This is the saga of dog versus fence. We have an eight foot high deer fence around two sides of our house. It creates a large play area for our dogs.
This fence has a long and humiliating history of dogs outsmarting humans.
Many years ago we had a simple, six-foot tall fence in our backyard. We also had a Pit Bull named Penny who was a clever and determined escape artist. We watched her jump over the fence (it sagged at the top from her weight, so she didn’t have to clear the full six feet). So we hired a neighbor named John to extend and reinforce the fence at the top. Now it was eight feet and wouldn’t sag any more.
Penny was still getting out – greeting us happily as we drove down the driveway. But she was devious. She would never escape while we were watching her. We had to pretend to leave the house, then sneak back in and peek out the kitchen windows, without her seeing us, in order to watch her. Now she was digging under the fence and slipping out through the bottom. John came back and had to nail down the bottom of the fence every few feet. This was becoming a personal feud between John and Penny.
I called John two days later. “Well, John. You managed to hold her off for 48 hours. Want to try for 72?” Now she was chewing her way through. John had to reinforce the entire length of the fence.
A few days later, John was back again. He was getting sick of being outsmarted by our dog. There are two large metal doors at either end of the fence. Penny was using her nose to push the door off its hinges in order to create a Penny sized hole! John fixed the door.
At this point I think we finally managed to contain our wandering dog.
Skip ahead over ten years. We have a new set of dogs, Lexi and Remy. Remy is 45 pounds, and a year and a half old. We’ve had her since she was eight months old. She is a beautiful reddish-brown hound with hazel eyes and a sleek body. Unfortunately, she began channeling Penny.
One day Remy bounded into the house soaking wet, covered in mud and smelling awful. There is no water or mud inside the fenced in yard. We gave her a bath and started watching her closely.
The next day we saw her outside the fenced in area. We called to her and she happily ran right through the fence and bounded up to us. At least she’s not sneaky and secretive, like Penny was. We saw where she breached the fence and went out and plugged the whole with extra deer fencing.
She got out again. This time Tom walked the perimeter of the fence and fixed all the holes he could find. And there were many. The fence is getting old.
A few days later, Tom found Remy at the top of the driveway, coming back from the road. Not good. Now I got out there and managed to find a few more holes in the fence. The holes were small but the plastic is stretchy so we think Remy could manage to squeeze through a relatively small hole.
At this point we realized that our home remedies weren’t cutting it. I called my landscaper and told him we had a dog emergency. He came the next day with metal chicken wire fencing, He reinforced the entire fence and added extra stakes to make the structure sturdier.
Cut to the next day.
I’m watching Remy from the kitchen. She starts pacing back and forth along the fence, sniffing and poking at regular intervals. When she finds what used to be her go to doorway, she starts butting her head against the fencing. Then she starts using her paws to punch at it. Finally she tries to dig under it.
I yelled at her and she came running to me. I hope she has realized that her days of roaming free are over. Otherwise, we’ll be back to trying to outsmart a determined dog with a flimsy fence.