavior, is it possible that the heating pad had a slight scent to it that he detected and was trying to cover it up?
This is what my dogs do when they don't like the smell of something or if there is something near them they don't want to see/smell. If there is a towel or blanket nearby, they will pull the towel or blanket until it completely covers up the food, treats, etc (usually it's food). This only happens when they are anxious.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
For Merlin's behavior, is it possible that the heating pad had a slight scent to it that he detected and was trying to cover it up?

I don't have any ideas on Beckie's reaction except what you've come up with.
It’s totally possible, as the heating pad has a smell to it. A mild, pleasant smell that comes out when you heat it. I never had a dog try to cover a smell before.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
This is what my dogs do when they don't like the smell of something or if there is something near them they don't want to see/smell. If there is a towel or blanket nearby, they will pull the towel or blanket until it completely covers up the food, treats, etc (usually it's food). This only happens when they are anxious.
Interesting, thank you ! I’ve had so many dogs, none of them ever did that. You learn stuff everyday ! :)
 

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This is one of the many aspects of dogs that purely fascinates me.

I think your male reacted to either something going on in your tummy (or the heat covered area) or the heat itself, could have been a smell. The female on the other hand sees the behavior as wrong or incorrect for what's happening. Females are serious serious business. They will respond like a snake striking. They mean business & your male learned that. I tend to have females, it's been a long time since I had my new male Standard Poodle (Mr. Layne).

I have a couple of stories to share with you on why I have this opinion.

I had one of the first migraine detection dogs (that my doctors could find information on. We all searched. I'm quite certain there were others). It's a long story of how we figured this out but basically, the doctor likened what happened in my body to what happens to seizure patients. There is a change in my smell leading up to the onset of the migraine. Tested rigorously, Dutch was 100% accurate. Tension headaches didn't do it. When I hit my head didn't do it. Sinus headaches... no. But let a migraine start & she was on it. She & my Mastiff. The worst one I ever had they knocked me down & sat on me. Thank God they did because I lost partial vision in both eyes. I was having anywhere from 6 to 12 of those suckers per week. Dutch had lots of practice. If I learned to take my medication when she came up to me & started nose poking me & softly whimpering... I'd either get ahead of the pain enough to tolerate it or ward the migraine off all together. Sadly I couldn't take the dog with me in public because she hated people. My husband let her be friendly with our neighbor's son. One day he broke into our place & he tied her up, when she nipped at him (because him grabbing her & chaining her was not normal) he beat the living daylights out of her. From that day forward she was like a Ninja where I was concerned, nobody came near me. She trusted my doctors which stunned us all. I also couldn't adopt or take on an adult dog because they do NOT respond nicely to this issue. Apparently I still have fluctuations where the dogs will step up to protect & look out for me, so there's still something I just don't go into full blown migraines. Dogs strange to me will either want to guard, protect, comfort me or they want very far away from me & freak out or have a fear aggression type response. So I get puppies who love me despite my weirdness. I was a professional dog trainer so I would have to hand over a dog from time to time to my hubby until the issue passed.

My current guardian, a Giant Schnauzer, told us my Mom's health was in trouble a year & a half before she died of cancer. 6 months after the warning, she went into the hospital. Dr.'s spent a year trying to find it. They did in end of November, she'd had a type of cancer that's hard to find for 3 years. So it explains why my dog was very indifferent to Mom when we first moved close enough for regular visits but in June before her first trip to the ER, she went from indifferent & obedient to overwhelmingly protective, guarding her from her own dog.

I'll add a 3rd instance. Dutch's predecessor was a Belgian Malinois. One of the best of the best dogs. At that time doctors thought I'd be in a wheelchair. I was hit by a hit & run driver as a pedestrian. I looked like something out of a horror film while trying to walk. Hollywood really coulda used me. Anyway, there was no predicting when my back would 'go out' or when I would go numb from the waist down but this dog knew. I've had her throw herself between me & a banister, keeping me from hitting my head. Struck her so hard I chipped her skull between my head & the banister. And no one in the room would know when I couldn't move but the dog did & you dare not reach for me or move toward me or she would eat you. Thankfully I was mobile from the waist up & friends got used to seeing me catch her with my finger over her muzzle & she would instantly close the mouth but her eyes were warning enough. The men I trained learned to watch that dog to gauge just how bad a time I was actually having. I have a high pain tolerance but you can't fool the darned dogs! I know... tried for YEARS.

Now I don't read what your dogs did as you having a horrible crisis on your hands but I think they were picking up on a scent from you that triggered each dogs' response. The male trying to cover the heat source up. The female putting him in his place. Same issue, two dogs reading the need differently. Fascinating & you had a front row seat.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
This is one of the many aspects of dogs that purely fascinates me.

I think your male reacted to either something going on in your tummy (or the heat covered area) or the heat itself, could have been a smell. The female on the other hand sees the behavior as wrong or incorrect for what's happening. Females are serious serious business. They will respond like a snake striking. They mean business & your male learned that. I tend to have females, it's been a long time since I had my new male Standard Poodle (Mr. Layne).

I have a couple of stories to share with you on why I have this opinion.

I had one of the first migraine detection dogs (that my doctors could find information on. We all searched. I'm quite certain there were others). It's a long story of how we figured this out but basically, the doctor likened what happened in my body to what happens to seizure patients. There is a change in my smell leading up to the onset of the migraine. Tested rigorously, Dutch was 100% accurate. Tension headaches didn't do it. When I hit my head didn't do it. Sinus headaches... no. But let a migraine start & she was on it. She & my Mastiff. The worst one I ever had they knocked me down & sat on me. Thank God they did because I lost partial vision in both eyes. I was having anywhere from 6 to 12 of those suckers per week. Dutch had lots of practice. If I learned to take my medication when she came up to me & started nose poking me & softly whimpering... I'd either get ahead of the pain enough to tolerate it or ward the migraine off all together. Sadly I couldn't take the dog with me in public because she hated people. My husband let her be friendly with our neighbor's son. One day he broke into our place & he tied her up, when she nipped at him (because him grabbing her & chaining her was not normal) he beat the living daylights out of her. From that day forward she was like a Ninja where I was concerned, nobody came near me. She trusted my doctors which stunned us all. I also couldn't adopt or take on an adult dog because they do NOT respond nicely to this issue. Apparently I still have fluctuations where the dogs will step up to protect & look out for me, so there's still something I just don't go into full blown migraines. Dogs strange to me will either want to guard, protect, comfort me or they want very far away from me & freak out or have a fear aggression type response. So I get puppies who love me despite my weirdness. I was a professional dog trainer so I would have to hand over a dog from time to time to my hubby until the issue passed.

My current guardian, a Giant Schnauzer, told us my Mom's health was in trouble a year & a half before she died of cancer. 6 months after the warning, she went into the hospital. Dr.'s spent a year trying to find it. They did in end of November, she'd had a type of cancer that's hard to find for 3 years. So it explains why my dog was very indifferent to Mom when we first moved close enough for regular visits but in June before her first trip to the ER, she went from indifferent & obedient to overwhelmingly protective, guarding her from her own dog.

I'll add a 3rd instance. Dutch's predecessor was a Belgian Malinois. One of the best of the best dogs. At that time doctors thought I'd be in a wheelchair. I was hit by a hit & run driver as a pedestrian. I looked like something out of a horror film while trying to walk. Hollywood really coulda used me. Anyway, there was no predicting when my back would 'go out' or when I would go numb from the waist down but this dog knew. I've had her throw herself between me & a banister, keeping me from hitting my head. Struck her so hard I chipped her skull between my head & the banister. And no one in the room would know when I couldn't move but the dog did & you dare not reach for me or move toward me or she would eat you. Thankfully I was mobile from the waist up & friends got used to seeing me catch her with my finger over her muzzle & she would instantly close the mouth but her eyes were warning enough. The men I trained learned to watch that dog to gauge just how bad a time I was actually having. I have a high pain tolerance but you can't fool the darned dogs! I know... tried for YEARS.

Now I don't read what your dogs did as you having a horrible crisis on your hands but I think they were picking up on a scent from you that triggered each dogs' response. The male trying to cover the heat source up. The female putting him in his place. Same issue, two dogs reading the need differently. Fascinating & you had a front row seat.
Thank you for your insight and those wonderful stories !

Do you have a poodle now and how does he/she react to your migraines ?
 

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Dechi,

I just got my first Standard Poodle. He's a black & white parti. First male I've had in several years so this ought to be interesting. I've had him just a month. He's starting to pick up on all the circus that is living with me :) At first I thought he was just monkey-see, monkey-do what the other dogs do but last week I was having a cluster headache (thanks to the barometric pressure that's been going crazy). When dogs do some of these things it can be so subtle & we have to foster the behavior if we hope to use it or gain from it. If ol Dutch hadn't been such a devoted & patient soul, I might have ruined her because I wasn't thinking like a trainer or a handler of any quality. I was just a miserable bonehead. Luckily, Dutch didn't disown me or decide I was too stupid to bother with. Dogs are amazing. But during the cluster headache, I noticed Mr. Layne became very careful.

Normal interaction with Mr. Layne: he comes in & if we've been separated for any length of time (20 minutes or greater) he wants his Mom time. He'll plop his butt down & flop up against me. Not hard. He's not rough but it's a thud.

When I had the cluster headache, Mr. Layne: came in & about four feet away he slowed & lifted his head, air scenting. I said aloud to him, "It's okay." He came up to me but was very soft in his interaction. Rather than sit & flop. He came up & put his chin on my leg. I rubbed his face & scratched his ears. His tail wag was slow. "I'm okay buddy. It's okay." After five minutes or so, he took a deep breath. He turned, sat down very easy & leaned but just let his hair touch my leg. I reached out & lay my hand on him & he leaned into me but no flop. No ornery puppy trying to pinch my toes or my leg like normal. This isn't an indication yet. We'll see if he does it reliably. But it's safe to say he knows when somethings up with me. He also indicates very strongly when he knows I don't like someone. He's got a "buzz off" expression that would stop traffic except he's so darned cute that people don't realize he's being serious.
 
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