Dog spooked by headstone in woods

(29 Posts)
SockEatingMonster Wed 08-May-19 21:39:45

I have had my lovely rescue dog just over 3 weeks now and every day we walk and walk and walk through the woods and he trots happily along, sniffing and peeing on stuff and making half-hearted attempts to chase the odd squirrel and then peeing on some more stuff.

Today we are lost ambling along a new path when I spot some sort of stone marker, it looks a bit like a memorial or headstone with writing on it, so being the nosy sort I plod over to take a closer look. Ddog toddles off ahead of me, then suddenly stops and lets out this really weird low growl. He's on the long lead so I step past him and continue, but he continues to growl and will not go any further. I look around and can see nothing that would upset him. It is possible from this distance to tell that the marker is some sort of granite headstone with a man's name at the top, but he's obviously spooked so we give up and head back to the main path.

Is this normal dog behaviour? I couldn't tell if it was an actual burial site or just a memorial, although from what I did catch of the wording it seemed to be the former. I did take a photo from the main path, but it's too blurry to read. A little further along we reached a campsite, so the land, despite being part of a larger forested area, is possibly privately owned. Without wanting to be too macabre, is it possible he could smell the human remains and was spooked by them?

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PattyCow Wed 08-May-19 21:44:48

Naw. He saw something out of the ordinary visually and spooked. They do it for plastic bags blowing in the wind or any unexpected object. Human remains wouldn't cause a growl. I think you might be in danger of anthropomorphising him a bit.

SockEatingMonster Wed 08-May-19 21:46:08

I did wonder, but it was the headstone itself he was focused on. Maybe it was just because it looked so out of place?

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Hairyheadphones Wed 08-May-19 21:46:58

My dog does that when she sees bags in an unexpected place, your dog didn’t expect to see a stone marker in the woods.

dudsville Wed 08-May-19 21:49:16

We once had a pile of turf on our garden and our dogs were so suspicious, only the bravest charged at it barking, full defence mode.

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Wed 08-May-19 21:51:56

Completely normal for them to be a bit spooked by things they think shouldn't be there. Mine has been spooked by everything from a man in the middle of a blackberry patch to a fishing tent to a flapping bit of black plastic.

Though he did try to dig up my late grandfather grin

Abra1de Wed 08-May-19 21:53:45

My dog is seriously spooked by recycling caddies.


SockEatingMonster Wed 08-May-19 21:55:00

That would make sense. We have a woodland burial site near us and I was sure that I'd remembered people parking up there with their dogs, but then I was also wondering if it was some dog-thing that I wasn't aware of blush

the turf sounds utterly terrifying.

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SockEatingMonster Wed 08-May-19 21:55:43

Though he did try to dig up my late grandfather


OP’s posts: |
BrokenWing Wed 08-May-19 21:59:24

My dog gets upset at the back of black plastic road signs (the trainglar ones that sit at side of the road at road level), or haybales wrapped in black plastic. These are the only time he ever growls, barks and gets really wound up. Normally he's a very quiet dog and never barks.

SockEatingMonster Wed 08-May-19 22:07:23

Wow, road signs, recycling caddies, tents, carrier bags... horrifying.

Ddog appears to dislike our stairs, at least he barks at them quite a lot and lost his shit completely the first time he was sitting in the hallway and someone came down them. They have an open balustrade so I think he gets a bit freaked out by legs appearing from the ceiling. I think/hope he's getting used to them though.

His normal response to an unexpected stone marker would be to pee on it. It's one of his favourite things to do hmm

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AvocadosBeforeMortgages Wed 08-May-19 22:30:56


I took him to the cemetery and he started trying to dig up his grave blush My grandfather died years before PestDog was born, so they never met, but PestDog doesn't normally start digging up grass (normally only molehills and sand, on command)

Luckily my grandfather was a dog lover, and not one to stand on ceremony, who would have found it hilarious grin

SockEatingMonster Wed 08-May-19 22:35:49

Gosh, that is rather embarrassing @Avocados. Perhaps we’ll give the woodland burial site walk a miss for the time being...

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merryMuppet Wed 08-May-19 22:43:44

My previous hound had a similar reaction to a strange old stone in the middle of a flood plain. He was a very quiet dog usually but he went into full on growling and barking at this stone. I too wondered if there was something he was sensing that I wasn’t but then one day someone left a white plastic garden chair in the middle of the playing field we often walk in and he did exactly the same with the chair so he obviously just didn’t like things in fields which seemed out of place to him. I loved his observation. He also used to notice when I had a towel on my head and didn’t bother getting off my bed until he’d heard the hair dryer being put away downstairs where on other days he’d come down with me as soon as I went downstairs. I love our crazy clever dogs so much! grin

iklboo Wed 08-May-19 22:51:50

My whippet / greyhound cross was traumatised by a rabbit.

Abra1de Thu 09-May-19 07:54:15

Oh dear, our dogs aren’t the brightest, are they!

Hallowe’en pumpkins are another source of angst to my canine every year.
Especially when discarded outside where they weren’t the day before.

spiderlight Thu 09-May-19 15:33:28

My sensible head says that he was spooked by an unexpected object or that it looked odd from his angle. But then our dog refused to go past a particular tree for the first month after he came to live with us. All other trees were fine but he would not go past this one for all the treats and balls and coaxing in the world - it's a tree where a man sadly hanged himself about 18 months ago.

ferretface Thu 09-May-19 22:46:52

He considers it out of the norm. My pup had a good old grumble at a carved wooden bench in the woods which he hadn't noticed before (we normally approach it from another angle). He went charging up to it tail raised and made a sheepish noise when he realised it was just a piece of wood blush

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Thu 09-May-19 22:56:15

PestDog had a front door he wouldn't walk past - he'd just put the brakes on and refuse to move, and had to be carried.

We walked past it in the other direction a few times and then he decided it was absolutely fine hmm

Sometimes he gets up during a quiet evening and starts looking at the air (IYSWIM). The standing joke is that he sees dead people grin

Squirrel26 Fri 10-May-19 06:40:37

My dog doesn’t like things that look like other things. There’s a house near us with a hedgehog-shaped shoe scraper thing, and that causes all sorts of angst. And I once took him to an emergency vet where they had papier-mâché models of dogs and cats in the waiting room, which caused him to lose his shit. hmm

BarkandCheese Fri 10-May-19 06:47:04

Mine hates things she pecives to be out of place, wheelie bins and road signs are often a cause of barking, but her real ire is saved for golf trolleys she spots when we take the footpath across the golf course. We get very odd look from the golfers as we go past.

GertrudeCB Fri 10-May-19 07:01:55

Yup my big, brave lab refused to walk past an estate agents for sale sign because it had tilted slightly. Growled and pulled in the opposite direction.

Pleasedontdothat Fri 10-May-19 09:20:58

My dog has very fixed ideas about what’s Supposed To Be There and even more fixed ideas about what’s Not Supposed To Be There ... so a traffic cone in the road is fine, a traffic cone which suddenly appeared in the river where he goes swimming was definitely Not Fine. He’s also spooked at oddly shaped tree stumps and adults riding scooters - children on scooters are fine but he’s decided that adults shouldn’t be allowed to get on scooters and that it’s his job to tell them off blush

Aquilla Fri 10-May-19 10:00:21

Mine went on holiday for 6 weeks and upon return realised the council had installed a huge new bin along one of her regular walks.
The result was exactly the same (but obviously more comical because it was a bin)!

Abra1de Fri 10-May-19 12:15:34

A little voice saying Unexpected item in the walk area must pipe up inside their heads.

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