Monday, January 21, 2008

This Trick Has Lost Its Cuteness

My 10-month old labrador pup has figured out a way to open two doors and let himself outdoors. Now this newfound skill would be worth applauding, except for the fact that he doesn't close the doors after himself.

Saturday morning was a case in point. I came downstairs around 5:00 AM and nearly froze to the floor. He had left the doors agape and the temperature outdoors was below minus 30 Celsius. Upon closing the doors I thought, well, if he wants to freeze his soon-to-be-surgically-removed testicles off, that's fine by me - I might even save on his airfare and veterinary fees.

I went back to bed, only to be awoken at 7:30 by a banging on the doors. By the time I got downstairs I met a rime-coated black lab bouncing around, exulting in his prodigious accomplishment of not only letting himself out, but letting himself back in.

Here is what he does: we have latched doors which are opened by pressing down on the latch, which raises a lever and unhooks the door from the strike plate. He had figured out how to open the door which swings outwards when he was only about 4 months: he simply gets up on his hind legs and bangs away at the latch until the door swings open under his weight. But the second door which swings inward until recently defeated him - the pressure he exerted upon the door would always close it before he could get out.

Here is the new approach he employs on the tricky inward swinging door. He now stands up completely straight on his hind legs, looking like lion rampant emblem on the old heraldic coat of arms. He still pounds away on the latch faster than Gene Krupa, but tries to pull the latch towards him. As soon as the door opens a crack, he gets down on this side to paw or nose the door wide enough to escape.

Before you start thinking he is some kind of wunderhund, I must report he is abysmally dull in all other respects: you throw a frisbee at him and he doesn't budge until it hits the floor, whereupon he starts kicking it around - most undignified for a retrieving dog.

So, what to do? I can't let a hyperactive pup let himself out whenever the mood strikes. Not only does this consume a huge amount of heating oil, but up here, loose dogs are often shot. A keyed deadbolt is not feasible either, since we would need seven sets of keys, one for each family member. And a conventional round doorknob is not available in the requisite size up here.

Any suggestions?



Blogger marty said...

Why are loose dogs shot? I'm hoping you won't say it's a delicacy.

11:25 PM  
Blogger DutchBitch said...

"Abysmally dull in other respects?"

Give the dog a break! You have the intention of having his testicles surgically removed and you expect him to run after your frisbee? Yeah right!...

3:10 AM  
Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

Have to get some kiddie locks for the doors. Our Husky/Shepard mix was an escape artist, could even make it out of her crate with the gate locked. The bunnies are always juicier on the other side, I guess.

5:00 PM  
Blogger indigo said...

are you trying to keep the dog in when you are in , or when you are out. If when you are in, why not put old fashioned cross latches (piece of rounded rectangular wood with screw that crosses edge of door) on the inside door. Could do the same for outside door if all the folks are out of the house.

Worked for me back in the day

1:31 PM  
Blogger Fuff said...

How about a sliding bolt. Or a bungee?

7:19 PM  
Blogger c'est moi said...

If your home is of the style I think it is (one of those two story, five bedroom units) then why not put a baby gate up in the hall where the family enters the house? or will wunderhund do the standing jump over them? Alternately, if you are going to take him down to Montreal for nut removal, you must have a crate. Lock him up at night. Finally, to save him from getting shot, chain him during the day. Salluit is a pretty tightly packed community but twenty feet of chain would do it. A few people here have built chain link runs for dogs. There is even a mega structure on the outside of the town where an entire team is kennelled. If you are near the tank farm, that might be a possibility.

As an aside, I think I saw him when I was in town in the fall. He is one of a kind, n'est pas?

10:01 PM  
Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

Just remember, When a door closes, a window opens...

5:18 PM  
Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

So is he a nutless wunderhund yet?

5:26 PM  
Blogger Fuff said...

Let him sleep in a basket near you at night? Phos may have a point..

(I hate WV grrrrrrrr)

8:44 PM  
Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

Seems the bear has flown the igloo...

10:11 PM  
Blogger Fuff said...

Yep, he's away though isn't he?

7:25 PM  
Blogger merlinprincesse said...

Let him sleep in your bed. And glue the door of your room each night. *teehee*
Well there is always that problem of the little pipi at midnight... For him and ya... :)

7:17 PM  
Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

Tie the kids and the dog together - the dog can still get away but it is easier to follow the drag marks in the snow to find him.

3:47 PM  
Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

Hmmm... Dog must've locked him out.

1:50 PM  

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