Last night we got a chance, unexpectedly, to reduce what we preach to practice. In the middle of a wild dream we were awakened by the growling of Small Dog Mark II. A glance at the watch: 01:09.
Whisper: “What is it, boy?” Instantly awake, as that tripped him into full bark mode. A moment later, P-01 in hand, fully alert, door silently opened and positioned at the top of the stairs, we paused to think. At that point, a small idea gnome suggested that this was the perfect time to practice listening security, per our recent post and various helpful comments attached thereto.
The dog shushed himself without any human urging.
Five elapsed minutes later, by watch — yes, time drags when you’re keeping still — we knew a number of things:
- It was evident that no other living thing was moving in the house.
- The alarm was never armed last night (human error).
- Changing modes on the watch produced an audible beep. Uh, maybe this is the wrong watch. We need one for lurking, and another to run the heart rate monitor?
- There was a light on downstairs that shouldn’t have been. That could have been human error, or could have been an intruder who was now gone.
- We’d have to go downstairs to see.
Down we went. The little doglet, who is usually within feet if not inches, opted not to follow us down. Interesting. He is probably picking up on our emotion.
The extra light was in the office. Mental replay of the shutdown sequence explained why it was still on. We planned to turn it off after giving SDMkII his post-last-relief-pause-of-the-day treat, but we never gave him the treat and went straight upstairs. With the hall and stairway lights on, the office light wasn’t obvious; and when we switched ’em off, we were looking into the master bedroom.
Probably, no intruder. A perimeter check confirmed that the perimeter was secure. Our telltales and sacrificial burglar baits were in place. There was the sound of the fountain in the downstairs, and after the very expensive window upgrade that should have been inaudible (finally determined that the sound was coming through a window AC unit, and only audible because the general ambient noise was so low).
So why did the dog alert? At 0522, when he did it again, we got the answer. Dripping water in the MBR shower was a ringer for steps on the stairs, and creeped the little guy out. Eh, we were getting up at 6 anyway. The shower head didn’t have a drip last week. Wonder how long it would have taken to catch, without canine assistance? Adopt for the companionship, sure, but who expects plumbing benefits from a dog?
- Gun under pillow beats gun in night stand drawer, especially when stealth is a factor.
- Under pillow is a good place for a DA/SA firearm like this CZ or a Beretta or SIG, or an SA/safetied auto like a 1911 or BHP. Not a good place for a striker-fired, trigger-safety gun like a Glock or M&P. (Trigger work increases this advantage of the old style guns).
- The fewer clothes you’re wearing, the less noise your clothes make. And clothes materials make a big difference in the sound or lack of it as you move around.
- Five minutes is a long time to stand still but hardly impossible. It should certainly suffice to flush out any prowler.
- Just as your eyes adapt to low light smoothly but not immediately, your ears adapt to low ambient sound levels and over that five minutes, your discrimination of discrete sounds improves markedly.
- This is a blast of cool hard obvious, but a dog — any dog — is an excellent extension of human senses, apart from all the other things that are splendid about dogs.
Some sounds are ambiguous. Some are distinctly human. No one who has ever heard it forgets the plastic snap of M16A1 handguards on anything, or the sound of an AK clicking off safe.