Orly Takes On the Big 5

Golden retriever puppy Orly stares attentively at the TV.
How much screen time is too much?

I recently saw an article about 6 things that puppies are often mystified by or even frightened of: Vacuums, mirrors, TVs, brooms, phones, and ice cubes.

Ice cubes had me scratching my head a bit, but I haven’t given Orly an ice cube yet, so we’ll leave that one for the summer. Just a note: Dog ice cubes in my house are made with coconut water; when I’m going all-out, I prepare pina colada ice cubes, which are coconut water with mashed banana. The girls get them as a treat, sort of popsicles without the stick, on hot days. Look for an update this summer (and remember that summer starts pretty late here in Montana) …

On to the other five.

Orly loves television. She especially loves shows with animals, but she’s been as fascinated by Don’t Look Up and St. Vincent — movies we watched recently — and The Crown and Maid as she has by All Creatures Great and Small. (No judgey comments about our viewing choices please.) She does pay even closer attention when there’s a dog or another animal on screen, but she seems to know it’s not real. She’s not looking for the dog or anything like that.

Brooms and vacuums are just fun, as far as she’s concerned. She can chase and pounce on them, until her mean mom chases her away.

The phone … when I am talking on the phone, Orly has already figured out that I’m distracted and she can try to get away with things; same goes for video meetings. It’s the phone-as-camera that gets her interest. Again, no fear, but it’s hard to get candid shots of Orly: Whenever I hold my phone up and point it in her direction, she mugs for the camera.

That leaves mirrors.

Orly’s puppy kindergarten has mirrors on one full wall. A few weeks ago, the pups were taking a break while the humans were getting information. Orly wanted to keep playing, and the other puppies were actually behaving. But! She discovered a new puppy … in the mirror.

She invited this new puppy to play. They play bowed to each other a couple of times. Orly apparently got bored with this and wanted to move to the next level. She nosed the other puppy, then batted her with a paw; the mirror puppy followed her lead. Soon the puppies were playing pat-a-cake. Orly was having a blast; the other puppy parents were soon watching and laughing … which was not ideal, as we were still in class.

I’m not sure when puppies figure out that the puppy in the mirror is their own reflection, but I think it’ll happen soon, maybe at age 5 or 6 months (Orly is 4 months old). Maybe Orly will figure it out around the same time she realizes that that tail she keeps chasing is attached to her own body …

3 thoughts on “Orly Takes On the Big 5

  1. Balloons! I had a Golden who was terrified of balloons. Not because they popped, but because they moved so erratically. He would always run to me, cringe against me and shake.


  2. Orly sound rather like my choccy Lab. Only tonight i had to tske a broom off him as he was gripping it in his mouth and spinning around the room sending things flying as he went…


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