Pick a door. Any door. Just not that one.

Every now and then research shows that dogs are more like little furry humans than some might think. We know that they have basic emotions like us, that they can read human facial expressions, and more recently it’s been shown that they not only have an understanding of both vocabulary and intonation in human speech, but also use roughly the same areas of the brain as humans for speech recognition. I guess that’s why I’m a little taken aback when something happens to prove that Beanie & Biggles are still just silly doggies after all.

The most recent example of this concerns the sliding patio door in our kitchen. The lock on it has been a bit sticky ever since we moved in, but recently it failed completely, leaving us unable to get the door open. In fact even professional locksmiths have been unable to get the door open, so we’ve been forced into having the blummin’ thing replaced, and it ain’t cheap. But that’s not the interesting thing. The interesting thing is how Beanie and Biggles have dealt with – or rather completely failed to deal with – the loss of their customary garden access point.


For the last week and a half we’ve been shepherding them in and out of the garden via the utility room door. We must have done so around 100 times by now, and still Beanie & Biggles haven’t learned that the old door doesn’t work. Now to be fair I must admit that the change in circumstances still catches me out occasionally, but the furry people either can’t or won’t accept the new garden protocol at all.

I’d say that Beanie – who I’d normally consider to be a bit smarter and more wordly-wise than The Bigglet – is the worse for this, especially when things have got a bit desperate. She’ll paw the baby gate by the kitchen with some urgency, and when I open it, she makes a beeline for the non-functional door. I grab her by the collar and remind her verbally that the door doesn’t work as I drag her toward the utility room, but she shows no recognition of the new route. If I let slip of her collar before I’ve got her through the utility door, she’ll almost sprint back round to the old door. If she could speak, our conversation would go like this:

Beanie: “Get the door open Dad, I’ve got to go!”

Me: “But that door doesn’t work Beanie – we’ve got to go out the other one.”

Beanie: “But I’ve really got to go Dad, just open the door!”

Me: “Just trust me Beanie and come this way.”

Beanie: “Nooo! I’m going to make a puddle and it’ll be your fault!”

Fortunately Both Beanie & Biggles are much better when it comes to returning from the garden. They still both sit, wait, and woof outside the patio door, but they do come running when I open the utility door. I think that this may have something to do with the fact that on the first day of the door crisis I tempted them back in using a biccie. In fact maybe that’s the problem right there: if they got a biccie for using the correct door on the way in, maybe they’re just holding out for a biccie on the way out too :)

Finally, a couple of shots from other notable happenings since Biggles’ birthday:


When you’re rearranging things around the garden shed and concrete is involved, you’ve just got to do the pawprint stepping-stone thing.


Getting them to make the paw impressions was easy; rinsing off their paws afterwards under a running tap was anything but!


A contemplative moment on Loudoun Hill.

2 Replies to “Pick a door. Any door. Just not that one.”

  1. Susan in Delaware

    Change is difficult!! We had a similar experience when we changed the doggie door from an inserted panel in the sliding glass door on the patio, to a separate doggie door cut into the wall. It was only about 1 foot to the left, but it was also slightly smaller, and required that the users both step up and squinch down a bit to go through it. The first two times when Josie was heading out, she just went “Bonk!” head first, right onto the glass where the doggie door used to be. That’s an honest mistake, I would do the same thing. She learned quickly and moved on with her life. Jordan, on the other hand, would approach the new doggie door, push tentatively with his nose, then sit by where the door used to be and look forlornly at us. He was ill at the time (it was the beginning stages of his chronic and ultimately terminal kidney failure), so he just wanted us to open the people door for him, which we obliged when we could. We promised him, “If we win the lottery, the first thing we will do is hire someone to sit in a chair by the door and let you in and out whenever you please.” :) By the way, biccies definitely help revise the habit!

  2. Paul Post author

    Hehe. The “bonk” immediately made me think of Biggles, ‘cos that’s his style. Bang in to the new obstacle with you head a couple of times, then wait quietly for a bit to see if someone sorts it out for you. Finally if all else fails, woof!

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