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Posted on April 23rd, 2011 by Kristin

Murphy just locked himself in the bathroom again. The door does not stay open (I guess we could get a door stop) and almost daily, he pushes the door open, walks in and it closes behind him. Sometimes, he barks to let me know that he's stuck in there. If I am busy, or on the phone, I won’t notice because he sounds a bit like the two chocolate labs next door, who bark a lot. But my favorite thing is when Sophie walks over and pushes the door open to let him out. Now, I’m not saying she knows he’s stuck and is opening the door, or that she just wants to go see what is happening in the bathroom. I like to think she knows he has locked himself in there again and she is helping him out. Murphy seems to help her out, too. If she wants to go outside, and the dog door is closed, he pushes his nose against the hook near the door for a few seconds until I hear him. Originally, I had a bird bell there and taught him to ring it if he had to go out. The bell has since disappeared and so he just rattles the hook. Sophie never bothered to learn to make a noise so she can be let out. She has relied on him all these years. The reason I know he is doing it for her is because the only time he does it is when she needs to go out. He rattles the hook, I let Sophie out, and Murphy waits inside by the door.


Studies of wolf behavior have proved that canines have a highly-evolved form of communication among themselves. Without a doubt, that trait has been passed down to domesticated dogs, and they have also learned how to understand what humans want from them, if training is thorough, consistent, and based on reinforcement.  My dogs usually do what I ask if it is in the normal range of commands they are used to. Even so, I sometimes stare at them, wishing they could talk to me as easily as they "speak" to each other. Then, I could tell Murphy how to get himself out of the bathroom.

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