Digby Van Winkle

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Saturday 12 May 2012

The Many Sounds of Digby

There are a lot of noises that come out of Digby’s mouth – like the one he was making when I took this picture – a snuffled snort of “Please don’t stop!”.

There are a number of other noises he makes, aside from the joyous snort of absolute bliss so I’m just going to jump right into it.

First, there’s the “A leaf has dared to enter the house, I must address this situation immediately!” bark. Relatively loud and not a small dog’s bark at all (although somewhat high in pitch) it’s a warning bark. It’s a “You’d better leave or feel my wrath” kind of bark. Cute, yet annoying at the end of a long day. Thankfully the leaves have never decided to take Digby on because I fear that he’d come out second best.

Then there’s the “I’m about to eat/play with/steal something I know I’m not allowed” snort. Almost like a laugh, it reminds me of a kid who knows that mummy’s make up is off limits but they are just so tempted by rebellion that they want it even more. Case in point: mum’s vintage nightgown, a family heirloom passed down through the generations. Digby is obsessed with it.

One of the most hilarious of barks is the “Hairdryer! play with me!” plea. Digby was scared of the hairdryer at first and with good reason. It’s loud and it blows hot air in your face. Absolutely terrifying. In an effort to desensitise him we started having training sessions near it and gradually worked up to actually turning it on. Now when he wants treats he sits nicely by the dressing table and accasionally lets out a bark, as if to ask it if it wants to play. When the hairdryer is on it’s open season and Digby barks an excited high pitched squeal of excitement as he leaps at it and tries to bite the nozzle.

Another vocalisaion of note is the “You’ve been gone all day, why don’t you love me?” yodel. A mixture of a bark, a cry and a howl, this is one funny sound to hear at the end of a long day. They say you should ignore your dog when you get home and only greet them when they’re absolutely calm but Digby has other ideas. He lies down where he knows you’ll see him (on the bed, the couch or at your feet) and looks up before he lets rip. It’s hard not to reward him for it because when you laugh he knows he’s got what he wants and that is undivided attention.

The sigh of frustration, though only sort of a sound is another of his quirks. To get this one all you need to do is get out a treat and hold it without saying a word. He’ll go through his tricks and then when he’s exhausted everything (including headbutting you with no response) he’ll sigh and drop his head to his paws. Super cute and excellent for training him to settle down.

Although it’s even less of a sound that the previous sigh of frustrations, one of the the last is what we like to call “sleepy mouth”. Much like a human he’ll sometimes wake up form a nap and spend a few moments opening and closing his mouth. The sound, although very faint, is a little slapping noise usually followed by a yawn. If you want a cuddle this is the best time to get one – he’s still waking up so he can’t fight it.

There are a whole series more that are probably worth writing about too, like the posessed demon who usually comes out when he’s around other rambunctious little dogs. Like something out of a horror movie it’s actually a little frightening when you aren’t expecting it. Maybe he is part gremlin after all. He’s often mistaken for one at least.

For a whole series of pictures visit Digby on facebook at www.facebook.com/digbyvanwinkle.


  1. Adorable post. :) I love "sleepy mouth" when my dogs do it, too.

    1. It's actually super cute and kind of hilarious too :)

  2. Hi Digby,

    Your new home looks great! Talk to you soon.

    Bella and DiDi

    1. Hello Bella and Didi! I hope you like it, and do make sure you come back from time to time.

    2. Great post!!!! I kept picturing all te noises in my head, especially sleepy mouth. That is so cute!!!!!

    3. Sleepymouth is the most adorable thing. He's started squeaking when he yawns in the morning - adorable.