When One Door Closes…

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At some point, you will have to move from building duration outside the front door, to taking the elevator down to the lobby or walking/driving away from the home. Because both of these next steps will inevitably result in a longer absence, we want to be sure our dog can handle an appreciable amount of time before we go.

Imagine that you get in the elevator with the goal of riding it down to the lobby and back up to your floor. Let's say that would take 2 minutes on average. So you run through your mission with this goal in mind and you step in the elevator, pressing "G" and the door closes. You take a deep breath and prepare yourself for this long absence, knowing that your dog's current threshold is 2min30sec. The elevator stops at every floor on the way down and you feel your palms sweating. You can't check your camera because there's no service in the elevator.

When you finally reach Ground floor, you step out to check the camera and let others in to head back to their own units. You see your dog relaxing on the couch and you smile. So you turn to hit the button and see a sign that says there is only one elevator working and you can see the numbers on that one working elevator reaching higher and higher, stopping frequently. It's going to be at least two minutes before it comes back down. You end up making it back and your dog is whining at the door, scratching the frame, and pretty upset about the 4min absence.

The same goes for traffic if we drive away, a stalled car, construction holdups, you name it. We want to prepare for these longer missions with absences that include distance - we have to be sure that if we hit a snag, our dog can handle it. It's a great idea to do a dry run of these activities while your dog is being managed so that you can jot down notes about each step and the timing.

When we start to add in new criterion, such as the elevator or the car, we have to consider all the tiny details that go into this and work them into the plan. Here are some considerations:

Walking away:

  • the sound of you walking down the steps
  • additional doors (porch door for example)
  • whether or not your dog can see out the window and watch you walk away or out of sight

Driving away:

  • the sound of the garage door opening
  • the sound of the engine starting
  • the sound of the car door closing
  • whether or not your dog can see out the window and watch you drive away

Taking the elevator:

  • the length of time it takes to walk to the elevator and back
  • the sound of the elevator ding
  • the sound of the door opening/closing
  • the length of time it takes to get to the ground floor (you might consider going one floor or two floors the first time!)

These are just some typical considerations.

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