Thursday, April 30, 2009

An arms race

As you may recall, Doreen and I were concerned about educational toys and Dempsey's intellectual development. I suppose a lot of parents worry about this, but I think our concerns were justified.

When we first got Dempsey, he was the cutest little ball of fuzz. He also ate his own poop, crashed into sliding glass doors, chased his own tail, and startled himself when he farted. It was all very cute (except the poop eating), but as we watched him walk into a column for the fourth time in a day, we wondered: Is this puppy smart enough to be a service dog?

We are no longer concerned. We are afraid.

Below is Exhibit A, a doggie gate similar to the one we ordered (on clearance!) from Frontgate ("Outfitting America's Finest Homes"):

This is pretty much what we had envisioned for our house, sans the coiffed poodles. We thought the oiled bronze gate would complement the faux finish on the walls, all unsightly puppy messes neatly contained behind the gate in the mudroom, the cat safely in the powder room. As if.

Below is Exhibit B, which shows the product in actual use at our house:

It looks more Foxworthy than Frontgate, thanks to Dempsey. This has been an arms race, one that we seem to be losing to the puppy.

Step 1: We install the gate.
Dempsey looks at it, finds that one side has a slightly larger gap, and walks right through that side.

Step 2: We block the gap.
Fortunately, we had a nice matching oiled bronze French flower bucket that we used to block the gap. Dempsey, however, figured out that he's skinnier in the mornings than at night. In the morning, he walked through the other side, where he now fit.

Step 3: We block the other gap.
We were out of oiled bronze French flower buckets, so Paul found an old milk crate in the basement and used that to block the other side. It took about 30 seconds for Dempsey to figure out that he could just push it out of the way.

Step 4: We secure the crate.
Paul got out some used supermarket twist ties, and used them to tie the oiled bronze French flower bucket and the crate to the gate. However, it was still possible to rotate the crate out of the way, if you pulled it from the far corner. Paul did not realize this. Dempsey did.

Step 5: We secure the oiled bronze French flower bucket and the crate in two places to prevent rotation.
We're not sure how, but Dempsey managed to untie the second twist tie, and rotate the crate out of the way.

Step 6: We replace the bottom twist tie with a white cable tie.
Although Dempsey can't undo the cable tie, he found a workaround. Last night, he stood on the milk crate, and using his nose, unlatched the gate and pushed it open. Fortunately, Dempsey hasn't been able to repeat that, but he keeps trying whenever he thinks we aren't looking.

Step 7: Um, now what?
We're considering installing a combination lock, but we're afraid we'll forget the combination, and only Dempsey will know how to open it. Bailey has been watching this escalating arms race with concern from her room, but as usual, she only has one suggestion: "You guys better do something about that."

Thanks, Bailey.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a lot of work on Dempsey's part. He should have just scaled the gate like Boston does.