Outwitting the Pudelpointer

Gypsy (the clever culprit) an eleven month old Pudelpointer.
Gypsy (the clever culprit) an eleven month old Pudelpointer.

“A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of” – Ogden Nash

So far, we have not been able to outwit the Pudelpointer puppy.

When Gypsy decides she is tired of exploring her three-acre fenced yard, nothing short of a locked door seems to stop her from getting inside the house.

It begins here....
It begins here….

For three months Bruce has tried a variety of unsuccessful solutions addressing Gypsy’s amazing ability to open all four exterior doors. He’s built a cage to cover the door handle, attached bungee straps to make the door difficult to open, and he even installed a new doorknob style, but Gypsy has overcome every obstacle and continues to open the doors.

The cage over the door handle. It took Gypsy a week to perfect getting around this challenge.
The cage over the door handle. It took Gypsy a week to perfect getting around this challenge.
The single bungee method, but the tension was not strong enough and Gypsy could open the door.
The single bungee method, but the tension was not strong enough and Gypsy could open the door.
The double bungee works quite well except it is difficult for non-body builders to open, so it stops most of us --including Gypsy.
The double bungee works quite well except it is difficult for non-body builders to open, so it stops most of us –including Gypsy.
Bruce first tried adjusting the handle placement to a vertical position, but Gypsy can still open the door.
Bruce first tried adjusting the handle placement to a vertical position, but Gypsy can still open the door.

The problem with some of these designs, such as the double bungee cord, is that children and older people simply don’t have the strength to open the door. And, I have to use two hands, which often means setting down whatever I am carrying. And even with both hands, it takes many moments to slowly press down the handle and move open the door while the handle is pushing against my hands to go right back up again.

As Bruce produces a solution, Gypsy creates a new problem, and, so, when I return from town these days, I never know what sort of door handle awaits me.

Bruce's most recent solution - a different type of doorknob.
Bruce’s most recent solution – a different type of doorknob.
The glass door knob lasted two days before she removed the knob. She could not get into the house but neither could we.
The glass door knob lasted two days before she removed the knob. She could not get into the house but neither could we.

And, it’s not just exterior door handles that grab Gypsy’s attention. In the past week she has successfully opened a catch latch on a swinging gate between the mudroom and the main house. Now Bruce may need to change the gate latch.

Though it’s clear the eleven-month old puppy is better at solving problems than we are, Bruce and I are not giving up; the quest for a Gypsy-proof door handle and now a gate latch continues.

Bruce built three of these lovely gates to provide a farm-feel barrier between  the mudroom and the main house.
Bruce built three of these lovely gates to provide a farm-feel barrier between the mudroom and the main house.
Recently Gypsy has lifted this latch with her mouth and pulled back on the door with her leg and entered the main house.
Recently Gypsy has lifted this latch with her mouth or foot and pulled back on the door with her leg and entered the main house.

20 thoughts on “Outwitting the Pudelpointer

  1. Sher,
    I once belonged to a huge Irish setter dog and he did the same as your Gypsie, our door knobs were similar to yours. An old time dog trainer told me the only requirement to train a dog is you must be smarter than the dog!
    You have to admire your pup, she is convinced you belong to her rather than the other way around!
    Sempervivum Fi!
    SD

    1. Sher,
      I once belonged to a huge Irish setter dog and he did the same as your Gypsie, our door knobs were similar to yours. An old time dog trainer told me the only requirement to train a dog is you must be smarter than the dog!
      You have to admire your pup, she is convinced you belong to her rather than the other way around!
      Sempervivum Fi!
      SD
      Roy- I thought I might hear from you on this one. 🙂 Yes, right now we are not smarter, but we are trying. Thanks for checking in- Sher

  2. Sher, I do not know what you can do. how about a lock that you code a number in to open.? fits flat on the door and the code unlocks it….keyless and door handless.

    1. Sher, I do not know what you can do. how about a lock that you code a number in to open.? fits flat on the door and the code unlocks it….keyless and door handless. Pat – this is a great idea. You are definitely smarter than Gypsy! I’ll pass this idea on to Bruce. Let see — can it stop Gypsy! I bet she can break the code. Each toenail is quite capable, and she remembers numbers really well. 🙂

  3. Gypsy, you clever pup! I am sooo impressed. She’s clearly regarding this as an exciting challenge – “how to get inside, where mom and dad are, where all the good stuff is happening, where the food and the treats are hidden, where the warm and snuggly bed is…”

    Our Tuffy-Cat, who adopted us about 10 years ago, exhibited similar persistence and perseverance… though not the same dexterity in opening doors! But we caved in after a couple of weeks, because the magic of snuggling with a bundle of purr on your lap or curled against your legs or your tummy when you’re sleeping, far outweighs any possible downsides. Actually… come to think of it, there *aren’t* any downsides.

    Just give up already and let Gypsy in. 🙂

    1. Just give up already and let Gypsy in. 🙂 Hi Reggie- you made me realize what I didn’t say– the reason her opening the door without us knowing is a problem is because we have a high coyote population here and bobcats, and I have an indoor cat. Last June our other cat got out when we were in Missouri at Bruce’s mom’s memorial service, and Milo was eaten by a coyote or great horned owl, bobcat– we don’t know, but he did not make it back once he got outside (accidently). So Rufous is the cat we have left, and when Gypsy opens the door — the little stinker does not close it behind her, and Rufous can get out. But if it were not for cats getting out and Gypsy and flies getting in, I’d say yes, let her come and go and she well pleases. 🙂 Thanks for your comments! p.s. I remember you writing about Tuffy-Cat before. 🙂

      1. Oh my, I didn’t know about poor Milo… that is awful… In that case, you’re quite correct to keep Gypsy out.

        Alternatively, as she is so clever, perhaps you can teach her to *close* the door too, so that Rufous doesn’t get out?

        Gosh, you sure do live in a wild country.

  4. I have a Bernese Mountain Dog who does the same…cute in summer, expensive in winter 🙂 I have the same door latch, it can be replaced with a rare oval knob (that works with 3point latches)…I say RARE because I’m still waiting for mine to come in, I think I ordered it 5 weeks ago from the door supplier :-(…good luck, they don’t outgrow it!

    1. I have a Bernese Mountain Dog who does the same…cute in summer, expensive in winter 🙂 I have the same door latch, it can be replaced with a rare oval knob (that works with 3point latches)…I say RARE because I’m still waiting for mine to come in, I think I ordered it 5 weeks ago from the door supplier :-(…good luck, they don’t outgrow it!
      Hi Cindy: Let me know if this works. Maybe it is hard to get, because there are so many clever pooches out there. I guess this behavior is not a puppy thing, so we’d better be prepared for the next 14 years. Sigh. I hope things are going well at your farm. 🙂 Let me know if you start a blog or have a site with pictures and stories. Sher

    1. aw…clever girl! Of course you could just give in and let her sit on your lap on the sofa :>) Hi Sue– good advice- she would love that. 🙂 All our dogs are fine sofa-sitters if given the chance.

  5. I’m amazed at the skill & persistence of your dog. First time I’ve ever heard of door-opening hounds!
    Pity about the housecat/owl/bobcat problem; otherwise you could simply let her in. Maybe you should concentrate on confining the cat, and let the dog come & go as it pleases?

    1. I’m amazed at the skill & persistence of your dog. First time I’ve ever heard of door-opening hounds!
      Pity about the housecat/owl/bobcat problem; otherwise you could simply let her in. Maybe you should concentrate on confining the cat, and let the dog come & go as it pleases?
      Alison– we have a new solution, which I need to post so everyone can see it. It has been 4 days, and she has not been able to open the door. But, we went a friend’s house and stayed with them for a night , and Gypsy was out playing in the yard with their dog, and she came over to their house, and opened the round door knob , and walked right into the house. My friends were flabbergasted! Me too!

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