Whole Dog Journal's Blog February 1, 2017

Locked In!

Posted at 03:44PM - Comments: (29)

At risk of making sure that the friend who visited me last week never comes to visit me again, this week’s blog post is ALSO going to be inspired by her dog. (Last week, I wrote about how she never leaves her dog in the car – ever!  – a practice that I find admirable but impractical for me, personally.)

My friend’s 10-month-old dog and my 14-month-old dog, Woody, got along beautifully – if you can call it beautiful when two adolescent males are rolling around in a wrestling ball that takes them over, under, around, and through most people and obstacles in their path. They loved, loved, loved playing the same sort of tug/chase/face-biting/wrestling games, and could go for hours! But when we made plans to leave the house and visit some places where the two youngsters couldn’t accompany us, we mutually decided to separate the boys so neither could get hurt or overwhelmed by the other while we were out.  It was time for a play break! The question was, where would we leave my friend’s dog?

At home, he spends my friend’s work day in an exercise pen, but she thought that here, in a strange home, he might be more comfortable in the bedroom where she slept with him in my office/house. He was tired enough from playing, that it seemed likely that he would just sleep on the bed the whole time we were gone. He had been too excited that morning to eat, so my friend left him with a couple of food-stuffed Kongs.

We went out for about four hours.

What we saw as we pulled up to the house: shredded window shade

When we pulled up to the house on our return, my friend looked up at the window of the room where she had left her dog, and exclaimed, “Oh no! I’m so sorry!” I looked up, too, and saw that the shade that had been rolled down over that window was all shredded at the bottom. I wasn’t worried AT ALL about the super inexpensive shade – I’ve had human tenants ruin them accidentally by pulling them down too far and making them come off their rollers. But I was a bit worried about what the rest of the room might look like – AND whether we had freaked the puppy out by leaving him in the strange place. Would this be the start of some separation anxiety? Ack!

We entered the house, and I went straight to the back door, to let Woody go outside. My friend ran straight up the stairs, to let her dog out. Then I heard her call, “Hey Nancy, the door is locked!”

“What?” I responded, running up the stairs. “Those doors don’t lock!” I knew this because, over a year ago, my step-grandson had stayed in one of those bedrooms, and I had checked to make sure he couldn’t accidentally lock himself in his room; this house was built in 1890-something, and the door hardware looks to be original! His bedroom didn’t have a lock on it.

But, oh, crap, the front bedroom did!!

My friend and I sprang into McGuyver mode. I ran downstairs for tools. We took the doorknob off – the door stayed locked. I ran around and found a skeleton key; there was a skeleton key-shaped hole in the door, but no actual hardware inside the existing hole. I ran around and examined all the other upstairs doors; the other two bedrooms had no locks. But the closet door, nonsensically, had a lock on the outside of the door – a tiny little metal switch that the user would flip from left to right (or vice versa) to lock and unlock. And that was apparently what my friend’s dog did.  AND, there appeared to be no way to unlock it, other than flipping that switch. Great!

Still-intact door of the hall closet, the same type we had to take apart to get the dog out

Well, there was nothing else to be done. “I’m going to have to see if we can just kick the door, and hopefully break the piece of trim that the door locks to,” I told my friend. Fortunately, both she and her dog were staying calm.

It took a dozen or so hard kicks, but the best possible thing happened: the piece of wood trim that the door lock is fastened to didn’t splinter, but (gradually) came off the wall in one solid piece. They don’t make wood trim (or doors) like that anymore! It will be easy to just nail back, and with a little touch-up paint, no one will ever know!

The best part: The shade was the only other thing in the room that the adolescent dog damaged, and who could blame him? We should have left it open so he could see outside! It appeared that after what was probably a brief session of jumping up on the window frame and the door (thus inadvertently flipping the door-locking switch), he had slept the rest of the time we were out. No serious harm done.

So, while as a fairly new step-grandparent I had been concerned and aware of the danger of a toddler locking a lock that had no key, as a much more experienced dog owner, I never dreamed that a dog might do the same. Just one more learning experience, I guess!

Has your dog ever been locked in, or have you ever been locked out, by doggy paws? Tell me I’m not the only one!


Comments (29)

My dog is a service dog and I taught him to open and close doors. So, one afternoon I am running around the house looking for them and just about to go outside I decided to take a quick look in the jack and Jill bathroom and there they were. I had no words. Just glad I found them asap and didn't have to go running outside looking for them

Posted by: Kathleennovo | February 7, 2017 1:18 AM    Report this comment


Posted by: chuck linker | February 6, 2017 8:54 AM    Report this comment

My husband took two of our dogs with him to go to a car wash. After passing through the car wash he decided to pull up to the vacuum area and clean the inside of his truck. He stepped out of the truck and closed the door behind him, leaving his keys in the truck and it running to keep them cool. The dogs, eager to see what he was doing jumped up on the door and pushed the lock down....both sides! There was no way to get the doors open except to call a locksmith to come and open the doors. And he had to walk to the store next door and ask to use their phone as his cell phone was locked in the truck too! Lesson learned.

Posted by: GGMarso | February 3, 2017 10:14 PM    Report this comment

Have you or your friend ever heard of CRATES??? That could solve both the car issue & the stay-at-home issue.

Signed: REALLY an Experienced Dog Owner

Posted by: CommonSense | February 3, 2017 4:46 PM    Report this comment

My Tibetan Terrier hurled herself against the horn in my motor home, scaring the dog walkers in the path in front. The sound scared her and she ran to the back. Then, she came back and did it again--not scary. She continued to entertain herself, watching people jump and sometimes flap their arms. Never did it when no one was in front of the mh. I bought a wrap around cover for the outside of the windshield. Problem solved. But I had to have the engine jump started, and she honked the horn as the fellow bent over the engine. He jumped extremely high, but regained his composure, bending over the engine again. She honked again. He said "I think she is doing on the purpose". I didn't have the nerve to say "I know".

Posted by: Lambchop | February 3, 2017 7:32 AM    Report this comment

We locked our dog in the car with air conditioning running so we could go in and rent a movie. The movie rental Store had all Glass windows in front, we made sure we parked in front to keep an eye on the car and dog. Coming out of the store we were greeted by our dog who had been trying to get into the store to join us. Baffled because we locked the car we immediately thought the car was stolen and the dog was let out. We looked up and saw car still there. Even more baffling, what did he do....unlock the door himself and open it? He is a Minnie Aussie mix. Once at the car we realized he had rolled down the window and jumped out. Realizing he has this capability there after we kept the window lock on all times to avert a potential similar incident while driving. Same Dog, different car also managed to lock me out of the car when I popped out for a second to drop a letter in a mailbox and of course the windows were closed because the air was running. Luckily it was 5 min drive from home and hubby was around to come by with a spare key. That taught me keep a spare key on body at all times in summer and winter when you know you will leave the car running with Windows closed if the dogs are inside.

Posted by: Pawsoftranquility | February 3, 2017 12:20 AM    Report this comment

Oh no you are not the only one this has happened to!!!! We put a new foster dog in our master bedroom for a short time....and he locked the door. One of my own dogs have locked a car door with the keys inside......and beeped the horn!!!!! I'm not sure if that can happen with our new vehicles.....I should check that out!

Posted by: Olivia | February 2, 2017 3:21 PM    Report this comment

I arrived home one day several years ago to find my last Lab, Harley, (chocolate) out in my patio and the sliding door open just about as wide as he. He had apparently jumped up and moved the little lever lock and let himself out. Needless to say, my only recourse was the "wooden dowel in the door" trick. But then, another time, I was outside and he was inside. Of course he jumped up and locked me out! Luckily I had my cell phone in my pocket so that I could call my son to come and let me in. Dogs can be so goofy! But, that's how they entertain us. Gotta love 'em! :-)

Posted by: joycegail | February 2, 2017 2:39 PM    Report this comment

Our first Dalmatian would get irritated by closed doors. All doors had to be open so she could inspect the room. Samantha learned at a young age how to open any closed door in the house. One day we weren't able to let the dogs out back because the back porch was being repaired. It was after dinner and I was taking the dogs out individually for leash walks. I was out with Chelsea when Sam decided she wanted out of the house too. While she was trying to open the door she threw the dead bolt. Locked out at 9pm. It wouldn't have been too bad except I had a cake in the oven. Had to pay the locksmith extra to rush over. :(

Posted by: DalMom | February 2, 2017 2:23 PM    Report this comment

I was at an outdoor agility trial and it was raining and cold. I left my lab, Andy, in the car while I walked my other dog. Not thinking, I threw my cars keys onto the front seat. Came back to see Andy in the front seat and the car locked, he sat on the keys and locked the doors. Had to call AAA to unlock the car.

Posted by: SaylininTN | February 2, 2017 1:46 PM    Report this comment

I had a van that had the locks in a very convenient place on the door rest. Unfortunately, too convenient. I stopped at the top of our drive to pick up the mail, closed the car door, and came back to find it locked. My dog had hit the lock button. Tried every which way to get her to jump on the lock again - but no luck. Had to call my husband to come unlock the door. I invented a firm clear plastic cover for the door locks after that so I wouldn't be locked out again!

Posted by: jww | February 2, 2017 1:27 PM    Report this comment

The scariest thing that ever happened to my dogs involved one of them shutting herself in a room, although it didn't lock. I left her for a few hours, not an unusual occurrence and she is not concerned. But on this occasion she shut herself in an upstairs bedroom. I came home and couldn't find her anywhere. I finally noticed a big tear in a screen of an upstairs window that was open a little bit. Trying not to panic, I looked outside and there she was. Standing on a 12" ledge, 15 feet off the ground over a concrete driveway. Trying to stay as calmly as I could, I asked her to stay, terrified she would move towards me and fall. Got myself in the best posisition I could, quickly reached through the opening and torn screen and grabbed her. Still terrifies me to think about it.

Posted by: Eileen D | February 2, 2017 1:00 PM    Report this comment

Our two dogs were left inside while we had lunch on the patio with my 90-year-old mother in law. One of the dogs jumped on the sliding glass door and flipped down the lock/latch, locking us out. I had to crawl through a doggie door to get to our "hidden" key but that's what we get for excluding them from our lunch!

Posted by: NBnOC | February 2, 2017 11:30 AM    Report this comment

My grandson and I were at Muir Woods near San Francisco. We stepped out of the car to take a few pictures and left my dog Rio (yellow lab mix) in the car since dogs aren't allowed.

We were near the car as it was getting late and the park was closing. I left my keys on the front seat so we could find them easily.

Rio wasn't happy about not being able to get out and paced from seat to seat. One of his steps into the driver seat hit the key fob and locked him in and us out.

We had no cell signal so I had to walk around to find an emergency lock smith to come open our doors. It took hours for them to get there. It was dark and cold and Rio was frantic. All ended well but a nightmare experience.

Posted by: wags2work | February 2, 2017 11:26 AM    Report this comment

I had a home with an atrium in the center of it when my husband and 2 of my teenage children were living in West Linn, OR. This atrium was fully in cased with windows and had a door leading into its entry. My husband was at work and the kids were off at high school. I at the time had 4 rambunctious boxers that loved to run the course around this atrium like a race track. I happened to be working in the atrium enjoying a beautiful day with the sun shinning down on me and watching periodically the dogs chasing each other around the atrium in my house. They were not allowed to come inside because I did not want them in the water. Now I left the door opened so I could get air flow from the house and it would not be so humid. One thing I should mention there is a lock on this door! Oh YES and they did hit that door while I was in there working and yes they did lock me in that atrium without a key to get out. Some idiot pushed the lock in on the door so it would auto lock and there I was with no way out. I looked up and thought could I throw the hose I had way up onto the roof line and scale myself out of there? Nope the hose was a short one! Wait there is the window over to the right just above the desk in the kitchen area maybe it will open. Nope! No such luck there. I even thought about breaking a window or two. I re-tracked that thought because of the cost. SO I just waited and waited for 2 1/2 hours in that humid atrium while my 4 boxers were looking at me through the glass like I was a idiot for sitting in there. So yes I do have a dog story about being locked in- only it is one where they locked me in. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! The stories I could tell you. I have Great Danes Now.

Posted by: Peanut33 | February 2, 2017 10:41 AM    Report this comment

The very same thing happened to us, so don't feel bad. We had to take our one Gordon setter to the vet for some stitches. We left our other Gordons with my father in law that was visiting. Since he was almost totally blind and in a strange house I did not want him moving around and having an accident. I pulled a chair very close the tv that he was able to see some of the screen. I told him not to let any of the dogs out even though we have a completely fenced back yard. Off we went and got our injured gordon the require stitches. Upon our return my father in law was still sitting where we had put him in the chair. One of dogs was missing, but the other two were accounted for and excited that we had rturned so promptly. We went through the house top to bottom but no Barney. Finally we heard little scratches at the main floor bathroom door. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that since we live in a house built in the 1890's we had the same kind of locks that you have. We could not open the bathroom door. It did have a tall narrow window. Went outside looked in the window and yes, Barney indeed was there. He had managed to go in and jump at the door and push the lock across. Thankfully though the window was not locked. My husband managed to pop the screen off and we were able to reach in and wind the window to the widest allowable. I was going to climb in the window and release the lock on the door. I got my one leg through and my lower body but my upper body would not go through because of my boobs. I tried a number of times but it was not going to work, nohow, no way. My husband got a metal yard stick and thankfully was able to reach in and flick the button enough that it released. Barney as I was so relieved that he was no longer stuck. Immediately we went through the house and put clear goop so that the button mechanism could not be accidently triggered. If it happened in one of our bathrooms upstairs where there is no window we also would have had to kick the door in as you had to. It's lovely living in a heritage home but whoever would have thought that something so freaky as this could happen.

Posted by: Anxious mom | February 2, 2017 10:31 AM    Report this comment

oh yes !! a few years ago, i went to england for a week, leaving my niece to house and pet sit......while gone, there was an unexpected thunderstorm, which my dog was terrified of...it struck while my niece was not at the house. my poor dog, jaimiecakes, a catahoula/ cattle dog mix ran upstairs, somehow getting locked in the bathroom....then paniced !!!...when my niece got home, she found jaimiecakes still in the bathroom, with the bottom quarter of door chewed off and the carpet and flooring underneath, by door, ripped and dug to shreds......luckily, jaimie had not injured herself. the rest could be replaced....she could not !!

Posted by: sugarbooger7 | February 2, 2017 10:24 AM    Report this comment

Growing up we had a Beagle mix who was one smart dog. I taught her to open our screen door which had a lever handle. One day while my mother was home alone she went outside for a minute and Lady tied to open the door to join her, the dog instead managed to slide down the lock on the door, leaving my mother outside without a key ! Needless to say, I never purposely taught that trick to another dog!!

Posted by: All Around Dog | February 2, 2017 10:14 AM    Report this comment

I taught my Pit to open and close doors and drawers...unfortunately, sometimes, the door latches and she can't open it. She is so proud of herself and I did a bad job because she takes this upon herself and almost removes my fingers when I open a drawer.
Also had a shelter dog lock herself in my car with me outside and the keys inside. Fire Dept sent a whole truck and it was quite a dramatic rescue. Lesson learned.

Posted by: defrancosumm@aol.com | February 2, 2017 10:13 AM    Report this comment

My first male German Shepherd routinely locked unlocked doors and unlocked locked ones. I had to always carry my keys when I left the house as to not get locked out. He also flipped gate latches.

Posted by: Rod | February 2, 2017 9:48 AM    Report this comment

Our basenji locks and locks doors all the time

Posted by: Lynnghms | February 2, 2017 9:33 AM    Report this comment

My first male German Shepherd routinely locked unlocked doors and unlocked locked ones. I had to always carry my keys when I left the house as to not get locked out. He also flipped gate latches.

Posted by: Rod | February 2, 2017 9:24 AM    Report this comment

Fortunately I learned early on that my car doors are easily locked by my Boston Terrier. I was in the car when my sister got out and when he stood up with his feet on the rim of the window ledge to look at her, he stepped on the door lock. Since then I have been vigilant about making sure I have a window down or the keys in my hand if I get out of the car with him inside. The scariest time though, was with my previous Boston Terrier. I was driving a short distance home from the beach with the window partially down so he could sniff the air. He leaned forward and somehow managed to pull up on the window control and rolled the window up with his head out. I nearly had a heart attack, but was able to get the window rolled down and he was fine. It took me a little while longer to figure out I was also fine.

Posted by: oceandog63 | February 2, 2017 9:23 AM    Report this comment

I didn't want you to feel alone, and though my story is about a dog letting herself in.... it is the same sort of handle. I have one dog that will not even try to move an obstacle blocking her path, one that will give a little try, if it opens ok, and another that firmly believes that doors are not meant to be closed. Three doors between the basement and the yard, one can open two (they close only a little) one can open none, and Minnie, she can open all three, because the one with a handle is not a knob, it is one of those push down. Often, if I leave them out for a minute, she lets them all back in. So, she would likely slide the lock as well. :)

Posted by: jeschainks | February 2, 2017 9:22 AM    Report this comment

Our bloodhound likes to go into the bathroom to sniff the towels. He often closes the door and cannot get out. Fortunately, he does not lock it. If I have to leave him in the house alone, I always make certain that the bathroom doors are closed.

Posted by: Tracker Barb | February 2, 2017 9:09 AM    Report this comment

My Lab is terrified by lighting. One time I had left her alone with a free run of the house and a sudden storm came up while I was away. On my return I couldn't find her until I looked in the bathroom where the toilet area has a door. She had gone in there to escape the thunder and lightning and closed the door. It wasn't locked but it was tightly closed and since it opened into the toilet area she couldn't push it open. No harm to her but she had scratched all the paint off the bottom part of the door! When I go out now and leave her behind I close all the doors in the house so she can't lock herself in any other room. The bedroom doors are left open but not so that she can enter a room and close the door behind her. Works for me.

Posted by: haribob | February 2, 2017 9:06 AM    Report this comment

My lab locked my truck doors while I was pumping gas. Hot summer day with the windows up. Before cell phones. I had to find a phone booth to call AAA. Agh!!

Posted by: Patricia | February 2, 2017 8:55 AM    Report this comment

Yes some of them have, but I always had a key. The only one that really gave me a hard time was my forst Coonhound Eddie Norkis. There was not a single locked door that could keep him in. We would come home to find him louging out in the yard with the door wide open LOL

Posted by: rmatacch | February 2, 2017 8:50 AM    Report this comment

My mixed shepherd was accidentally locked in my bedroom by my daughter. Unfortunately, the key to the door was in my purse which was also in the room.

I called a locksmith. He used a blood pressure cup and slid it between the door frame and door. He inflated and did something to else and the door opened.

Posted by: Chelle_cook | February 2, 2017 8:47 AM    Report this comment

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