Sunday, February 7, 2010

Hannah and the Back Door

I've been teaching Hannah to open the door. This is a really big deal.

When she first came she was terrified of doors. She'd lived outside the better part of her life and doors were things that moved on their own without warning, things that might hit and hurt an Airedale. She stayed as far away from them as she could. That was nearly 2 years ago.

I started thinking about teaching her to open a door when I saw a video of a puppy-in-training-to-become-an-assistance-dog learning to pull a door open with a ball attached to a rope on the doorknob. It was a game to the puppy. I thought, Hannah could learn to do that.

We didn't start on pulling a door open, though. Our back door from the breezeway into the house opens inward. One day when I went out to let her back in, I left the back door slightly ajar so all it took was a push to open it. When I let Hannah into the breezeway, I didn't open the back door for her, but encouraged her to push it open, showing her how to do it. It didn't take her long to learn the command, "Open the door." Now, when she comes into the breezeway from outside, she races to the back door, stands with her front paws on the threshhold, tail wagging, and waits for me to give her the okay. She gives the door a mighty push with her nose and bounds into the house.

What a good learner!

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