For those that have been following along, the obvious question after last week’s post about Baxter’s baking attempt is why was the dog in the house instead of the dog run? Wasn’t your plan to let him stay outside when you’re not home?
Well, that was the plan, but you may have heard the saying about the best laid plans…
The dog run was not a hit.
We started slowly in the summer, trying to have Baxter spend just a few minutes in the run.
The first time he didn’t even make it a minute. It turned out the gap between the gate and the fence was big enough, and our dog is strong enough that he could push his way out.
I adjusted the hinge, tightened up the screws and closed the gap.
It didn’t work. Bax braced his shoulders and still pushed his way out.
Plan B was a second latch at the bottom of the gate. The result of that was a tunnel.
Look at the happy dog, free at last.
Plan C was a mesh base that Matt and his Dad wired to the fencing along the perimeter of the run.
I buried the mesh in dirt and then covered it all with a layer of wood chips. The result of that was more excavation and another demonstration of Baxter’s strength–this time in his teeth. Look at how he tore the mesh.
Moving on now to plan D. I added patio slabs over the mesh in front of the gate where Baxter most liked to dig.
This worked for a little while and we managed to make it up to about 3 hours in the run at a time.
But as we headed into the fall, neither of Matt nor I was really comfortable leaving Baxter alone in the run all day when we weren’t there. He loves being outside, sniffing all of the smells and watching all of the birds and animals, but he hated the run. We weren’t confident that he’d still be in there when we came home at the end of the day, and, most importantly, we didn’t want to stress him out all day.
We tried leaving him alone in the house, and he seemed to do okay, so we decided to go with that plan.
We did revisit the run on the Day of the Skunk. I’d given him a bath and kept him on his long leash outside all morning, but I had to come up with a better solution when I couldn’t put off going in to work any longer. I chose the run. I took the long leash and snapped it onto the fence just in case, gave him his kong full of kibble and a big dish of water, latched the gate and drove away.
I came home to definitive evidence that the run was a big fat #fail. The mesh was completely torn, the fencing was bent, the rocks that I’d used to fill previous holes were exposed and a new tunnel was dug.
Because of the long leash, the dog was still in the run, but we decided it was for the last time.
Now, Baxter is completely an indoor dog. He spends most of his time snuggled in his bed.
Although he does occasionally take advantage of being home alone to bend the rules.
We haven’t tried a crate, and our fingers are crossed that Baxter continues to do okay on his own in the house. If his baking urges return, we do have a separate mudroom where he could spend the day.
Does anyone else have an escape artist dog?