When it comes to Christmas presents, or any present for that matter, we tend to take a practical approach. Flashlights, water bottles, snowshoes, snowmobile helmets, horse tack… For Christmas this year, the boys got me a dog door. No, they obviously did not think I would use it. But since I’m the one who wakes in the middle of the night to let out our old dog, Alan, the dog door was, in a way, a gift to allow me to sleep through the night. You see, when it’s 10 or 20 degrees below zero, you don’t want to fall back asleep when the dog is out, forget about him, and have him freeze. So you stand by the door, shivering in your bare feet, waiting for him to be done with his business and choose to come back in. No sense calling him. He can not hear. And since our “central heating” is a wood stove, which we let go out every night, the house gets downright cold. It’s was always a chilling experience standing there by the door waiting on Alan.
I didn’t think I complained, but I suppose I must have or the boys would not have bought me the door. So, for a family project, the three of us figured out how to uninstall the cat door, and replace it with the extra large dog door.
On a side note here – we have a cat door in two of our doors. We try to make it easy for them, because life in the mountains is notorious for being difficult on cats (thought not as hard as it is for those chickens). One day about this time last winter, I was sitting in the office at the computer, and heard a big commotion by this cat door. I came around the corner to see what the fuss was all about. One of our cats was just inside the door, looking back at the cat door with eyes wide as saucers and with his tail all puffed up. I went over to look at out the door to see what on earth could be so frightening, and there was a lynx on the other side of the door! Thank goodness that feline never figured out how to use the cat door…
Well, back to the dog door… So, we install it, and on the direction sheet it even has these little pictures showing you how to introduce your dog to the door so that it becomes a “pleasant” experience for him, so that he will “enjoy” using the door, by offering him treats on the other side…
We got old Alan to figure it out reasonable well, and he did go back and forth a few times “pleasantly.” Figured it would be a done deal, and the door would be getting constant use from here on in.
Well, you know what they say: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Perhaps, just perhaps, there is a bit of truth to that saying. Here it is, three months later, and I suppose only three or four times has Alan used the door on his own. We still encourage him, still hold the doggie door open and cheer him through, and he’ll do it, but rarely on his own. He’d rather wait until one of us is coming or going, and follow us through using the proper door.
The good news is that he hates that door so much he has decided it’s not worth having to go out in the middle of the night. So, thanks to that dog door, I get to sleep through the night now! What a wonderful Christmas present.