My dog Henson is so stupid. He’s also very evil, but that’s a separate topic altogether. Let me tell you how stupid he is. This photograph, to the right, is his dog door. We installed it so that he would be able to get outside and go to the bathroom whenever he liked, and we wouldn’t have to be here to let him out. Understandably, the first night we put it in he had a difficult time figuring out why he was able to walk through the door when he wasn’t able to do that the day before. But this is something we expect all our pets to deal with; it’s not really out of the ordinary to have to show them, slowly, how your hand can pass into and through this otherworldly portal without being maimed, or how you can push the cat out, and she seems just fine on the other side. Eventually, he understood these gestures as a suggestion, and he tried it cautiously, and he liked it.
Since then, he has figured out that he can run through the door to bark at the mailman as he comes around the house, and that he can run though the door to bark at our neighbors when they come home. Those things are easy. But for bathroom purposes? No, the door isn’t for that. He can go out that door and go to the bathroom if we’re standing right there and we tell him to do it, but he can’t do it on his own. Somehow, that isn’t what the door is for. When we’re home, he will come to us with the “I have to go out” look in his eyes, and when we stand up, he takes us to the front door, the sans-doggie-door side of the house, and expects us to open it, leash him up, and let him out. He could never just go out the back and stop bugging us. No way.