Men with Beards and Hats

Good morning! Here’s a fun Murphy post to start your day off on the right foot!

If you’re a longtime reader of CNC, you know Murphy is a tad neurotic and gets obsessed with the strangest things. For instance”¦

The empty bag of dog food. He stared at it for hours.


The fireplace. He was obsessed with it for days.

pug fireplace

The Donkey. Remember this thing? Murphy hated it and stared at it every time we passed by on our walks in our old neighborhood.


Thankfully, the donkey in our current neighborhood doesn’t have evil spirits inside, so Murphy doesn’t really care about it.

the new donkey

Other things that upset Murphy and typically cause him to bark like an insane freak:

And the newest thing to add to Murphy’s list of obsessions and things he barks at for no apparent reason: Jeff.

Who is Jeff? Jeff is an older gentleman who walks around our neighborhood, and he’s actually really friendly. Usually, I just say ”˜hi’ to people who Murphy and I encounter on our afternoon walks, but I almost always stop and chat with Jeff for a few minutes. He’s honestly one of the nicest and happiest guys I have ever met. But, Murphy, for some reason, does not like him. He’ll recognize Jeff in the distance and immediately start barking””but it’s not excited, happy barking. It’s anxious, upset barking. The fur on Murphy’s back even stands up, which only happens when he’s really freaked out.


I’m so embarrassed every time we see Jeff on our walks, but, thankfully, he finds Murphy’s behavior amusing and tries to win the pug over every time we see him. Jeff tries to make friends with Murphy by letting him sniff him and then trying to pet him. So far, we haven’t had much success (still lots of barking), but we’ll try again the next time we see him.

I really don’t understand my dog sometimes. He’s full of doggie paradoxes. He’s a therapy dog, who truly loves everyone he meets, but he just isn’t a fan of Jeff. I don’t get it. Maybe he knows something about Jeff that we don’t? Evil spirits? Dead bodies in his basement?

Question of the Day

What’s something strange and usual that upsets your pet?

P.S. Looking for some new snack ideas? Check out my newest post on The Laughing Cow blog: Find a New, Favorite Cheesy Snack!


  1. This post made me laugh – my dog is the SAME exact way! She gets obsessed with weird objects, and is the friendliest dog ever, but once in awhile she does NOT like a person for no apparent reason. I’m convinced that she knows something that we humans do not! I joke that the person she fixates on and barks at must be a serial killer or someone who doesn’t like animals hahaha

  2. Cute post.
    Nice snack ideas too…the rice cake one looks good. Avocado + sea salt + rice cakes are addicting actually…
    I’ve never had laughing cow cheese…out of curiosity are they organic? (Not saying they should be, just curious!)

  3. haha that hilarious. Aren’t dogs just the funniest? My dog is pretty predictable in many ways but he’s very predictable. Sometimes he’ll just decide he doesn’t like someone and we have no idea why! When we were staying at the hotel in Boston, he had beef with housekeeping!

  4. My dog does the same thing, only to my dad. Which is bad, because she lives with him and my mom! We’ve had her for almost 2 years, and she’s still positively freaked out by him. So if you do find a “cure” for Murphy’s Jeff problem, let us know!

  5. my yorkie hates the vacuum, he’ll chase it and bark at it and goes nuts! but if you let him smell the vacuum before you use it he totally doesn’t care. it’s hilarious.

  6. I have a pug as well and he HATES the Geico pig too. We taught him how to sing by mocking the sound the pig makes on the commercial and he will start to houl. Too funny, must be a pug thing!

  7. Always love the murphy posts! My chihuahua, nacho, is freaked out by hair brushes and hair clips. If you brush your hair near him, he freaks out. Its the funniest thing ever!

  8. Wish my dogs were still here! They pretty much barked at everyone all the time until they got too old to care. But they were labs so they wanted to play and for you to love them 24/7. I’m really wanting either a pug of vizsla. Maybe both…that could be interesting.

  9. I love the Murphy pics and stories! Our dog is a shelter cocker/terrier mix who has calmed down a lot in the 8 years he’s been with us. Still, he has a terrible fear of balloons, exercise balls and trumpets!

  10. The picture of him in front of that donkey is hilarious!…he looks so nervous!!

    Our lab used to do the same thing to one of my husband’s friends…he would never bark at anyone but as soon as he would pull in, he would go crazy…which is actually sort of funny because I really wasn’t a fan of him either! 😉

  11. My parent’s dog doesn’t like the noise that Skype makes when someone calls. They have to put him outside when we Skype:-) Silly puppy.

  12. My dog Molly is scared of the usual things like thunder and fireworks. But she is also very afraid of loud cheering for sporting events (she goes upstairs as soon as we turn football on) and she leaves the room if my daughter Annabelle makes an umm…loud movement. LOL.

  13. Haha, my little 5lb furbaby, Tula, does something similar. Whenever we’re walking and she sees an elderly person using a walker or a cane, she lunges and barks incessantly at them. It’s horrible and I feel terrible. But, it also cracks me up. 😀

  14. Whenever my best friend calls me, my dog Thor gets so excited and starts pacing around the house. He runs to the front door, back door, and jumps up to look out the windows because he expects my best friend to stop by. He never does that for anyone else. He’s a freak 🙂

  15. my dog, Abraham, takes the cake, I could almost guarantee it. He is scared of the following not so unusual things: storms, strange people walking in front of our house, tipped over objects (garbage cans, laundry baskets), the vacuum and the Swiffer wet jet (he can hear it when I’m in the basement and he’s upstairs – he FLIES down the stairs and goes ape-$hit!) Abe is also scared of the following rather unusual happenings: smoke alarm, microwave/oven timer beeping, windshield wipers and the windows and sunroof opening in the car; and the OVEN. Yes, the oven. He knows when the oven is on and he won’t step foot in the kitchen til it shuts off. There’s probably a bunch more he’s scared of because he’s the biggest wuss ever…except when it comes to my fiance’s German Shepherd who weighs about 50 pounds more than him. Dogs are hilarious, aren’t they?

  16. My pug has a list as well! Each of which he will bark angrily at! It’s so embarrassing! Trucks, garbage trucks, though I think these are the noise, speed walkers, runners, and bikes. Weirdest one to date is the Carmax commercial with the starting lines… I just don’t get it and haven’t figured it out!

  17. I’ve been religously reading your blog for quite a while and have nwver commented. This post seriously is hilarious. I am still laughing out loud! Not just lol but tears in my eyes laughing! His faces are so stinking funny!

  18. My old family pooch – Marie the black lab, used to hate anything that was yellow! She never used to bark at anything but yellow items that were near her made her freak out and run away or bark at it. So strange and never figured out why!

    J x

  19. Maybe it’s because Jeff is wearing a hat? My dog does not like strange men who are wearing hats…..Maybe ask Jeff to remove his hat next time. 🙂

  20. Hahaha, oh Murphy! The look on his face with the donkey is ridiculous lol.

    This isn’t my dog, but when my friend’s golden retriever was a puppy, he was terrified of cell phones. If you just put one near his face, he’d back away & even run away. It was hilarious.

  21. My chocolate lab Reggie is terrified of the vacuum cleaner and Swiffer but walks right beside me when I am mowing. I would think the mower is scarier than the vacuum! He also is scared of the little yippy dog next door. Anytime we are outside playing and the neighbor’s dog sees us and starts barking, Reggie give me this look like “lets get out of here!” and heads straight for the door. What a wuss!

  22. I love how in most of your photos Murphy is looking at you with the obsessed object in the background.

    My dog Abby – a yorkie/toy fox terrier – will bark at animals or babies on commercials. She doesn’t necessarily watch the tv program, but she watches the commercials and somehow memorizes the music so she knows which ones have animals or babies in them. She will run from couch to chair and bark until the commercial is over and then jumps in our bay window and will bark at the outside.

    She also hates the vacuum – barks at it and sometimes tries to bite it.

    We live in a bi-level house and sometimes she’ll stand on the back of the couch and bark down into the basement even if no one is down there.

    As others have said maybe have Jeff take off his hat – maybe it creeps Murphy out that he can’t see the top of his head?

    Dogs and their obsessions, huh? Hahaha 🙂

    She will usually bark at anyone we see on our walks – which is embarrassing!

  23. We have an older gentleman who walks our neighborhood several times a day. Thankfully, my dogs love him.

    My Beagle goes nuts when she sees another neighbor’s dog, Coco. Daisy just doesn’t like her for some reason. Coco is a very sweet dog and just starts at Daisy like she has lost her mind. Daisy also doesn’t like runners, which I find funny because I run.

  24. My dog Odis (although we call him Pacho for some reason most of the time) has it out for FedEx trucks and their drivers and will even go crazy if one is on the street next us while we are driving.

    Fireworks or loud bangs…and joy we can hear the Disneyland fireworks every night. We run around closing windows and cranking up the tv volume.

    And my favorite…power outages! If our power go out in the middle of the night we always know because he starts freaking out. We can’t figure out how he even knows.

    Crazy dog!

  25. Haha I love Murphy, he’s such a funny lil weirdo! One of my pugs doesn’t get too excited or upset by anything visually (just when I have to bathe her or trim her nails), but my other pug goes ballistic when she sees that pig commercial too! She also hates the hump day camel and Pillsbury dough boy commercials. Such weirdos. She’s embarrassed me many times in public as well by getting really upset at random people and dogs.

  26. I have two dogs Maggie and Miles, both Terriers and both neurotic in their own special way. Miles is extra special though….he hates the toaster, freaks out and runs upstairs to hide in the closet when in use. He also hates anything that buzzes, mosquitoes and flies drive him crazy. He hides from them and they will set him off on a neurotic bender for hours where he paces and circles me, checking his paws and constantly looking above and around him for the buzzing suspect. He also barks into the sewer grates in full on attack mode – in his defense I have seen a raccoon looking back at him once.

  27. My cat, Hatfield, hates all the usual things cats hate – like thunder, the sink and anything else that water comes out of, and the rustle of plastic bags. He’s also afraid of the outdoors. But the funniest thing is how much he despises the whale noises that Dory makes in “Finding Nemo.” It’s hilarious! He looks angry, disturbed, and slightly concerned, all at once. I… may sometimes make whale noises just so I can see the look on his face. Mean, I know.

  28. Well, you know that psychopaths are generally quite charming… and often more so to women. But also he could be sick, and Murphy is reacting to a scent that makes him uncomfortable.

  29. my dog does not like my brother’s friend nate, he barks at him eveytime he comes over. He also loves everyone, and does not do this to anyone else!

  30. OMG, Tina. Have you ever seen the movie, Disturbia? Maybe Murphy knows something you & Mal are unaware of — dogs are the best judge of character. Just sayin. LOL! Love Murphy & your blog!

  31. I have a pug named Vito who always barked a one specific neighbor too. He is an older man named JB..JB started carrying dog treats to give to him everyday and now Vito loves him…i wonder if that would work for Jeff…aw pugs so neurotic so worth it

  32. I just recently found your blog and love the pug posts! As a fellow pug lover, I do have to admit that they have some odd behaviors and tendendancies. If you haven’t read the book “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein, I would highly recommend it. It’s a view on life from a dog’s perspective. Such a great read!

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