Since Belle was an outdoor dog before I became her owner, she really likes to spend time out-of-doors. We built a nice large pen for her outside using welded wire fencing that connects to metal posts. We built a wooden gate that could swing open and shut with a latch at the top to keep the gate closed.
Most days, I would feed Belle her breakfast and then put her outside in the pen with fresh water and then head to the office. Sometimes I came home for lunch, but not very often. A few weeks after we started putting her outside, I came home at 5 to find my dog waiting for me at the door to the house. Imagine my surprise!
Now, Belle is a relatively small dog, but she’s not that small. I didn’t think she could get underneath any of the narrow spaces where the fencing and ground diverged. But just in case, I used a combination of rebar, some boards, and concrete blocks to close the gaps. She wasn’t digging holes in the dirt, so I knew she wasn’t getting out that way.
The next day I came home to found the dog outside of her pen again! I was thoroughly confused – she’s too short to jump and I thought that I had gotten all of the possible exits closed.
She obviously enjoyed the freedom and was panting and thirsty when I got home. But she doesn’t pay attention to cars when she’s chasing things and has been known to run into the side of a vehicle when loose. So I had to find the way she was escaping from her dog pen to keep her safe.
So, one day over lunch, I put her outside and watched her from a window.
Belle sniffed around her dog pen for a while, but eventually she decided it was time to make the break for freedom. Much to my surprise, she stood on her back legs, wedged herself between the fencepost and gate, and shimmied downwards enough to wedge the opening wide enough for her to push through. This dog is smart!
I ran outside and called her (one of the times she actually came to me!) and put her in the house. Now that I knew how she was escaping, fixing it was no problem. We simply added one more latch to the gate to make sure both the top and bottom were secure. She hasn’t escaped since then.