Why does my dog get excited when..

…I’m on the phone?

I’m guessing there are no real factual answers for this so in “IMHO” it goes.

So here’s the story: When I make or receive a call my 5yr old male American Eskimo usually rises from his slumber or abandons his guard post and enters my room to watch me intently as I’m speaking.

Also, he seems to know when I’m winding down the conversation and ready to hang up as he gets excited and starts spinning circles and barking.

When I do hang up he’s spinning faster, barking louder, and generally making a brat of himself.

Not really a problem, I think its funny actually. I just wonder what goes on inside the furry melon of the nerdiest/funniest dog alive…

Ever think about sound waves? Or would it be that they know something bad is going on in that person’s life? nah!!! But anyways…

Hmm. Does he only do this when you’re alone in the house except for him? Maybe he thinks you’re talking to/teasing him?

I talk to my plants when I water them. (What? They like it.) Anyway, if I’m alone in the house except for our Rotti, she follows me around doing the head-cocking thing. If I’m not alone, she just looks in my general direction to make sure I’m not talking to her, then goes back to sleep.

Your body language communicates very clearly to your dog, more than you may realize.

First of all, you’re sitting there speaking to no one, in the dog’s mind. He may hear the voice of the other person on the phone, but he doesn’t know that you’re * communicating * with that person. (Just as if you were talking to the TV.)

While you’re talking, your body language reacts to the conversation. The dog can tell that you’re happy, excited, or tense, but for some reason, you’re not looking at him. This is odd behavior. He’s not completely sure whether you’re interacting with him or not. He may think it’s a game of some sort, and wants to play, but is unsure what you want him to do.

As the conversation draws to a close, the tone of your voice changes a bit. There might be a slight uplift to the end of your sentances, and the dog can tell from the tension in your muscles that you’re about to do something (hang up the phone-- but he doesn’t know that) thus, he gets a little excited, waiting to see what will happen. The tone of your voice when hanging up may approach the tone that people sometimes use with their dogs (a little higher, and “perkier” with a slight uplfit to the sentance endings) so the dog could get the idea that you may be speaking to him.

No he’ll do this with other people around also, thats the strange thing, he’ll be “visiting” a guest of mine and when the phone rings he’ll sit and stare at me whilst I jabber.
Oh he seems to know certain words like “OK I’ll talk to you later” or “OK bye” because when he hears that he goes nuts before I even hang up…

Thanks Lissa when I look at the nerdster I tend to forget that he can perceive slight changes in body language.

At first I was leaning towards conditioning but then he doesn’t get a treat or gets to go outside every time I hang up the phone.

Also that wouldn’t explain how he knows when I’m about to hang up as your explanation does…

Does he do it when anyone else is on the phone? If not, maybe he considers you the “alpha” and he may be more attuned to whatever you’re doing.

Do you use the word “Okay” with him alot? As in, say, “Okay! let’s go outside” or “Okay, boy, get in the car!” Or what have you.
It’s true that they can tell everything they need to know from your tone of voice, so it may be that it’s a combination of your tone and words that are getting his attention.

I wonder if he could be smart enough to have figured out the opposite of my first guess: That when you’re on the phone, you’re not paying attention to him. Therefore, when you get off the phone, his chances of gaining your attention go up. Hence, the goofy “look at me!” stuff. Or some kind of combination of the tone of voice/attention thing.

Other than that, I’m out of ideas. He sounds like a funny guy though. Ya gotta love the furry goofballs. :slight_smile:

Triss He tends exhibit this only when I’m on the line

Ok now I’m thinking he’s reading my body language and wants some attention and knows when he’s most likely to get it.

I shoulda named him Pavlov

Come to think of it, when our dog follows me around looking cute, she usually does score some attention from me. Even if it’s just a pat and a “you’re a doofus, ya know” in an affectionate tone.

Maybe the whole time, she’s been training me to give her attention during the plant watering. Or maybe she thinks I can’t manage it without her company and support. :smiley:

Telephone use does not come at regular times. Dogs are, in my experience, very concerned with regular times. Something always happens or it never happens, and anything in between is The Great Unknown.

You are the Boss, the Leash Bearer, the Source of Treats and Petting, the Giver of All Good Things. You are the centre of the dog’s world. When you react to a noise like a ringing phone, or approach the source of the noise, he backs you up. You might have to run away or bite somebody, which he could help with, and there might be cheese involved. Whatever it is, he’s on your side. It’s a break in the routine, which could be trouble or a new adventure but is definitely not what is supposed to be happening now.

<dog> The Boss is doing something different. I must follow him. I will look for clues from his body language, tone of voice, scent, and a bunch of other stuff humans don’t know about so that I will be able to react in an appropriate way. Oh, look, the boss is doing things that he’s done before when the crisis was about to be over. He’s returning to normal! Whatever horrible threat to our territory or routine or whatever has been staved off! Yay Boss! Let us celebrate! </dog>

Of course, IANAD.

If it makes you feel any better, my dogzilla does the same thing. I’ve been known to crate her while on the phone, because she chooses those moments to break dog rules and get into trouble. Negative attention is better than attention directed away from Ms. Precious Spoiled Rotten Dogzilla girl.

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It took me a while to figure out why my dog Sasha got excited when I was playing music with someone else and we’d count off before we started playing. (You know, the old “1… 2… 1,2,3,4” bit).

I finally figured out it originated in the days we did agility. When the dog gets to the pause table on an agility course, they have to lie down for a 5 count. Since then, sometimes I’ll count off for her, like “1… 2… 3… GO!”

She just generalized that experience into the music countdown.

Funny beasts.

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