Monday, January 20, 2014

The wrong side of the door...

The wrong side of the door...  Mo'i is our oldest male field spaniel.  That's him at right, back in his days as an agility competitor, in 2006.  He's getting old now, and spends most of his time sleeping and eating.  I'm not sure which of those two activities he likes the most :)  And of course, like any dog, he likes his walks.

About a year and a half ago, I replaced the patio door that we normally use to go in and out of our house.  The old door was a sliding glass door.  From the inside of the house, you would slide the door from right to left to open it.  When they figured out that we were going for a walk, the dogs would all jostle for position at the right hand side of that door, eager to be the first out.  They have no idea why they want to be first, mind you – but they're dogs, and they know it's important to be first :)

I replaced that door with one that had a pair of hinged doors, rather than a sliding door.  The doors open from the center, so the right place for the dogs to congregate is at the center of the door, rather than at the right side.  This confused all the dogs at first, but within a few days they figured out the new door, and went to the middle.

Except for Mo'i.  A year and a half after I replaced the door, he's still going to the right side, convinced that the other three dogs are all crazy and that he'll be the first one out.  Every day, 3 or 4 times a day, we go through this drill: three dogs in the middle, and Mo'i on the right.  I open the door, and now there's a door between Mo'i and the opening.  Every time, he has to awkwardly back up, move to his left, and join the other dogs – the last one out the door.  He's done this roughly 2,000 times now, and he still doesn't understand that the center is the place to be.

When he was competing in agility, he earned the moniker “Slo-Mo” for his unhurried pace through the course.  I think we could use that for his learning speed, too :)

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