If only every dog were exactly like every other dog, we might fully benefit from our mistakes.  All those things we did wrong with our border collie Rosie we vowed to do right with our Labrador Lila.   And, largely speaking, we have.  It’s the unforeseen challenges that we have failed to meet. (And so many of the expected ones haven’t actually arisen…not that we’re disappointed!)

To be blunt, no one would describe Lila as “delicate”. She never suggests.  She simply demands.   She lacks subtlety.  One manifestation of this personality trait (one very tangible manifestation) was a terribly tattered flyscreen on our front door.  Rather than gently whimper or, better yet, stand patiently waiting for the door to open, Lila preferred to knock.  Not scratch at the screen, but thrust one heavy outsized paw all the way through.  [read more below]

[wpvideo vQz1s58M w=484]

For weeks I found myself leaping to attention (yes, reinforcing her habit) every time I heard the all too familiar rrrrrip while I wracked my brains for a solution.  In the end, the best solution turned out to be the simplest one.  Why not train Lila to ring a doorbell?  Given her strong motivation to enter and exit, it was easy.  No bribes required.  Just a hint that her nose touching the bells would prompt the nearest human to speedily open the door!   And we managed to make a wise choice: bells that tinkle lightly even when shoved by a large brown snout.

[If you have received this post by email, please click “dog downunder” or “lila the bell ringer” in order to view accompanying video.]