Monday, June 11, 2012

My Dogs Are Escape Artists

I completely re-did my living room this month. Needless to say, I don't want the dogs sitting on the couch, the love-seat, or (heaven forbid) my leather "hunter" chair. In order to keep them off the furniture while I'm at work or asleep, I had put up a baby gate, which I had hoped would keep them confined to the back wing of the house. Without fail, whenever I would come home for lunch, one dog would be sitting in the middle of the living room carpet waiting for me. That's Anubis. She's old and half-blind and not very bright, but, somehow, she was able to push the gate enough to squeeze through. This is quite a feat for a ten pound lap dog.

Anubis had always been good at escaping. Earlier in her life, when I would put her and her sister into separate cages in my utility room, she would somehow get free at least once a month. It took me weeks to realize that, when I would call the dogs to go to their cages, and when I would round the corner to put them in, Anubis would be hiding behind one of the legs of the kitchen table. I had always just assumed she was in her cage when I closed the door. Obviously, Anubis is a dog that is smarter than I give her credit for.

Her current escape attempts are well coordinated. She won't make the attempt until I leave the house or until I am in bed. She has even seen through my attempts to trick her by opening and closing the front door in the hopes of convincing her that I had left the house. It wasn't until I went outside the house and observed through the front window that I understood how Anubis was getting out. She walks up to the gate, leans her side up against it and pushes until it pops free of its housing. Then, she squeezes through the small opening.

What impressed me even more is the behavior of Anubis' sister, Snowflake. Whenever I would come home, even if Anubis had escaped, I would find Snowflake laying down in the utility room, waiting for me to call her to come out. I found this behavior odd in light of Anubis' many successful escapes. Why wouldn't Snowflake follow her out? As I watched from the window, I saw that Snowflake was indeed following Anubis out. She just let Anubis do the grunt work, waited a few minutes and then walked out herself. When she hears me opening the door or walking into the living room, she bolts back into the utility room as if she had never left.

I've stopped using the gate. If they want to sit at the foot of my hunter chair while I'm gone, I figure, they deserve it.

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