Tuesday, February 19, 2013

#144. or, The Dog, The Door, and The Dummy

  If you're a burgler or criminal, you should probably disregard this next statement.

  We live in the country, and we rarely  lock our doors.

 I mean, when we go to bed, or into town, we will usually lock the door. But most likely, if you were to find the front door locked and were determined enough to walk all of the 50 steps or so it is around to the back of the house, you could probably get in through the back door. It's just the way we do things.

   Part of the reason we're able to do this is because we have dogs. Particularly  a big old  male yellow Lab named Tuke, whose bark is so deep and booming that it rattles your bones when he lets loose. He's not our only dog though, but we're a family with a strict 2 dog policy.

  That's why we have 4 dogs.

   3 Labs, and an "English as a second language" Corgi cross misfit. Who came to us, understanding only Russian, when she was a pup, from our German Mennonite neighbours, as a gift to our youngest son. What are you gonna do?

  We're actually pretty lucky to have just four dogs. Our male and female Labs recently had a litter of 10 pups and our 4th dog is the last of those pups. He's supposed to be our Middle Son's dog.

  Now, I'm not the Dog Whisperer or anything, but you would think, that in the world our dogs live in, the pup should be the lowest on the totem pole in order of hierarchy. The 2 big Labs are at the top, and our Russian/German Corgi comes in 3rd, when she isn't goose-stepping around the perimeter of our property in a leather trench coat, with perfect military precision. Which I'm convinced is what she does after we go to sleep at night. Although, she's pretty full of herself so I'm certain, in her mind, she believes she's number 1. The pup is at the bottom. Or, WAS at the bottom. It seems that he has found a way to leapfrog himself into a position of authority. Well, at least a solid 3rd, anyways.  He's discovered how to open the front door.

  Our front door has a keypad lock and a  handle with a thumb latch to open it, and our pup has discovered that he can reach up and pop the latch with his paw to open the front door. Which was sort of cute the first time he did it, but when it was -25 degrees Celsius and I thought it was odd that all 4 dogs were gone, only to find them in the house, lounging in the living room, with the front door wide open while I fed the cows, it wasn't quite so cute anymore. So now we have to lock our door, and more than once, I've looked out the window to find that pup trying to work his freaky door opening magic, while the big dogs wait patiently to get back inside.

  Because it's something that we never used to do, we sometimes forget to lock the door. That means, once in a while he gets lucky, so the pup keeps trying the handle whenever he's stricken to come inside. It can be a little unnerving to be in the middle of some suspenseful, stalker on the loose TV show, when all of the sudden, the front door handle starts to rattle. Or to be awakened in the middle of the night, by the clickety, click, clicking of the front door latch.

  But probably the worst thing about having the door always locked, is that at least 9 times out of 10, when I come to the door, I forget it's locked. Usually it's when I have an arm full of grocery bags, or I'll be absent mindedly flipping through the mail that I've just picked up, I'll reach for the door handle, and in  the split second that I remember the door's locked, it's too late for my body to stop moving forward and I end up a piled heap against the door with my face in the glass. Because I'm old. And my cat-like reflexes aren't what they used to be. And it would seem, I'm a slow learner.

  So our pup is about 4 months old, and if  1 human year is 7 dog years, that makes him just less than 2 human years old and he's already mastered the front door. On the other hand, I'm right on the doorstep of 45, and have yet to, in the last 2 weeks that we've had to start locking the door, been able to learn to stop walking into the side of our house. It seems, I've been out-adapted by a puppy.

  I figure at this rate, by June, he'll have gone through enough combinations on the keypad to have cracked the 4 digit door lock code and will be able to get in whenever he wants. Then I'm screwed, because I've lost the directions and don't know how to change the code anymore.

  ...........my only hope is that the dog's smart enough to learn how to close the door behind himself.

4 months old, mastered getting into the house, AND drinking from the toilet!




 

68 comments:

  1. Hahahaha! I can't stop laughing thinking of you walking into the side of the house. And the clickety click in the middle of the night! So funny :) I love that puppy!

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    1. Hi Kianwi,

      It's funny, walking into the side of the house isn't nearly as fun from where I'm standing. :)

      I think he's going to be a handful!

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  2. I wonder if your corgi is a distant European relative of the Queen's corgis? Might get you an invite to Buckingham Palace.

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    1. Hi Debra,

      I think our Corgi is more likely to try to plan an invasion, than get us invited to Buckingham Palace for tea and biscuits.

      Delete
  3. Wonderfully funny post, Ken... well, at your expense of course! It's amazing what our critters can figure out, and how they can thwart our best attempts to be in charge. I suspect this little guy had bigger challenges in mind to conquer, don't be surprised if he figures out how to lock the back door! :-)

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    1. Thanks Josie,

      Some days I get the feeling that it's the dogs that are in charge and I'm just doing their bidding.

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  4. One of my cats has worked out how to jump at the door handle but isn't quite heavy enough to pull it down. She has worked out that by doing this she makes the dog go mad so I have to get up and let her in. I know my place in the pecking order. Your writing will strike a cord with anyone lucky enough to share a house with animals.

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    1. Hi Nic,

      I like how your cat has been able to incorporate, pissing off the dog, into her method of getting you to open the door. I suspect the cat might be more pleased at that, than actually getting into the house. :)

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  5. I can just picture you finding the house open, the furnace blasting and all four dogs enjoying your furniture. I can also picture you with your face smushed against the door glass.

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    1. I wasn't very happy about that. The big dogs are wise enough to know when I have my angry face on, The little dog was more about, "LOOK AT THE AWESOME THING THAT I DID!"

      It's hard to keep looking cool when you walk into the door.

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  6. That's why I prefer smaller dogs. The ones that can't reach the door handle!

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    1. Hey Dan,

      That one dog we have can't reach the door handle. She makes up for it by spreading the garbage all over the front lawn.

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  7. I liked how the big dogs waited patiently for him to accomplish his feat. Great detail. :)

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    1. Hi Marcy,

      The big dogs know a good deal when they see one. They can come in because the doors hanging wide open and not really get into trouble because it's not their fault that it got that way.

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  8. very funny! loved that you're a 'slow learner' with a strict 2 dog policy and 4 dogs. haha.

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  9. I had a cat that was tall enough to reach the door knobs on our doors when I was a kid. He couldn't open them of course, they were the round knobs and he didn't have any thumbs, but it was kinda creepy to be laying in bed at night and to be woken to the sound of something tapping at the door knob.

    Let's just say I didn't get any sleep on those rare instances my parents were away. Wild parties, nope, not me. Huddled in a corner with a steak knife. Yup that's me.

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    1. Hi Holly,

      It's a little freaky to say the least. Last night my wife and I were standing in the kitchen and all of the sudden the doorknob started to rattle. Except, the little dog was already in the house! For a second, we had both thought that one of the big dogs had learned to do this too. (or it was an axe murderer!) Turns out it was just our son coming home from work, but it freaked us out for a second or two.

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  10. Ha! I used to say about our Labs, "You thumbless wonders! if only you could open the door to let yourselves out..." and now I know that it is possible.

    Both of our dogs have passed in the last 18 months and I'm missing having dogs around. But my twins are 22 months old, so I just can't handle a puppy and my four kids. Too much baby, too many butts to housebreak...

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    1. Thumbless wonders! I like that! :)

      It's certainly understandable to not have new dogs to teach when you have a home full of little kids. I hope that one day, you will be able to add dogs into the mix again.

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  11. Cute story! I didn't grow up with animals, and we don't have any pets now, but my husband is dying to get a dog. I just know he'll convince we, and then we'll have to get two so the first one isn't lonely, and then next thing I know we'll be a 2 dog family with 4 dogs.

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    1. It's funny how it works like that sometimes. I won't get started on this, because I can gush about dogs forever, but there's something about the loyalty and desire to please in a dog that makes us a dog family. I can't imagine not having one. :)

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  12. It's always "sort of cute" the first time they do something, isn't it? Heh, I feel you there. We'd love to have a dog, but our landlords won't allow it. We're lucky they let us live here at all, considering we have 4 cats. The last 2 were unplanned. ;-)

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    1. Hi Bee,

      Right now, as I type this, there's that pup, sleeping by my feet. If i get up to go refill my coffee, he'll get up and follow me. He's happiest just to be near his people.

      Unplanned pets! How the heck does that happen? ;)

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    2. Lol -- well...our first two were adopted from shelters; the third was left behind when our crazy downstairs neighbors moved, which is so not cool; the fourth was a feral I started feeding on our back porch with the sole intention of bringing him to the no-kill shelter. Except they were full. >_<

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  13. We never EVER locked our doors when I was a kid. I was a latchkey kid without the key! Nobody understood our apathy regarding potential robbers.

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    1. It's a little more commonplace now, but when I was growing up, the extent of the lock we had on our house was the hook through the eye thing we used to keep the screen door from banging in the wind.

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  14. Too funny! That little pup is some Houdini. I'm glad my Yorkie is too tiny to reach the doorknob.

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    1. Does your Yorkie have taller friends? :)

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  15. This is so great! Except for you, really. It's not great for you. I'm thankful neither my dog nor my boys can open the doors well.

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    1. I'm sure that eventually, your boys will figure it out. Ours did their fair share of leaving the door open. It wasn't always the dog. :)

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  16. Our last dog was a corgi and just looking at her made me laugh and brightened my day. They are rather independent dog. Our Ellie would go to bed promptly at nine PM whether we went to bed or not.

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    1. Hi Stephen,
      They tend to be a bit unusual. Everybody comments on her short legs. And they do seem to function to the beat of their own drum, that's for sure!

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  17. My miniature Daschund is ferocious, she will pee all over the robber.

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    1. I'll remember to bring my rubber boots if I plan on breaking into your house!

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  18. Great post, Ken. We live in Oakland where everyone locks their doors. . . heck, we even have an alarm that we set when we run down to the grocery store. I hate it. Whenever possible I leave the door to the house, or the car, unlocked. My wife and I get in arguments about it all the time. Your image of coming home w/ an armful of groceries and not being able to get the door open sums it up for me. I guess if we didn't have so much useless shit to protect, we wouldn't need to worry about locking it all up. . .

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    1. We certainly have our fair share of useless shit. Our vehicles are never locked, but the keys are in the house. I'm not sure why we do that if door is rarely locked, but I guess it makes us feel more secure?

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  19. Replies
    1. Thanks, I likes you too, Susannah! :)

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  20. Living in L.A., I can't imagine living somewhere safe enough to leave doors unlocked...even with the pit bull guard dog out back! He never learned to open the door, but he *did* rip the fence posts off when he wanted to get out of the dog run...

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    1. Hi Natalie,

      I have never lived in a town. Of any size. I don't know how I would deal with having my neighbour 10 feet away from my house.

      I hope your dog didn't do too much damage?

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  21. Man, am I glad that all I have to deal with are cats.

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    1. We've never had cats in the house. Cats are for keeping mice out of the barn?

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  22. Awesome! And I believe you too! I have two dogs (strict 2 dog policy here too) the little one, that you would think would be the mamby pamby submissive type, is the total Alpha here. And let me tell you she has convinced the older one to do some really stupid stuff. I am convinced at night when I am asleep they are in their room (yes they stole my office and now they have a room) and conspire about what they can get into next.

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    1. Hey Jen,

      I'm pretty sure that our Corgie cross gets into the garbage, digs into it and spreads it all about. Then she goes and tells the big dogs about the wonderful things she's discovered, so they're the ones nosing about in it when we find the mess in the morning. She's pretty sneaky!

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  23. I wish my dog was smart like that. The brightest thing I've seen my little pup do is fall off the table after climbing onto it to get a scrap of food.Funny as always Ken!

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    1. Hi Carrie, nice to see you about again.

      Falling down is a skill. You have to work with the talents you've been given? :)

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  24. I snorted at the thought of your face smushed against your door. Damn momentum!

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    1. Hi Jen,
      It's funny how that works. Usually not in your favor. :)

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  25. They are crafty little buggers, aren't they? We call our pug Pancho "Houdini" because he can get out of just about anything and we're running down the street shouting "Pancho! Get back here! As our Mexican next door neighbors look at us strangely. You have a corgi! I love those dogs. They're adorable.

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    1. Hi Linda!

      I think a lot of my neighbors think I'm strange anyways, so it wouldn't really matter.

      She's only part Corgi. but shape wise, she's all that! :)

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  26. Ha! That's so funny and incredibly cute! I love dogs and how smart they are!

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    1. They certainly have a way about them. And the ability to get into your heart. :)

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  27. Very funny! I am on my first ever dog and he is quite the handful, a mischievous Portie. I'm thinking of getting another but then worry about those days when he rolls in deer poop or gets covered in mud and how would I deal with two like that??

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    1. If you're running water to wash one dog, two won't make that much difference? You'll already be wet anyways. :)

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  28. A really fun post! I used to live in a small town and we'd never lock our doors either. But there it was always cats trying to run inside when I opened the door -- no genius dogs opening the door by themselves, thank goodness :)

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    1. Hi Esther,

      Thank you! We used to have a cat that did that as well. That's when we had just the one dog, and they were friends. When we got a female dog, the cats left. From around the house anyways.

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  29. I would absolutely be walking straight into the door for weeks. And I'm in love with your pup!! He reminds me of my Dexter, whom we lost 6 months ago. Really looks just like my dog when he was a pup. They have such sweet faces, you can't help but love them.

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    1. Hi Michelle!

      I wish you could have seem the pictures of when all 10 pups were small. They fit into the palm of your hand. It was so hard to get rid of the ones that connected with us, but I think they went to good homes.

      Sorry about Dexter. I know how much a part of the family they get to be.

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  30. I love this post! One of my Aussies liked to lick the kitchen trash can, which is kept in the cabinet below the sink, and would use her paw to open the cabinet to do it. So my husband installed one of those baby-proofing gadgets so it now takes me five minutes to open the cabinet. It took the Aussie about three days to figure out how to open the cabinet an inch and use her paw to press down on the baby-proofing thing. Problem solved! For her.

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    1. They seem to have such problem solving skills. We used to have a border collie who was exceptionally smart, but not quite as good with the kids as the Labs. Left to their own devices, I'm pretty sure they'd get into a lot more.

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  31. My kids would be so mad if they knew I'd read this post, because I'm resisting their campaign to get a dog, and this gave me another argument! Seriously, though -- I loved your image of being piled against the door with your face against the glass. Been there too.

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    1. I'm glad that you liked it. Actually, I don't look quite so foolish when I tell it to you all. If anyone saw it happen, they'd know I was completely incompetent. :)

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  32. We had labs growing up, they definitely think they are people! I'd be pretty alarmed if I heard anyone messing with the door when I wasn't looking

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    1. We're getting used to the door. Of course, we're going to be completely oblivious when the door's rattling in the middle of the might ant there's actually somebody breaking into the house.

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  33. My dog's not smart enough to open the door. Frankly, I'm not sure if I want a dog that dumb being able to come and go as he pleases.

    Also, I live in suburbia, where the crime rate is 0.0%, and yet not only do people lock their doors, but they have high tech security systems that cost at least $2-300 a month. Makes sense, right?

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    1. Thanks for the follow, guys.

      Our dog doesn't really come and go. He pretty much just comes. then we have to drag him back outside by the collar when it's time for him to leave.

      Sounds like selling home security to suburbanites might be a lucrative business proposition?

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  34. Your puppy is ADORABLE. I've got a 1year old Doberman whp's mastered how to open the door AND punch me int he liver unexpectedly every morning. xx

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