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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

Do dogs get superstitious?

Sep 30, 2023 08:11AM ● By Marti Benson

There is a penny on the floor, and it’s heads up. 

“Oops,’ I apologize to the cashier, pretending I dropped something. Avoiding the glances of the shoppers behind me, I snatch the lucky coin and squirrel it away in my pocket. 

In my purse, I carry a variety of small objects. These good luck charms give me a measure of comfort when I travel or am in unfamiliar situations. 

Inadvertently, I have passed a few of my superstitious ways onto my family. For example, when my husband or daughter or I mention something good that may happen soon, we instinctively look for a nearby wooden object and knock like a trio of frenetic woodpeckers.

Dogs figure prominently in many superstitions. Growing up, my mother would say that there was rain on the way whenever our dog, Frisky, grazed on the lawn. A few others I’ve heard make me shiver:

• If a dog sits and stares at you, you may see a ghost between its ears.

• When a dog howls, it’s a sign of an impending death.

• Stepping in dog poo with your right foot portends bad luck, but if it’s your left foot, good luck is headed your way.

This made me wonder: Can dogs be superstitious too? Apparently, yes. 

I recently read about a golden retriever who left a shoe on the bed whenever her owners left together. Once when the wife had to be away for a week, the husband came home from work on day one and found a shoe on the bed. Completely normal. The next day, the husband returned alone—and found three shoes on the bed. By the third day, every shoe in the house was scattered across the bed and couch, and all the wife’s dirty socks were in a bowl.

My husband and I wondered if any of our dogs were superstitious.  We started remembering some of the odd behaviors we’d witnessed over the years.

You may also like: Ruff Life: Working like a dog at the last garage sale ever

Gummi, our pomeranian, obsessively chewed round holes in an old airline blanket we had. He left the little fabric circles everywhere. Though he’s been gone for 10 years, we still find those cloth discs in odd places.

Cassie, the border collie, poached items from neighboring properties and put them on display in our front yard. She carried one particular trophy—a deflated basketball—in her mouth, on all her walks.

Robby was afraid of thresholds. He had to be coaxed or carried across one when going from room to room.

Did our dogs’ quirky ways mean they were superstitious? Or was there a more rational explanation for their behavior? 

Surely it wasn’t something we did. (Knock on wood.) 

You may also like: Do all dogs go to heaven? Mom hoped so

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