Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tanner, Our Crate-Opening, Door-Opening, Gate-Unlatching Houdini

Tanner is King of Gate Opening
at Bow Wow Resort

More than once I have heard from others that Golden Retrievers are not the brightest dogs in the park. Supposedly, they are easily trainable primarily because they are people-pleasing dogs. I beg to differ.

Case in point--Tanner. Some time ago, he mastered the art of opening my front door. We've learned that we must deadbolt it to keep him from letting himself and the rest of the dogs outside. I'm sure, at some point, he will figure out the deadbolt also.

When I go outside without him, I have to tell him to stay, or he'll simply let himself out to follow me. No problem...why not?

That's not all, though. My kitchen door has a baby gate with a child guard latch on it, for keeping Oliver near me. Most of our guests cannot operate this child guard latch, yet Tanner can open it whenever he pleases. Fortunately, a simple "Leave It" does the trick, but if I'm not there, sometimes he forgets to leave it.

On a few of those occasions, he has unlatched Oliver's crate door, releasing the juvenile into freedom, which can sometimes mean trouble. Okay, yeah, not the first time you've heard that either.

At doggie daycare, Tanner decided he wanted to play in a different section one day. He simply opened the gate and let himself and a few friends into another section. Follow the leader! Fortunately, the staff there acted quickly to put spring-loaded latches on all the gates, keeping Tanner at bay, at least for now. They actually thought it was cute, and enjoy his spirited, adventuresome nature. Notice I did not say intelligent. Good thing the exterior gates are locked up tight.

Perhaps Tanner thought he was practicing for a fire drill. I can picture it now: "Single file everyone. Good. Now, follow me this way."

Good boy, Tanner.

Now, tell me again that Golden Retrievers aren't smart. I have ammunition.

This is the gate. Tanner is available to give lessons on its use, upon request.


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