Ray is always restricted to the kitchen at night because he has really bad “startle response”.
If you are not familiar with the term it means that, if caught by surprise, he will intuitively respond. In Ray’s case, he goes straight into aggression mode to deter whoever/whatever is approaching him. I touched him once when he was asleep and regretted it!
To complicate matters further, Ray’s choice of sleeping location was outside Carol’s bedroom door, which is right next to the bathroom door. I found out the hard way that stepping over Ray during the night is distinctly hazardous to one’s health!
Our kitchen is quite large and includes a small sitting area so it can accommodate both his den/crate and also a nice bed for him. He has no problems with either hence our decision to limit his movements to there during the night.
We did this by installing a child proof gate in the kitchen doorway. It is a steel gate and latches in two places with pins, the top one of which is spring loaded. To open the gate, one has to slide the top pin out of its socket, and then lift the gate to release the bottom pin.The gate was installed not long after Ray moved in with us and worked fine until very recently.
I got up during the night to go to the bathroom and, as I turned the corner to face the bathroom door, I noticed something different about the floor (I don’t usually turn lights on as we do get some minimal lighting from outside). I decided to turn the dining room light on, which would light up the area in question without going underneath Carol’s door and possibly disturbing her sleep, and right in front of me was a sleeping Ray!
The “learned the hard way” strategy under these circumstances is to throw a dry treat just in front of him. The sound of the treat hitting the floor will wake him, and then all is well! (I wonder how long it will take him to start pretending that he is still asleep in order to get more treats?)
My conclusion was that Carol had forgotten to close the gate before she went to bed. During the next morning’s conversation on the incident, it was Carol’s conclusion that perhaps I had gone into the kitchen while I was up …… and forgot to close the gate afterwards. As neither of us are in our 20’s, either explanation was feasible!
A few days ago, Carol had closed the gate behind her and Ray was clearly a little disgruntled. As she turned to see what all the noise was about, she saw him push his nose in between the vertical bars of the gate, lift upwards, and push the gate open!
She later explained this revelation to me but, of course, I wanted to see this for myself. He opened the gate like a pro! There was no hesitation, no nudging, or otherwise randomly trying to open it. He simply pushed his nose forward until it was snug between the vertical bars, and then lifted and pushed!
Fortunately the gate does have some adjustment features so we will have to make sure that the top spring loaded pin is more firmly in place ……….. and then see how long it takes him to find another solution!