Our new kitchen range is very nice, stainless with a double oven. Our previous one served us for about 17 years. So we have 17 years of habit, or motor memory. Wonder if old dogs learn new tricks better than humans.

When we chose this range, we were aware that with controls at the front instead of on the rear panel, there were reported risks of dogs jumping onto the range and turning the burners on. This wasn’t optimal, but we otherwise liked this range. Banner wouldn’t jump on the front of the range, and we knew that when another puppy came along, this would require a high level of attention.

This range, like our previous one, is electric with a glass top. It has an additional “warming zone” burner in the center. We knew that we would need to be careful, but not having to reach across a hot burner didn’t seem bad.

Nearly six months later, we are getting better at forming new habits, since the position of the controls is opposite, as well as being on the front. Plus, the controls turn easily, with little of a “click” to secure the knob to its closed position. One new habit, for example, is that when you reach above to clean the microwave, you need to immediately afterward turn off the warming zone burner.

Now I am left to wonder: how many dogs have been maligned as the cause of human error? Also wondering how long it will take for design engineers to develop a more secure remotely located panel. Maybe it is time for fire departments and the NFPA to collaborate with design engineers who work for appliance manufacturers. The number one topic on my list would be a universal arrangement of knobs relative to the burner positions. Next would be a sufficiently deliberate engagement or disengagement of the locked position and the control panel location.

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