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Riddle me this Cairn Lovers. Got a weird one here.


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First, Merry Christmas to all.

Now, here's the situation.

Gus is a quiet little guy that hardly ever barks. Once at night when several deer ran through the yard while we were out there he blustered up pretty well and once out at night when the area coyote pack started to sing he took that real personal also. Other than those two times and very few isolated others you'd never know he knows how to bark.

A couple weeks back my wife was cleaning in the bathroom and Gus as usual was with the one of us that is up and moving. All was fine till Nancy opened the bottle of bleach and poured some into the tub, we didn't connect it at the time but that was the exact moment Gus went ballistic! Running through the house with hackles raised barking and growling, tail straight up in the air, no doubt at all there was something seriously wrong and he was mad. Not connecting the bleach to his behavior I went through the whole house looking for invaders, trying to smell smoke etc. A little spooky actually. I even took a spot light and walked around outside listening for coyotes etc and couldn't find anything wrong. After a while Guster chilled out and we wrote it off to something going through the yard he alone could smell or hear.

About a week after that Nancy again used bleach in the bathroom but she kept the door closed to keep the pets out so we thought nothing of it till several hours later when she went back in to rinse the tub and left the door open, Gus went ballistic again. It's truly an unbelievable display of aggression from this little dog that normally loves everyone and everything.

We were able connect the dots on it a bit that time.

Today confirmed it. Nancy was cleaning the bathroom with the door closed and I was in the bedroom with Gus, she opened the door and once again he turned into a raging pitbull!

It's like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Gus. The smell of bleach and he flips out "completely" have you ever seen the like?

I've been around dogs all my life and I've never seen such a thing, I thought maybe the brain trust on Cairn Talk might have a few ideas.

The easy answer is lock him in his crate two room away when using bleach but the "why?" of it has me puzzled. Thanks.

Edited by montdoug

Have you hugged your Cairn today?

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Wow! The only thing I can think of is the fact that Cairns (and dogs in general) have extremely sensitive noses. When I clean my shower with bleach and I am not getting a good breeze of fresh air, my eyes start to burn. I wonder if the bleach hurts his nose or eyes? What we may say is not strong would be 100 times stronger to a dog. They say we have something like 10,000 scent receptors in our human noses and dogs have 200,000!! So a little whif of bleach would go a long way in little Gus's snoot!

Maybe send him outside for a little leg stretch while your wife cleans with the bleach?

All creatures great and small, the Lord God, He made them all!

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I do have something to add, I don't know how helpful it is- but maybe a piece of the puzzel. I clean my shower stall with a bleach/water mix in a spray bottle. I"ll spray the whole thing down (tile even on the ceiling, keeping that grout clean is hard). Everytime my parents came for a visit, my Mom's dog Kali (who departed us 11/27/06) if given the chance to get in the shower stall would rub herself all over it- Of couse the showerstall was dry, and had been rinsed- but that bleach smell remained, and she wanted to rub herself in it.

I noticed about a week ago that Mett did the same thing, it was the first time he'd walked in there. So maybe it smells like another animal marking? Because Mett likes to roll in stinky stuff, I mean the dog just isn't right! He even rolled on 'Resolve' when I was spot cleaning the carpet a few months ago!

Hope this helps

Tracy, Brattwrust & Mettwurst a.k.a The Gremlins
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I mean the dog just isn't right! He even rolled on 'Resolve' when I was spot cleaning the carpet a few months ago!

OMG...I needed that. Thank you for the laugh!! Logan has a super sniffer as well. When he smells something that doesn't agree with him he has a sneezing fit. I usually baby gate them downstairs when I'm doing the bathroom just for my sanity. Never thought about the smell.

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Whoa..........that is totally weird I am afraid I can't really give you any great words of wisdom here other than he may have a serious sensitivity to it, as for the reaction well.................... <_<

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I know bleach always seems to bother in that I can taste it for hours after I use it, anything thing I drink tastes really weird for quite a while. Maybe something like that is happening to Gus... I can tell you when I cleaned bathrooms today I was thinking of Gus the whole time...I kept the bathroom door closed and the exhaust fan running for quite a while, it has never bothered my two but after hearing your experience I don't want to take any chances. My husband is allergic to it and his eyes swell up if he's around it, I probably shouldn't use it at all but I can't seem to part with it!

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Well, I'm stumped! But what some have said here seems to make sense. I know my two go to the basement with me when I do laundry. They usually have having doggy races when I am sorting and starting laundry. When I pour bleach into the washer no one has ever flinched, but granted it stays in the washer and then we go upstairs. Gus just must be sensitive to bleach - the plain and simple, that's what seems to make the most sense to me.

Very interesting! Glad you shared!

Kate, Darcy & Bailey's mom
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