Ray has always impressed us with his use of his feet!
We were surprised when we witnessed him hold down a Starbucks coffee cup with a foot while he removed the lid with his teeth*. We were equally surprised at how he used his feet to stabilize a yogurt container** so that he could get his tongue inside to clean it out!
We now have a new incident which …………….. well, let me explain:
Ray knows so many stores around here that appeal to him. They all have food as a common denominator either because they sell it, or they encourage dogs into their store with biscuits. Ray does not concern himself with the reasons. He just knows that he will likely get treats if he can get through the front door. That can occasionally be a problem!
Lululemon, unknowingly, set the bar very high because Ray has proved to himself that he can get treats there before they open; during their business hours, and after they are closed***. He has continually been puzzled by other stores or businesses that have no humans in there at certain times of the day. Ray does not comprehend the less than subtle hints that a darkened business generally means “nobody is home”.
Rays strategy (noted in earlier Posts) is to stand and stare through the glass front door in order to get attention (it works most times at Lululemon!). When that does not seem to work, he simply sits down and stares through the glass! If we know that nobody is there, we simply wait! Sometimes, after a few minutes, he seems to get it, but at other times we just have to offer him a consolation prize so that we can move on.
We take Ray out every day so that he can exercise his nose, his mind, and his overall body. Christmas Day was no different so we thought that we would take him on a regular route down to the lake. Our route would go by the end of a strip mall which has a Bark & Fitz (pet foods) store and so our strategy was to coax him through the intersection and distract him from the stores.
It seemed to work very well and we eventually turned a corner as we worked our way towards the lakeside park. At the first intersection, Ray made it quite clear that he wanted to turn left … so we let him, and then realized that he was taking us to the other end of the strip mall … and no doubt Bark & Fitz!
Based on the logic that he cannot come to any harm, and perhaps he needs to accept that stores are not always open for him, we followed him to the store whereupon he stood staring through the glass door. As predicted, he then went into a sit position and stared. Having seen his Plan A and Plan B executed, we just waited. He eventually stood up and walked down to the next glass door, presumably thinking that it may access the same store (it didn’t). He seemed to figure that out quite fast, presumably a different scent, so he returned to Bark & Fitz door!
He stood there staring at it for a few moments and then proceeded to try and open it with his feet. Either by design, or by luck, he was focused on the side that opened (not the hinge side) and was trying to hook his claws around the edge of the door. We watched him, and were totally speechless, as he persevered. After a few minutes, he seemed to resign himself to the fact that the door was not going to open, but he clearly had a very good grasp on how doors work. Hopefully he will never learn about locks and keys!
*See “Starbucks” – June 14, 2015
**See “Yogurt Strategy per Ray” – September 3, 2015
***See “Another Lululemon Story” – May 11, 2015 and also “In Disbelief” – June 24, 2015