We’re All Working from Home. We’re All Listening to Our Dogs Bark.

Here’s what mine is barking at.

His name is Rudi, but we call him the white ball of hate. He’s a deceptively cute bundle of fluff with a Swiffer of a tail that airily waves back and forth as he prances around his domain. Rudi is a beautiful mini American Eskimo that we brought into our family before we discovered that the best pooches can often be found at the local shelter. Likely inbred 6x over, Rudi is from a breeder in the most rural edges of Missouri. We drove hours to get him, and my first sign that we’d potentially erred in our ways was the hours-long car ride home during which I had to continuously clean up his vomit. Rudi does not mix well with moving vehicles.

As my daughter, the veterinary technician, has informed me, the breed is a “talking breed.” Yes, indeed. You’ll want to know—and fully comprehend this—before inviting one of these little charmers into your peaceful abode. For them, it’s not enough to just give one shrill little yip; they’ll bark so much that your other previously well-behaved dogs will also develop an obsessive barking habit. Yes, siree, a talking breed.

Working from Home with Your Talking Breed

If you’re like the rest of the entire world right now and find yourself working from home, a talking breed can be a challenge, especially if you have a job that requires you to be on the phone with clients. I’ve put together this handy-dandy list of things you can look out for (and hopefully avoid) if you, too, have a bark-his-little-balls-off dog. (And nope, it’s not that. Those are well and truly gone…just a manner of speaking.)

Rudi barks at many, many things, but I’ve gotten used to the low rumble that starts just before a fit of full-blown barking kicks in. When I hear the rumble, I know it’s time to either talk him off the ledge or relocate myself.

The Dirty Dozen

Here’s a handy list of things Rudi is currently barking at—about a dozen of his favorites, to be exact. These are the things you’ll want to avoid (or be ready for) if you decide a talking breed is right for you:

  1. The car that just drove by—on the fully legal city street where cars are SUPPOSED to drive all day long.
  2. The car that MIGHT drive by. Yep, the one that’s two streets over. He can hear it, and he’s making a pre-emptive strike by barking at it.
  3. The cricket that just farted in the backyard.
  4. His own hair blowing in the breeze.
  5. The ticking of the clock.
  6. His reflection in the refrigerator.
  7. The kids on the front porch. (They LIVE here, Rudi.)
  8. The toilet flushing.
  9. The ding of someone entering a Zoom meeting (a particular favorite of mine).
  10. The sound of his own bark (an ironic, vicious cycle).
  11. The sound of the house plants growing.
  12. The sound of the other dogs barking because he TAUGHT them to bark.

It could be anything at all really. This is just a guideline, as your very own talking breed will likely want to discuss completely different topics with you. Point is, you’ll probably get that one tiny warning growl—like the tiniest of dog sighs—before Fluffy or Fifi goes from zero to I-AM-GOING-TO-EAT-SOMETHING-ALIVE. This is your cue to either evacuate or de-escalate, depending on your work situation at the time.

Even if you’re just relaxing and working on a creative piece of your own, it can be bad for your writer mojo to constantly have to go from relaxed to instant-state-of-shock. I’ve tried to talk to Rudi about this. To date, he is not amenable to any mediation, however.

I’ve laid out logical reasons for not barking. But he is not a reasonable dog. He is beautiful and fluffy and he wants to be on the front lines, protecting and defending our home from wayward sights, sounds, and smells every single day. He is a tiny, angry soldier who will not rest until he has warned all of us about potential security breaches—including wayward pigeons and leaves.

But, I’ll concede a bit. After 8 years with Rudi, we’re really pretty attached to the little noise box. All I’m saying is if you’re working from home with a talking breed, try to avoid things like wind, paper crinkling, and well, anything that involves opening or closing a door. The good news? No one is EVER gonna sneak up on you!

Happy writing!

Published by Janelle Stahl

I'm a wife and a mom, a spoiler of pets, a traveler, and a learner. I love to explore, and yep, you guessed it...WRITE! The serial comma is my spirit punctuation, and I get super-excited when friends and family don't make their last names possessive on Christmas cards. Social media is my jam, I've written a couple of books for kids and one fiction novel, with another in the works. If a nerdy girl could be a little bit cool, that would be me. I own entirely too many Isabel Allende books, and if you take me anywhere near a flea market, I'm likely to go on an impromptu treasure hunt!

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