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The Ori Diaries Pt. 2: Nothing Is Safe

Ori is too smart for his own good. Not that he isn't dumb sometimes (potty training issues, helllllooooo!), but at other times it's an issue.

To give one example of something I did not intend to teach him for a very long time, that he learned independently by observing Echo, is how to respond when my mom needs a pop (soda for non-midwesterners). See, Echo was trained to have her bottle coozy clipped to his collar with the empty bottle in it, bring it downstairs to me where I replace the empty with a full, then he's sent back to her where he is paid with his preferred treat. Ori noticed. Ori started following Echo during this particular job. Then Ori became a hazard by grabbing onto the handle of the coozy while Echo was going downstairs. So, we got Ori his own coozy to use. Now, if my mom says, "Echo, I need a pop!" both dogs bound up the stairs, go to sit by her, get clipped, and rush downstairs. (Ori is a little late on the coming downstairs part since he is busy trying to also pick up the coozy hanging from his neck, which makes Echo happy.) Then Echo gets the trade out while Ori sits in the kitchen doorway. As soon as I release Echo, Ori spins around and charges back up the stairs to get paid. None of this was to be learned until I could train Ori to pick things up and bring them to me. (Which he has yet to learn.) Yet, he took it upon himself to get in on this job because it paid so well. (As the new guy/trainee, he's getting minimum wage.)

Now, some of the other fun things Ori has learned on his own is how to overcome any/all barriers in the house except for 2: his crate and the specially made pet gate that is almost never used.

These barriers include a pack-n-play for babies, commonly used as a blockade upstairs to keep my niece from going downstairs without an adult, and an actual baby gate at the bottom of the stairs to keep said niece from going upstairs without an adult. As a fellow toddler, these same barriers kept Ori in check for all of two whole months. That ended as of a couple days ago, but we knew the end was coming when, at the end of March, I stepped over the gate to go upstairs and he launched himself over the gate going up! It was an "oh shit" moment for all of us. Since he hadn't done it since then, I fell into a state of complacency. He was just biding his time.

While I am at work, the pack-n-play is used by my mom to keep Ori upstairs with her so that he can alert when he has to use the bathroom. Well, she's been telling me lately that he learned how to climb into it and lay down. It was all fun and games ... until he learned how to get out.

You see where this is going?

Yup. One day he was blockaded. So he climbed in one side, and jumped right out the other. We stopped using the pack-n-play.

One or two days later, I set up the gate at the bottom to keep him downstairs with me. But Echo was upstairs. He wanted to see Echo.

At first, I just set up the gate but didn't latch it. He mostly stayed with me anyway and never really bothered going upstairs without me. My mistake. He merely knocked it down and over it to then sit on the stairs and look back at me. The expression on his face clearly said, "You thought that would work?"

Following this, I brought him back downstairs and proceeded to latch the gate. Next thing I knew, he was very lazily climbing over it. What I mean by that is that he slowly stretched over it to put his forepaws on a stair, put his claws into the lattice of the gate with one foot, and hoisted his but over. Then he just sat on the stairs and looked at me.

I gave up. Our barriers were exhausted and I could no longer contain him either up or down the stairs without using his crate. Fine.

Then something truly bizarre happened the other night.

I took Ori outside for his final-ish run first (potty training). After I took him back in, I took Echo out to his chain. (Ori refuses to poop while on a cable; Echo refuses to poop while on a leash. Weirdos.) While I was outside, I noticed that Ori's "MOM, YOU LEFT ME!!!!" barks sounded closer. Shining my flashlight at the house, two pricks of light appeared in the bathroom window where the blinds had been lifted a little. Leaving Echo to his business, I started back toward the house. Where I was confronted with this:

Ori in the window on May 2, 2022

That is Ori. In my kitchen window.

Notice, he's not standing on his hind legs, paws in the sill, to look down on me.

No. No, that would be too easy.

Notice his position? He's standing on an elevated surface, looking down on me.

That elevated position is my TRASH CAN.

Ori, upset that he could not see me, chose to leap up onto my trash can's flat lid and watch me through the window.

I couldn't even be mad. Shocked, yes. Angry, no. Like ... WTF??? How did he even realize that was a viable option?

After the surprise faded, it did me the concern. That trash can backs up against my counter which is just to the right of the stove. What if this oversized fool decides to go from trash can to counter next? Then I'd really be angry (which the cat knows all about).

If any of you thought that this was an isolated incident–maybe even hoped for it like I did–I can assure you that all hopes were dashed the following morning when he did this exact same thing for the exact same reason.

He's an asshole. Just like the rest of us in this house.

I can't wait until we empty this trash can. So far, the weight in it stabilized him. But 30lb dog + empty can should hopefully = Ori faceplants on the floor as trash can comes tumbling down.

Wish me luck. Hope you enjoyed his ridiculousness. I'm sure there's more fun times coming.

Ori in the despised harness, May 3, 2022


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