The Notorious B.U.G.

Hip-Hop Leo

Leo has a new nickname. Leo stands for Leonidas, but we call him Leo Bug most of the time. Sometimes Buggie. You see where this is going.

Rob’s been listening to Notorious B.I.G. in the car on the way to his jogs with Leo, also known as the Bug Jog. Leo, much like his mother, does not seem to be crazy about the actual jogging part. He gasses out after a lap or two, and requires a lot of encouraging to carry on.

However, Rob, the supportive and tireless coach, reports that Leo does not bark at bicycles and other dogs while jogging.

Jen deHaan was really onto something in this DOGthusiast post.

Meanwhile, I’m still working on classical conditioning with Leo. I take him to a big parking lot near a skate and bike park. Sometimes we have very peaceful walks. Sometimes I can get him close enough to the wheeled people that he sees them, yet far enough away that he doesn’t bark at them. Sometimes I totally beef it by cutting through an apartment complex to drop the poop bag in a dumpster and he winds up barking and lunging at an innocent bystander.

Unfortunately, he’s been seeming more reactive in the car, barking at everyone he sees, not just joggers, dogs, and wheeled people. It’s so bad that I ordered a Calming Cap to see if that helps. (I ordered the Thundershirt brand because Premier is now owned by a company that makes shock collars. So I guess I no longer endorse Easy Walk harnesses either. Here are some alternatives I haven’t tried myself.)

The other day, I walked the dogs together and when we got back in the car, I played Rob’s Biggie Smalls’ CD. Leo sat in the front seat, and shined the most relaxed, happy smile. He didn’t bark at anything on the way home. Obviously, he found Biggie to be calming.

I played Biggie again tonight on our way to the bike/skate park and Leo didn’t bark at a thing. Not on the way there, not on the walk, not on the way back… until a skateboard sped by on the sidewalk, startling us both. I forgive him because, come on, this was an epic walk.

At one point, we were in the middle of the parking lot, mellow as a spring evening at dusk, and Leo calmly looked away from the skaters, over to a couple of girls getting in their car after soccer practice, back to me. I rewarded him with some Ziwi Peak venison, and was thinking, Damn, I’m proud of you, kid, when a couple of bikes whizzed by on the sidewalk. I turned and ran in the other direction.

Yes. I ran.

And Leo glanced over his shoulder like, Hey, I’m supposed to bark at wheeled people, and I just kept running, and he came with me, and he did not bark and he did not lunge. And I was so proud.

Incidentally, he didn’t used to be into hip hop. When he was a pup, he bumped the volume on the car radio to turn up Twisted Sister’s We’re Not Going to Take It. Another time, he changed the station to the same song.

My mom’s Lhasa apso, Barney, was a big fan of Cyndi Lauper. One time when she was on Late Night with Conan, Barney fixed his eyes on her each time she performed, having shown no prior interest in the television.

Do your dogs have a favorite singer? 


I’m thrilled to be hopping along once again with SlimDoggy, Peggy’s Pet Place and To Dog With Love.

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Published by Kari Neumeyer

Writer, editor, dog mom, ovarian cancer survivor

23 thoughts on “The Notorious B.U.G.

  1. LOL. Really, when you think about it, why wouldn’t dogs enjoy music for the same reason we do? Though I think I’m glad mine don’t seem to be into Hip Hop 😉

  2. We much prefer Twisted. In either case, Twisted or B.I.G., those are not mellow tunes! Maybe you need to go harder? Stone Sour, perhaps? It will either work or you will have a frantic energizer on your hands. 🙂

    -SlimDoggy Steve

  3. Thanks for joining the Hop. So interesting the Hip Hop seems to settle him. I think it’s all about the tone of the music, bass v treble etc. I use the Through a Dog’s Ear CD’s to help Jack settle and it’s based on research into the modulation that is effective…maybe hip hop falls into the same zone. Hey, whatever works, right!

  4. My dogs haven’t really expressed what type of music they like! I’m actually surprised at them… I do know Coal didn’t like GTA 5, and turned off the Xbox with his nose at a crucial moment in Isaac’s game.

  5. Haha! That’s awesome Leo responds to music! So far I haven’t noticed Storm responding to any. Have you tried any essential oils on the pads of his feet? There is one that is supposed to calm dogs down but I am drawing a blank right now. Once I have some extra cash I will be trying the oils with Storm

  6. East Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiide!

    Haha. Sorry. Couldn’t help myself.

    I can’t say I’ve noticed any preferences my dogs may have for different types of music, but I can only hope ’90s hip hop would make their list. My radio is usually tuned to stand-up comedy or various podcasts, so I’ll have to pay attention in the future.

    I’ll be interested to see if the Calming Cap helps. Hopefully!

    1. We had a loaner Calming Cap with our first reactive shepherd and it was the only thing that I could tell for sure was working. I don’t plan on walking him with it. But in the car, it might be useful. Assuming he doesn’t paw at it to get it off, which is a common complaint.

  7. Oh hilarious! Music soothes the savage breast, including B.U.G.s, huh? My dogs aren’t partial to music, since I don’t listen to much. They don’t care for my Weird Al, or Will Smith. Maybe I should try something different.

    1. We had a great CD with songs called “Squeaky Deakey,” and lyrics like “I’m your doggie, and I love you.” Rob and I found it hilarious and enjoyed singing to Leo, but it never quieted his screeching when we crated him as a puppy. We’ve also used the classical ones without much apparent effect. Give Biggie a try!

  8. Hmm, I dunno if this counts but Niles seems to drift off to sleep when I sing. This can mean one of two things: I’m either insanely good and the sound of my voice is lulls her off to the most pleasant dreams a pup can have or I’m so terrible that she tries to sleep in order to block my horrid voice. I’m going with the former. 🙂

    Congrats on your success with Bug!

  9. This post brought back memories of the day we took Küster home from the breeder’s house. He started howling as soon as we left the driveway and kept it up for a good long way. It was the weekend after Thanksgiving, so I had a playlist of Christmas music on. The Jingle Dogs came on and began barking “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” and the howling stopped! We listened to the Jingle Dogs the entire rest of the way home!

    I’m thinking about trying the Anxiety Wrap for Morgan. It’s like the Thundershirt, but works based on acupressure points. I haven’t decided yet whether I’ll try it, but a lot of people swear by it.

  10. Not that I’m aware of, but our puppy Luke does seem to like it when I sing! Which doesn’t say much for his taste. 🙂

    It sounds like you are finding some good things that work with Leo….yay!

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