Operation Stop-the-Damned-Dog-Jumping-the-Fence



The Issue

We got our dog, Honey Doughnut, 2 years or so ago. She was only 6 kg and the size of an aubergine then, but in readiness for whatever-she-may-become (breed unspecified!) I enclosed the back garden by building a couple of fences. Below is the diagram I sent to the landlord to get his okay. The fence was made from palings that are 1.8m long. So – a 1.8m high fence.

Image sent to landlord. In hindsight, I could have just said ‘Can I build a fence’.

The dog has grown quite a bit, but she’s still a medium-sized dog (around 25kg). I was reasonably confident she was not going to bounding over the fence…

…until she did….and again…and again.

Why Run?

There are of course questions of why she is trying to ‘get out’. I know its sounds narcissistic – but I think she just misses us, Zoe and me and whoever else who hangs out with, and has a serious condition of FOMO paired with doggie ADD. When she does get out, she doesn’t go on some adventure, she tries to find us – at the neighbours, in the car (if it there) or wherever she reckons we might be hiding.

…but the more pressing concern was stopping her getting out:

‘Roaming’ + dogs_that_look_like_Honey = Bad news for dogs_that_look_like_Honey

The Solution(s)

Anyhow, here are 3 (stroke 4) solutions for anyone with a similar issue. Testing still in progress (plus she has not fully exploited her interest in digging 😉 ):

The Big Fence

Chain link: You can imagine a Velociraptor poking its head out around the tree.

The obvious one: Add height with chain-link. I put this up on the existing back fence, which is not that visible to anyone who’d care.

  • It was not cheap; chain link fence is pricey.
  • It was a pain to put up.
  • It makes your garden feel like the Pterodactyl enclosure in Jurassic Park III.
  • But, it’s kind of tidy looking in its lightness and consistency.

This was the first solution I put up, and like the Maginot Line, the dog just ‘went round it’ where I had not extended the fence. Doh!

FAIL! 

I read also (today actually) that you need a building consent for a fence more than 2.5m high. This panicked me and I went outside and measured it. Less than 2.5m but a hair’s breadth!


The Overhang

Phased by the price of the chain link I sought cheaper alternatives. The remaining lengths of fence, which are the ones I installed to close off the garden, face the road and passers-by. Since I didn’t want to be accused of turning St Heliers into a ghetto – we are already labeled with the derogative ‘renters’ label – I sought alternative solutions. Plus, these short lengths of fence had access-doors.

The Overhang. The trellis is weak armour. A couple of blows from Honey’s battering ram of a head and Troy would fall with no wooden horses needed.

The Overhang was my second solution, addressing the Honey’s method of scrambling over the fence. She hooks her front legs on the top then goes all Road Runner with her hind legs.

The first version of this did not have the additional solid horizontal palings in the photo, nor the roller (see below) – it just had the trellis (which, in hindsight, wasn’t that much cheaper than chain link and looks shit). At first opportunity, the dog demo’ed the trellis. Its made of crappy thin slats held together by staples – child’s play for a dog who can destroy a ‘super-tough’ tennis ball in about 10 seconds. Zoe and I actually pretended to go out to watch the dog in action. It was like a mini tornado hit the fence – splinters of trellis flying everywhere. Then a head appeared. She did not breach the fence, but given time she would have done.

FAIL! 


Rollers

This is it. Built from and some heavy duty plastic drainage pipe and timber from a large palette. It’s not that pretty but it was FREE and it’s concealed behind the fence, so that’s okay. The dog just does not know where to start with these. It’s like watching a fat kid do Ninja Warrior.

WIN (with caveats, see below – the Achilles Heel)

Rollers (2)

WIN

The Achilles Heel

The neighbour (one of five) commented (perhaps passive-aggressively – he is not a ‘renter’) that the garden looks like Fort Knox.  Disappointing, since I thought I’d done an okay job of not making it look like we were trying to contain some sort of wild animal.

The defences have been tried and tested and Honey has not gone AWOL. However, I am aware of an Achilles Heel. And, I am worried that her little satsuma sized brain plus time, plus unrelenting trial-and-error (mostly the second two – sorry dog, we have to be honest) may find and exploit this weakness.

We shall see.