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Pet People

Monday, April 02, 2007

PLEASE Fence Me In!

I was talking to a coworker the other night, Jake, who has two young lab mixes. He mentioned one of them was an escape artist, pushing under their chain-link fence at times to roam the neighborhood.

I can well identify with escape artists. Our first problem was with our first dog, Tramp, the black one seen in the picture. The Boss had put in the backyard fence gate sideways, so it was wide enough to allow the riding mower to enter. However, that made the gate shorter and Tramp, when young and spry, was able to jump over. So The Boss added some chain link to the top of the fence to prevent this, as you can see from the picture. Didn't look pretty, but did the job.

Penny, the beagle, was an under-the-fence escapee. Like many who put in chain link, we didn't put in a bottom rail, which allows a dog to dig and push the chain -link out. The Boss was like Bill Murray in Caddy Shack, trying to outfox the gophers. Penny would go down to the nearby creek, get covered in ticks and fishy-smelling water. Twice she got snake bit, once on her leg and tongue, another time on her ear, all of which swelled up and looked horrible. The vet thought a copper head, poisonous, but not a high-level of poison like some other venomous snakes.

At first we put a big rock on the outside of the area where she escaped, but she just opened another area. We tried tent stakes, but that didn't work either. We finally got huge 4x4 posts and laid them on the outside of the fence, which worked--except in the places where things didn't quite meet. To this we added huge staple-like things every few inches to hold the chain link into the ground.

When Scooter arrived, he didn't jump over the gate like Tramp did, as the extra chain link prevented that. But he kept getting out and we couldn't figure it out. One day, I put him out and watched through the window. What he did was push over the SIDE of the chain link on the top of the gate and squeezed through as he went up and over. The Boss had to buy a new, higher gate. Yes, we understand escape artists.

We also added new steps to the deck, with a retaining wall on the bottom to one side, as it's on a bit of a hill. But the lizards love to crawl around and hide in the stones, so Scooter has dug holes all around the area. It looks like crap, so now we're going to re do the area. It's always a battle! As I said before, I'd love a courtyard! No mud, no digging, no constant work cleaning up after Scooter's digging expeditions!

So, any problems in this area for you?

posted by Sandy at 4/02/2007 09:16:00 AM


Blogger jdt said...

We have a master escape artist at our house. Abby, the oldest pom (she is 6), has been an escape artist since I brought her home. We she was six weeks old, I first kept her in a playpen, but not two weeks after she was home with me, I caught her trying to climp up the side by getting her nails into the mesh of the playpen. So she was moved to a crate, needless to say, she did not handle crate life well. She would screech the entire time she was in the crate and constantly pee and poop all over. I soon gave up on the crate idea, it stressed her out too much. Her next area was the kitchen of the apartment I lived in. I put a baby gate up that was about waist high. Before she was 6 months old, I caught her climbing it. Yes climbing, not jumping, she goes up it just like a ladder and hops over. So then I took big pieces of cardboard and put them against the gate so she couldn't actually climb it. She would just tear the cardboard off. At the same time this was all going on, she also continued to pee and poop all over the kitchen. I admit, I was defeated. I just started giving her full run of the apartment when I wasn't home. It worked, she quit peeing inside after that. I guess she didn't like to be confined.

When I moved into my old house in Clarksville, it was the first time I had a fenced in yard. We had a huge chain linked fence. I would let the dogs out to play and not think much about them escaping. I had checked the entire fence line several times. One summer around the 4th of July some people who lived behind us, set off fireworks. I went to let the dogs in when I heard, and Abby was no where to be found. I searched the neighborhood until 2:00am and gave up til morning. I cried all night and figured I would never see her again. At 6:00am I went looking again and found her about a mile down the road. I was so relieved. I never really knew how she escaped. I started keeping a closer eye on her. I finally caught her climbing the chain link fence just like a ladder. Over the next year we tried everything to block the fence, but she always found a way over it. We eventually rigged a tie out for her that allowed her to get to the back door and out to the middle of the yard, but not to the fence to climb. I hated though, because she couldn't run freely and play with the other dogs.

We bought a new house back in December, we keep a close eye on Abby now, but this chain link fence is taller, and she doesn't seem to want to escape at the new house like she used to. We plan on putting a wooden privacy fence up, so we really don't have to worry. We just have to save up first, they are really expensive...

Monday, April 02, 2007 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

Soon after moving into our house, we found two huge basset hounds walking down our driveway. It was strange because our house sits way off the road so it was as if they knew us or had been here before and were coming for a visit! We were headed out to town to run errands and I would not leave until we found the dogs owners. They had collars on and a phone number. We tried to no avail to reach the owners. I would not leave them due to the ones age. He was old and so tired that after he had a drink of water, he fell asleep on our door matt! The younger dog seemed to be taking care of the older dog which had bleeding feet! It was such a sweet and kind thing to witness. Postponing our trip to town and a few hours later, we finally got the homeowners on the phone. They knew the dogs were missing and had been looking for them. When they came to pick them up, the dogs entire mannerism changed. They hung their heads low and those eyes told the story. This was not the first time they had done this and they were in trouble… The owners said that they have 70 acres of fenced in land but the dogs still dig their way out and run away. With all the wild animals in the area, I am sure they got on the scent of a rabbit or some other animal and their natural instinct took over. Come to find out the dogs were about 5 miles from home and with those short legs and the ones age, I have no idea how they got to our house. But I was glad they came to visit us as we made sure they got home safely. Who knows what someone else might have done to the dogs…

Monday, April 02, 2007 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger Alice said...

When we were negotiating to buy this house, one of the things we wanted was a totally fenced back yard. This yard had fence on 3 sides as one of the runs of fence had fallen down. The seller agreed and had the side fence replaced and a corner where two separate fences didn't quite meet. He said it cost over $2,000. But we bought the house and we haven't had any problems with the dog children escaping. Larry, the senior cat goes under the fence at the gate and perches on the garbage can to watch the world go by. He doesn't seem to wander far and I haven't really seen any loose dogs about. There seems to be a lot of older people in this neighborhood and the pets seem well-cared for, which makes me happy. I have seen walkers with HUGE pit bulls... but they seem under control and don't bark at me when I take the garbage out. So far so good... fingers crossed!

Monday, April 02, 2007 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

We used to have 3 golden retrievers that were the best escape artists I have ever known. We had a chain link fence and the Goldie’s figured out how to flip the gate latch. We ended up putting a chain with a leash latch on the end. Every time we went in or out we had to remember to chain the gate. One time they all took off and our female was pregnant and due any day. My mother freaked out. She was so sure that she would have the puppies in the woods and we would never find them. She finally came home on her own. I took use almost a week to find the other 2. They ended up at my grandmother’s house about 5 or 6 miles from us. They had bloody paws and raw noses.

Later they figured out how to jump over the back fence off the deck. That's how we lost one. She was a puppy from our first litter and was about 8 months old when her mommy showed her how to escape and she got hit by a car.

We ended up sectioning off the yard to keep them contained. We thought we had it all fixed until our oldest male started climbing the gate. So we bought a "No Jump" harness. It worked until one day he somehow was able to climb the gate, but as her went over the harness caught on the top of the gate and hung him up side down. he wasn't hurt, just shook up. When I think about it now, it makes me laugh picturing this big dog hanging there swinging his legs trying to reach the ground. I know it's sad, but it's funny too.

Missy, my mom's mutt, used to climb trees to get out of the yard. I swear she had springs on her feet. She was about 40 pounds and looked just like Sandy's Peanut. She could clear a 6 foot fence. Mom had the hardest time keeping her in anything, the yard or a car. She even went out the sun roof inthe car in a Best Buy parking lot. Some guy picked her up and took her home. He called the number on her collar and mom went and picked her up. I'm thinking we have a way of just finding the dogs that are temperamental. I like to think its just training for the day that we have 2 legged children. By then nothing will be a surprise!

Monday, April 02, 2007 1:32:00 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

Wow! After reading all this I am glad I don't have another dog now and that our cats are indise only! I would freak out so bad if one took off! I used to freak when my girls hid in the house and I knew a door hadn't been open. I still thught they must have found a way to get out. I swear they ahve some secret way of hiding and secret hiding places because they will come our from seemingly nowhere after I have scoured every inch of the house!

Monday, April 02, 2007 4:07:00 PM  
Blogger Sandy said...

Wow is right! I don't feel so bad, and I am going to tell The Boss to read some of these stories, as he seems to think he's the only one with a pain in the a@$ He should be the Martyr, not The Boss, but I believe one of you all already took that name for your Boss!

What adventurers they are! When Scooter got out, he'd never go any where that we knew about. We'd come driving home, and there he was lying in the front of the house, usually covered head to toe in dirt or mud.

Now if only I could get him to dig a hole where I wanted,he could earn his keep and help with the planting of trees and shrubs. :)

Monday, April 02, 2007 6:53:00 PM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

The Saint took Kie (the warrior dog) back home for the second time in 10 minutes tonight! Kie is the neighbors Rhodesian ridgeback that comes to visit. He is a big puppy (less then a year old) with huge paws and lots of energy. I have asked them to start keeping him out of our yard because I have planted flowers and I do not want him digging them up with his running around like a mad dog! Not to mention hiking that leg up on them. His escape is pretty easy though, the 7 kids forget to close the gate and daddy never finished fencing in the back yard. So it does not take a real escape artist to figure that one out! Don’t know what to do if this continues… Arggggg… Any suggestions?

What is so bad is one of the kids tells me they want to get a girl doggie for Kie to marry so they can have puppies so they can sell them and make money. Arggggg... They cannot even keep this one dog in the yard much less two… It is going to be a long summer if they do not get a grip on that dog…. I like him just do not want him in the yard unsupervised….

Monday, April 02, 2007 7:25:00 PM  
Blogger dragon said...

Bud, the English setter I had several years ago, was a fence climber. We had a fenced back yard where he should stay. For the most part Bud would stay in the back yard or in the house. When the notion came upon him he could climb the fence like a stepladder. I did try different things to keep Bud in the fence, but nothing worked. The top of the fence, the wires was twisted together with the points sticking up. Each time he went over the fence I was worried that he would leave part of himself on the fence.
One time I took Bud out hunting and we had a shaky barbwire fence to go over. For some reason, can’t think of why, I thought I would help him. That was a big mistake. Bud finally made it over but I ended up hung up in the fence. Never do that again.
The puppies we have now stay in the back yard. A few years ago one of them would get out. He is too old to do so now.

Monday, April 02, 2007 10:01:00 PM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

Dragon, I cannot believe you said the "H" word!!!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007 8:20:00 AM  
Blogger Stacey said...

Down, Skeeter. Dragon told us all about Bud back on our hunting blog, remember?? You have a hunting dog, you take them hunting. That's what they live to do.

I have had a couple of escapes that baffled me, and that is the biggest reason that the dogs stay in the house when we aren't home, regardless of how nice the weather is. I live on an extremely busy state road, and I shudder at the thought of my babies out on it.

Poor Sweetie spent hours in the dark walking and driving streets near our house once looking for Reb. I stayed close to home in case he came back--which he did, covered in mud. Have no idea where he went, how he got out, or why he left. Dixie, my other dog at the time, was also outside the fence, but still there at the house. I can't imagine why he would have gone off without her. I would say chasing something, but Dixie was the chaser in the family, not Reb.

Times like that really make me wish they could talk. They have never tried to get out when we are home and they are in the yard. Strange.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007 9:36:00 AM  
Blogger Sandy said...

I have no problem with hunting dogs, as they are just doing what they were bred and taught to do. Retrievers to retrieve, pointers to point, terriers to root out underground varmits. Back in the day when humans HAD to hunt for survival and had no time for "sporting" events, they needed dogs to help, as they helped herding and guarding flock, too.

Yes, I admire the dogs and all the work they do. Man got the much better baragain in the dog and man best friend scenario.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

I was only joking with Dragon about the “h” word. After the heck some gave him, I was surprised he brought it up again...

Anyway, talking about herding dogs reminds me of another funny.
One quiet Sunday morning as I was reading the newspaper in the sun room, I started to hear dogs barking. The Saint was in the living room doing what he does best, lying on his butt watching TV. I kept hearing the dogs and I yelled at the Saint, “What do you think those dogs are barking at”? Then it hit me, who the heck “are” those dogs that are barking? I jumped up and trotted passed the Saint (which is oblivious to anything) and to the front porch. I could not believe my eyes! Five herding type dogs had a longhorn cow on the run in our yard! When I yelled a cow is in the yard! The Saint first asked what was I drinking then he got off his butt in a hurry to see for himself. I had to run and grab the camera to snap a picture of that as I knew no one would believe me. By the time I got back to the porch, some cowboys on horses with lassoes were in the yard also! We had a real Texas round-up going on in our yard! It was funny as heck. I was impressed at the way the dogs were working the cow trying to corner it. The dogs were working that cow better then the cowboys! The dogs chased it up the street and then a truck with a cattle wagon went by. The cowboys and dogs soon had the cow back in custody. Seems the cow had escaped from a pasture up the road. We were new to the neighborhood and I was wondering just what kind of place had we moved to!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007 1:31:00 PM  
Blogger dragon said...

Stacey, I'm glad you got my back. Yes Skeeter, I know that you were joking with the "H" word trying to instigate an attack toward the Dragon. I actually put it out there to see if I would get some comments, but no one took it and ran with it. I was looking forward to the lively and heated discussion.

Thursday, April 05, 2007 9:03:00 PM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

Bad Dragon!!!
Now, go back to your corner in the castle because no one wanted to play with you...

Friday, April 06, 2007 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

Ops forgot to say this...
I was surprised that no cats pounced on the Dragon..

Friday, April 06, 2007 11:20:00 AM  

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Pet People

Sandy Britt, an animal welfare advocate and volunteer with Clarksville rescue organizations, takes care of three dogs: Zoe, Scooter and Peanut; two cats: Catfish and Tarzan; and one husband, Glen, and according to him she takes care of them in that order.

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