AN OPEN GATE. THREE WORRIED DOGS.

Stifling change because the dogs don’t like it has become a way of life. Until we opened the gate.


Garry felt we should leave the hallway gate open, or, to put it another way — stop closing the gate. He is worried that one of these days, Duke will get hurt leaping the gate although to be fair, I see no evidence of this.

Nonetheless, Garry has a point. Duke has grown up. He isn’t quite as much of a flyer as he was when he arrived. He has filled out. His chest is deeper. He’s got jowls. He’s a dog, no longer a puppy.

Bonnie and Gibbs

A couple of nights ago, I decided to leave the gate open when I went to bed. I gave the furry ones their last biscuit of the night. Grabbed my bag of medications and my drink, and headed for the bedroom. I turned around and started to say “Good night, fur persons,” which I say every night, but instead, all I started to laugh.

All three dogs were lined up at the place where the gate normally wouldΒ close. Not in the hallway, but on the other side. They stood there looking at me, then looking at each other. I could hear their conversation in my mind.

“Bonnie?”

“Yes Gibbs.”

“The gate is open. Why is the gate open? Is this a trick?”

“I don’t know Gibbs. Duke, what do you think?”

“I don’t know either. This seems so … wrong.”

“It’s got to be a trick,” says Gibbs. “I bet she’s going to come back and yell at us. I’m going back to the sofa for a nap.”

“I better do that too,” says Bonnie.

“Yeah,” says Duke. “A nap. Good idea. When we wake up, the gate will be closed.”

“Good night, fur people,” I say. They wrinkle their foreheads. They are worried. Something is weird. A night’s sleep will fix everything.

There is nothing more hilarious than dogs who are dealing with … change. Change is not something welcomed by dogs. They want everything to always be the same. Except dinner. They want dinner to be a delightful, ever-changing selection of yummy things. Leftover steak. Remaindered meat loaf. Spare chicken parts.

Change? Stifle that. Do not move the furniture. Do not move the water dish. And now that you mention it, close the gates like you always have. Today needs to be just like yesterday and the day before.

Without thinking, I briefly closed the gate yesterday. They seemed relieved. Life was back to normal. But then, I remembered and reopened it. My last look at the dogs last night was the three of them, all lined up in front of the open gate looking forlornly at me. Why was I changing something?

I know it’s a bit demented on my part, but I might change something else — just to watch them fret about it!

28 thoughts on “AN OPEN GATE. THREE WORRIED DOGS.”

  1. Before you change another part of their lives consider how unsettling it might be for you if they start doing likewise – just to see your or Garry’s reaction?? πŸ˜‰

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  2. Heh, things change so much and so often in our dogs’ life that it kind of rolls off their backs. I can’t say that it doesn’t upset them, but our dogs, they adapt pretty easily to change.

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    1. Bonnie and Gibbs are both 11, so they are pretty resistant to change. Duke, less so, but they do get used to a kind of comfort in consistency. And this wasn’t a big change. you should’ve seen how confused they got when I moved the water dish!

      Why isn’t it in the kitchen? Why did she move it here? And it’s a different bowl! What does this mean. I sure hope DINNER will be on time!

      They also hate DST. What do you MEAN changing the hour of dinner?

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  3. Marilyn, I can just picture that conversation among the dogs. An open gate! Whatever could be next? My poor Puppy Cody has had to deal with a lot of changes lately, and she’s not handling things well. She’s gotten to the point where she won’t let me out of her sight when I’m home – I think maybe she’s afraid I’ll change into someone else.

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    1. It’s funny how some dogs seem okay with change while others get really worried about it. Maybe it’s breed characteristics. Most of our dogs are mixed, so we don’t know what the DNA is, but some of them may have a heavy dollop of guard dog … and they are bred to make sure EVERYTHING stays the same. It’s their job.

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      1. I believe there’s something to that, Marilyn. Cody is mixed Golden Retriever/German Shepherd (and who knows what else). The Golden Retriever in her makes her love people, but the German Shepherd makes her wary of strangers. It all must be very confusing for her.

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  4. It makes sense. Since their basic nature is to watch out for dangerous and/or edible changes in their territory. Bear is most dependent on regular routine of all my dogs. And now that she really isn’t a puppy any more, she guards me rigorously in every changing circumstance which sometimes makes it hard to move because she’s fenced me in with her body. Dusty and Mindy, surprisingly (to me when I moved out here) are very easy going and resilient with change. In both of their cases, change has always meant a better life. I don’t know if that’s why or not…

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    1. Bonnie is okay with change. She’ll be the first one down the hall and the first one to wander into the bedroom. She is also our only non-rescue dog. She has been ours since she was 9-weeks old. Loves everyone and everything.

      Duke was “looser” a few months ago, but he is settling into a routine. He wants everything to be the same. Except food. We can change food any time. Which is funny, really, since Duke isn’t a big eater and will often walk away from his food. He’s interested in getting food, but not nearly as interested in eating it.

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  5. Dogs are so funny. So up to now nobody has crossed the invisible barrier? I’m sure that Duke will sooner or later.
    Cindy is fairly adaptable although it did confuse her when I changed bedrooms permanently last year. She still occasionally goes towards the wrong door but she wasn’t too stressed, she just wants to be with me. Polly the cat is the one that gets freaked out if I move anything or bring in anything new. You should have seen her when i moved the food bowls.

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    1. I went into the bedroom and I was still laughing. I actually “talked” this post before I wrote it. I just could imagine them worriedly discussing if this was some kind of trick. Now you have to remember that previously, if I accidentally left the gate open, they’d all be down the hall in a blink. But this time, I had obviously left it open. On purpose. What could it mean?

      They are so funny πŸ™‚

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  6. Poor little fur people. They live for routine and constants such as nummy treats for dinner, and the occasional walk with little furry things to chase and smells to smell. Vary this and you have an unhappy pet. And you’ve reminded me why Huny is fractious whenever the cleaning lady comes by and moves her water bowl a centimeter to the right. Leaving gates open (to them) is to invite chaos and that’s never good..

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    1. We used to use two dishes for water, but they would ONLY drink from the one on the left … unless the left one was empty. They would never drink from the one on the right. I finally got one big pot and got rid of the second bowl since they never drank from it. They really are very programmed.

      I think they didn’t like the open gate because it was SUPPOSED to be closed. Because it always had BEEN closed … and even though Duke will happily jump right over it, he won’t walk THROUGH it because … it’s supposed to be closed.

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