Monday, October 19, 2009

My 'Dubious' Dog Bell Plan

For a few months now, I've been battling the problem of what to do about the back door. When I let the newfs out in the morning, I leave the door open just a crack so that it's shut but not latched. They wrestle around outside and some variable amount of time later, they barge back in. Usually, but not always, I notice when they come in and can go shut the door. It's those times I don't notice, when the door has been open for an hour, that I want to solve.

What I need is a simple alarm to alert me that the door is open. A bell on the backdoor is perfect, so at the craft store, I choose the biggest, loudest bell I could find and figured I could hang it on the door nob from a ribbon — except — that would scratch up the door. So, I made a little padded cushion to hang between it and the door. It'll still make a nice clang when they rush in, but it won't scratch the door.

I quilted the cushion using a new free motion presser foot for my sewing machine. I have really limited experience using it, and it takes practice, so I'm inventing all sorts of excuses for using it before I use it on my next project — a quilt for Baby Field Notes (my first quilt). This door bell cushion was a perfect excuse for practice.

It ought to do the trick, and it might have the added benefit of serving as a bell for when they ask to go out. Katy will vocalize to go out, but not Yuki. Instead, she just stares at the door. Sometimes she nudges the nob with her nose, so I'm thinking we might be able to get her to deliberately jingle the bell to ask to go out.

Katy needs none of these tricks. But she's stuck with it. (Notice the slobber hanging off her jowl?)

Katy has these amazingly disgusted looks she shoots at us when she thinks we're being dumb (which is pretty much all the time when she's not sleeping — or eating). She shot me one of her dubious looks when
I told her to wait by the back door after I balanced a treat on the nob. It's her equivalent of the teenager's rolled eyes. You can get a hint of it in the top photo. Perhaps amazingly is too much, but she's got a real skill for looking at us this way when we ask her to do something that's beneath her... like 'waiting' for a treat. Being a trick she learned long ago, it is so juvenile.

1 comment:

Science Bear said...

I haven't done it with my current dog, but a friend trained their dog to nose a bell when they had to go out (small dog and small bell).

Do they know how to target an object yet? It's a good way to get the nose-to-bell action you want, then you could pair it with the potty time later. (or just pair it to begin with so they associate one with the other).

Lots of great youtube videos on this kind of stuff :)