Ray – Escape Artiste!

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!

25 thoughts on “Ray – Escape Artiste!

  1. Well as I’ve written before, Ray is a very smart dog but then there are other dogs that know how to work a gate. I had one that could open the gate to one fenced area of our backyard. This was years ago and I persuaded my husband to make a special latch that, Bonnie, half German shepherd could not open.

    Maybe it’ll take awhile before he learns how to open the gate again and maybe he will not. My guess is that he will manage if the latch is not very complicated.

    I love reading about his antics. If only he knew how popular he’s become.

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  2. Cats are very hard to confine without a full solid door. They eagerly jump over gates, barriers and nudge open any weak door. It is not unusual for one of the cats to open the bathroom door while someone is doing their business because the door didn’t latch properly. They can put paws under a door to open and pull down on handles. I’d say you’ve had a good streak with Ray if this just started happening. I startled my oldest cat once and we both lived to regret it. Now I talk to him as I approach so he knows I’m coming.

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  3. Hi, Colin! You know, dogs never fail to amaze me. They just seem to get smarter and smarter all of the time, 😉 And they really know how to “work it” to get access to those treats! Sounds like Ray is “at the head of his class” in terms of smarts, too. He’s sure a beautiful dog. Say, yesterday I tried to leave a comment on your blog — I was working on my iPad — and when I was finished I couldn’t for the life of me get to the “post comment” button (mind you, this was on my iPad, so that probably had a lot to do with it). Today, I’ve moved to my desktop, where I’ve had no problems leaving a comment. WP always seems to throw these little “curve balls” my way, LOL. Anyhoo, have a great day! Enjoyed your post very much. 🙂

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    • iPads and iPhones (and similar) always seem to cut off the right side of the screen so scanning Recent Posts, Archives, and selecting a Category are not available as options! I have not succumbed to an iPad yet, and see no chance in the immediate future as I love my pc and all that it allows me to do! Always nice to hear from you. 🙂

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