Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Houdini Strikes Again: New Training Challenges



© photo copyright Carrie Boyko 2009
Tanner Created a Porch Doggie Door
through a Hole in the Screen

I've written before about Tanner's natural ability to open doors, latches and locks. He must have made a habit of watching us use these devices, and then duplicates the movement with his snout. He is able to open our front door, open my bedroom door, unlock the child-guard latch on the gate, open the gate on the chain link fence at parks, unlatch Oliver's crate, and can turn on the water fountain at the dog park. Amazing! You can read more about this at my earlier post, Tanner, Our Houdini.

Tanner's latest conquest is to open the pocket door (with a cat door installed) that separates my cat's food and litter from the dogs.You're probably thinking, "Oh, opening a pocket door is not that difficult." Think again. This one has a lock on it--a tiny little turning latch--that used to keep this door secure.

Now we're in training AGAIN. "No Tanner. Leave It!" I have started having him sit outside that door while I work in the room; it's the laundry room. Basically, I'm teaching Tanner that the laundry room is off limits. I put him in a STAY position and he watches me fold laundry or collect cleaning supplies. He's getting the idea, although he clearly does not like being told he cannot check out the cat dish or see if the kitty is napping in there. What's fun about that?, he's probably thinking. Poor Tanner.

I won't be swayed, though. It is my intention for him to know that I'm the boss. That means what I say goes. Period. No questions asked and no sad brown eyes.

He's getting the idea. Sometimes he follows me toward the laundry room and then does a double take at the door and backs up. It's kind of cute, like a kid stopping before he takes a cookie out of the jar. Good boy, Tanner.

Wednesday, August 26 is National Dog Day. I made those words Tanner-colored in his honor. I gave some consideration to running a photo slide show in today's post, but decided that my site has plenty of those. Better to dedicate this post to my latest doggie success story--Tanner learning to leave the cat food dish alone. That's a big deal at my house. Sounds boring, huh? Actually, I'm beaming with pride.

I hope you, too, can celebrate something endearing about your dog today. Give him a special treat and an extra belly rub. It's good for you too.

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