Dodger has been doing very well staying in the yard, but the past couple of days he’s been getting out in the morning. I’ve done perimeter checks and carefully investigated the fence line and I absolutely could not find out where he was getting out.
While some people might consider this mean, for his own safety (and my sanity), I leashed him to a plastic milk crate. It’s light enough for him to drag around easily yet bulky and strong enough so that if he tried squeezing throw some gap in the fence or whatever it was he was doing, the crate would get stuck and when I checked in the morning I could see where he was escaping.
Well, this morning I was awakened prematurely by barking and yiping. I figured I caught myself a Dodger and went outside to investigate. Turns out my trick worked, and the crate prevented him from getting away. What I saw, though, made me realize that I had been concentrating too much on investigating the perimeter along the ground and not the up higher…
There’s about an 8 foot area where our back yard shares the property line with a particular neighboring property. This neighbor has a dog with which Dodger has shared many of his toys with, which means no toys for Dodger and me having to get new toys (less trouble than getting them back from over the fence). To prevent this sharing I barricaded that portion of the fence line with pallets. This ‘padding’ prevented Dodger from nosing close enough to the fence itself to give toys that the other dog could pull through the fence to his side.
Over time I’ve ‘upgraded’ and added to this barricade for different reasons. For example, recently when the neighbors got an additional dog, a small dog, all three met at the barricade and barked at each other. This usually happened very early in the morning and it’s literally right outside our bedroom. Dodger and the other dog never barked at each other before, but the new little one caused them all to start barking. They could see each other through the gaps in the pallets, so I added more stuff and more pallets to block any see-through spots. I guess it worked because I rarely hear them bark at each other now.
So back to this morning. I went out to see how he was getting out and I find him perched atop the fence/pallet barrier, with the crate on the ground and the chain just long enough to let him get up there but not long enough to let him jump down on the other side. I realize that one thought is that he could have climbed over a fence and choked himself, but without going into details you’d just have to trust me when I say that such a thing is quite unlikely with the way things are set up and how the fence(s) are situated.
Anyway… now he’s climbing over fences. Great. Well the way the pallets were situated they gave him somewhat of a ladder to climb, so I changed things around a bit and added some stuff that he can’t climb. I made the barrier more vertical and less “leaning” and added a couple of aluminum metal siding panels (or whatever they are) to the barrier so he has nothing to ‘grab’ or ‘step on’ to climb up.
I’d like to hope he doesn’t find a way out again, but from what I’ve experienced, there’s really little hope of that. He’s always found a way out. It’s extra embarrassing when neighbors or other people come to my door and tell me the dog’s been out running around on the streets. I’m sure it makes me look like a very irresponsible pet owner, but honestly what can I do? No matter what measures I’ve taken, he always finds a way to escape the yard.