Pretending to sneeze?
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Thread: Pretending to sneeze?

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    Senior Member Nargle's Avatar
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    Pretending to sneeze?

    Basil sneezes a lot. However, about 90% of the time, he totally looks like he's faking it. You know how most sneezes are like, full blown head flinging, eyes scrunched shut, with snot blowing everywhere? Well, Basil's sneezes are gentle head flings, with a little puff of air sound, no snot or anything. Then after he sneezes, he looks at me like he expects me to do something! Usually I look at him like he's nuts, but to me it looks a lot like whoever owned him in the past thought sneezing was really cute, and enouraged and praised him until he learned he could get rewarded by pretending to sneeze. Not saying it's a bad thing, it's actually kind of cute

    I am sort of worried that it might be something dangerous, though. I have asthma, and this kind of reminds me of when I have little coughing and wheezing fits. Does anyone think this sounds like some sort of resperatory problem, or allergies or something? I hope he's just trying to be cute, though

    Oh, and Basil does sneeze like a normal dog on occasion, so I think there is a distinction


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    Re: Pretending to sneeze?

    As a general rule, dogs don't fake things. That is not to say that they don't pick up behaviors that have gotten them attention in the past and use them to their advantage later--however--unless you are doing something to encourage the sneezing behavior there is no reason to believe that he is offering it to you. Not every dog "blows snot everywhere." (Yuck) I'd say that a really wet sneeze was a sign of something being wrong and that a dry or slightly moist sneeze would be a sign of something environmental setting the dog off. Of course, neither generalization is correct in all cases.

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    Senior Member Cracker's Avatar
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    Re: Pretending to sneeze?

    Some dogs sneeze when they get excited as well.
    Cracker usually sneezes when she's been doing some excited sniffing (ohh something good in this there spot!) and when she's just deliriously happy.
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    Junior Member 3 dog night's Avatar
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    Re: Pretending to sneeze?

    My dog, Roux, has done this almost all of his life. It is just an attention getter and, yes, I agree that it is very cute. He mostly does it when he is following me around the house and wants me to turn around and pet or play with him. It does no damage and should not cause any alarm. You will know if it is serious and your dog is sick or allergic to something. Hope this helps!

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    Senior Member Laurelin's Avatar
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    Re: Pretending to sneeze?

    Sure it's not a reverse sneeze? Paps are pretty prone to reverse sneezing.
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    Senior Member Squeeker's Avatar
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    Re: Pretending to sneeze?

    Hahaha, Libby does this all the time! She does it when she is very excited and happy. I have never encouraged it, but would like to put it on cue one day.
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    Senior Member FilleBelle's Avatar
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    Re: Pretending to sneeze?

    Alvin makes a sneezing noise when he is excited, as well. Usually during Dog Love, when I'm down on the rug with him, rubbing his dog belly and just generally being silly.


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    Senior Member Binkalette's Avatar
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    Re: Pretending to sneeze?

    Zoey, Maggie and both of my Mother-in-law's dogs 'Sneeze' when they want something or are frustrated.. It's not quite as violent as a real sneeze, but they try :P

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    Senior Member Nargle's Avatar
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    Re: Pretending to sneeze?

    Basil typically does this behavior when he's feeling clingy and wants attention, and I'm not being interesting enough. For instance, he LOVES new people, and we had a friend over last night to watch a movie. Well, she didn't want anything to do with Basil, so I kept him away from her. Basil was still very interested in her, so he kept "sneezing." He doesn't seem particularly riled up when he does this, though he does sneeze when he is riled up, it just seems more like a real sneeze. (As in, he has no control over the fact that he's sneezing. The fake ones he keeps his eyes open and everything.)

    Also, I've seen animals pretend to do things for attention plenty of times. My boyfriends sisters aussie will pretend to stretch her front legs every time she sees me because I think it's adorable And conures are well known for pretending to be hurt or stuck to get attention from their owners.

    And though I don't intentionally encourage Basil's sneezing, I do "Awww," and laugh on occasion, maybe that's enough to encourage him?

    Quote Originally Posted by Laurelin View Post
    Sure it's not a reverse sneeze? Paps are pretty prone to reverse sneezing.
    What exactly does a reverse sneezing look like?


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    Senior Member rosemaryninja's Avatar
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    Re: Pretending to sneeze?

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    Talking Re: Pretending to sneeze?

    My dog does this all the time too.
    It's how I stumbled onto this forum but googling "dog pretends to sneeze".
    He does it a lot when he gets really excited and/or when he wants to play. He does a proper sneezy face but it's a much calmer head drop when the "sneeze" noise happens, then he usually nudges or does the "play bow". It's so cute and if I mimic him he loves it and runs to get a ball... I really have to be careful now not to do it just because he looks cute, especially with the beard (he's a Schnauzer/Airedale mix). Adorable isn't it?

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    Re: Pretending to sneeze?

    This might sound weird but I can make Ava sneeze...lol. If she sneezes for real and then I make fake sneeze noises right after she will sneeze again until I stop making the noise. I don't torment her with it, but its kind of odd. You never know what kind of habits a dog can pick up.

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    Re: Pretending to sneeze?

    It's very common for a dog to fake behavior that indicates it is not too concerned with what's going on. Yawns, sneezes, eye-blinking, and lip-licking are favorites. It's like when a human turns hisser head and looks at hisser fingernails while yawning. (I hate politically correct pronouns. I am going back to "his," I swear!) There are people who claim they speak fluent dog and can discern nuanced meanings of the various tics.
    Last edited by JiveDadson; 10-22-2010 at 05:58 PM.

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    Senior Member sassafras's Avatar
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    Re: Pretending to sneeze?

    Pip does this, too. It's not a real sneeze but kind of a "fffft!" He mostly seems to do it when he's excited for something that he's waiting for -- i.e. getting fed, let outside, or a treat.

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    Re: Pretending to sneeze?

    Oh, the "Pffft!" I know that one. I think that's just limbering up the old sniffer. My little dogs also do a sort of fnark that's a cross between a sneeze and a bark. When they suspect an enemy cat or raccoon has breached the perimeter, they'll let go a few muted fnarks before barking out loud.

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    Senior Member LazyGRanch713's Avatar
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    Re: Pretending to sneeze?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nargle View Post
    Basil sneezes a lot. However, about 90% of the time, he totally looks like he's faking it. You know how most sneezes are like, full blown head flinging, eyes scrunched shut, with snot blowing everywhere? Well, Basil's sneezes are gentle head flings, with a little puff of air sound, no snot or anything. Then after he sneezes, he looks at me like he expects me to do something! Usually I look at him like he's nuts, but to me it looks a lot like whoever owned him in the past thought sneezing was really cute, and enouraged and praised him until he learned he could get rewarded by pretending to sneeze. Not saying it's a bad thing, it's actually kind of cute

    I am sort of worried that it might be something dangerous, though. I have asthma, and this kind of reminds me of when I have little coughing and wheezing fits. Does anyone think this sounds like some sort of resperatory problem, or allergies or something? I hope he's just trying to be cute, though

    Oh, and Basil does sneeze like a normal dog on occasion, so I think there is a distinction
    Without reading ahead, it sounds like what Basil is doing is what Dude does when he's excited, happy, and/or relieved. He usually does it after something slightly stressful (a separation, an appointment with the vet, grooming, etc). Try doing the "fake" sneezy sound back at him; I do this for mine and we usually have a sneezing competition, each of us sneezing about 6 times in a row before Dude decides it's stupid, lol

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    Re: Pretending to sneeze?

    My dog Pepe sighs when he is frustrated! Its cute he drops down to all fours puts his front paws in front of him lays his head down, and gives a big huff, kind of like a kid pouting. He will sometimes sneeze when he gets really excited, none of our other dogs do this.
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    Re: Pretending to sneeze?



    Nargle is obviously not humanizing the animal by implying that dogs fake their behavior, but describing the animal's behavior with another dog behavior that is more familiar to us humans.

    Nargle, don't worry. Your dog is trying to be in charge of some excitement or play. Dogs do this with other dogs. This fake sneezing is a behavior a dog will do when it is trying to excite or intensify a behavior or a response from another animal. Some dogs will do this to increase the energy for play when they were at rest. Others will do it because the owner will try to interpret the behavior it as the dog trying to communicate a need or desire; the owner most likely will try to appease the animal, hence the behavior is reinforced. If you mimic the behavior, your pet will become excited as well.

    Depending on the owner, you may or may not want to reinforce this behavior by associating it with a response from you. In contrast to wolves--dogs have been bred for their intelligence and ability to modify their behavior for humans. Not everyone finds a dog snoofing his nose on their hands and legs pleasant. A dog more than likely does this when approached by someone he trusts. If you do not approve of the behavior, freeze and command your dog to sit still and continue to approach the animal when it is no longer excited. As with any other appropriate training, this conditioning will increase the dog's trust in you. Treats and positive reinforcements are helpful. Your dog will learn that if he is calm and patient, good things will happen anyway and he will stop this behavior (at least with you).

    Quote Originally Posted by LoupGarouTFTs View Post
    As a general rule, dogs don't fake things. That is not to say that they don't pick up behaviors that have gotten them attention in the past and use them to their advantage later--however--unless you are doing something to encourage the sneezing behavior there is no reason to believe that he is offering it to you. Not every dog "blows snot everywhere." (Yuck) I'd say that a really wet sneeze was a sign of something being wrong and that a dry or slightly moist sneeze would be a sign of something environmental setting the dog off. Of course, neither generalization is correct in all cases.
    Last edited by cruzacalles; 12-25-2012 at 12:14 PM.

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    Senior Member Damon'sMom's Avatar
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    Re: Pretending to sneeze?

    When Damon was little he use to sneeze a lot when he got overly excited about something. When ever he would sneeze I would say "Bless you!". Now any time someone says that he will sneeze on command. haha Its kind of cute. I didn't mean to teach him that command and didn't realize I HAD until someone came over and I said it.
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    Re: Pretending to sneeze?

    That is just too cute! Puppies are so adorable, they can get away with anything a larger dog can't.

    Quote Originally Posted by Damon'sMom View Post
    When Damon was little he use to sneeze a lot when he got overly excited about something. When ever he would sneeze I would say "Bless you!". Now any time someone says that he will sneeze on command. haha Its kind of cute. I didn't mean to teach him that command and didn't realize I HAD until someone came over and I said it.

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