Beware the Stare

Dog owners beware being stared awake
Dog owners beware being stared awake

Staring Power

Is there a dog conspiracy to take over the world?

As a devoted dog owner I’m beginning to wonder if they have powers that are beyond the understanding of mere mortals.

Barney is an ex-drugs dog re-homed following his retirement from HM Prison service who seems to spend a great deal of his time staring into space at some invisible force.

What amazes me is that he has now perfected the power of staring people awake.

Seriously it is a technique that is becoming increasingly disturbing.

How it works only he knows but I notice he only practices once the sun has gone down and before it comes up again in the morning which is where I appear to come in as his selected test subject.

This is how it works,

He creeps upstairs and into the bedroom in the middle of the night and sits and stares at me until through the power of ‘doggy mind-power’ I open my eyes and stare directly into his brown eyes.

The immediate response is then to be faced with the sound of an out of control wagging tail thumping against the door, wall or floor and greeted with what could be described as being a combination of a maniacal grin and canine smile.

For those who have heard of the experiment carried out by Pavlov into classical conditioning this is  an  about-face with Barney clearly having discovered the ability to ‘stare people awake’.

Of course I try to fight back by the simple method of waking up, cursing under my breath and scratching him behind his ear with the hope that if I turn over he’ll return to his own bed or at least to the landing.

The problem is that, and I know it sounds crackers I lay awake knowing, feeling his ‘aren’t I adorable’ eyes boring into the back of my head and the sound of his tail getting increasingly active.

The net result is that I have to inevitably get up and open the back door for him which he refuses to go through until I throw a biscuit before he’ll venture out into the back garden.

Classic conditioning is usually successful when two stimuli are set up to work together which under Pavlov’s experiment involved ringing a bell followed by giving food to dogs. Effectively the dogs learned that the bell meant food but also meant that dogs immediately started to salivate as soon as the bell was rung.

Barney has clearly either been affected by his previous occupation or has suddenly realised that he can train us to do his bidding by thought transfer during the hours of darkness.

This brings us back to the middle of the night back garden where his actions take on the aspects found only in very bad science fiction horror films because instead of going about his ‘business’ he suddenly stands staring into the darkness.

What he’s concentrating on I have no idea but it clearly is something that transfixed him on the spot until I find it impossible not to join him in staring into the darkness trying to see what it is he is looking at.

OK so it sound crackers but that’s not the end of it.

To start with the mind plays strange tricks on you when stood staring intensely into the trees at the bottom of our garden at some god forsaken time in the middle of the night.

Barney of course is completely oblivious to this so the next stage is for me to encourage him to come in which is when two things happen.

The first is that he comes out of his trance and looks surprised that he’s in the garden and secondly decides to rush back into the house where he within minutes manages to settle down and go to sleep and making sounds that I’m sure is him canine giggling that he’s managed to get me up for no discernible purpose.

I am then of course condemned to trying to find a cool side of the pillow hoping, usually unsuccessfully to get back to sleep.

If this isn’t bad enough he has now started practising his ‘staring’ technique during daylight hours by suddenly waking up and staring fixedly at the front door giving all of the indications that someone or something is there.

It is a technique that has now got the whole family trained to open the door only to find nothing and no one there.

The question now is what is next?

Are we going to be faced with a refined Barney technique of ‘staring mind games’ in which we will automatically open the fridge for him to help himself or open dog food on demand?

What is even more worrying is that if dogs do have telepathic skills are they in league with each other and will all dog owners find themselves stood at the back door in the middle of the night as part of a universal conspiracy against the human race?

and if so, “To what diabolical end”?

Dog owners – You have been warned!!!!