in which we discover kai is houdini

A new fence, eh? Not so fast!

One minute the dogs are on their side of the fence, barking at a woman walking her dog past the house. The next minute, Kai is playing with the dog, on the street.

Of course Kai completely ignored our calls. Her training is going really well, but it would be too much expect her to come back in these circumstances -- training too new, distraction too interesting. So we have to run in the back door, grab her leash, and run out the front door. By the time we got outside, some of the excitement had worn off, and she came running back.

We called out apologies and explanation ("We didn't know she could do that!"). The woman had very kindly stopped walking so Kai didn't follow her home.

How did she do it? Over or under? We weren't completely sure.

In one area, the wooden fence -- the original fence already around some of the yard -- doesn't completely reach the ground. The ground is depressed, likely where there were once shrubs or plantings, leaving a gap of about six inches. We made plans to chicken-wire the gap.

This morning, I'm having my first cup of coffee while Kai zooms around the yard. A neighbour walks out with her dog, and before I can even think, Kai shoots under the fence and runs at them like a bullet. This person was afraid, which I totally understand! She called out, "Is she nice?" I yelled, "She's super friendly!" I also yelled, "Kai, come!" but she ignored me.

Ran in the backdoor, grabbed the leash, ran out the front door. By this time Kai may have been wondering where I was. I yelled, "Kai, come!" and she turned and ran towards me at full speed. Training is paying off.

(If this ever happens to you, do not yell at or reprimand your dog when you get her back. That teaches her if she comes back, she gets yelled at -- so you are training her not to come back.)

And now for that chicken wire. She can't be loose in the yard until that gap is closed.

So far she does not seem to be a jumper. So we think if we plug the gap on the bottom of the fence, we can contain her. But if she wanted to jump over the fence, she easily could.


Jay Farquharson said...

You might want to only use the chicken wire only until you can fit and screw in a board to fill the gap.

Kai might not see the chicken wire, or worse yet, dig it out or bust through it, and chicken wite can cut badly and entangle.

If Kai takes to jumping, a thin stong rope, ( braided dacron) strung on extensions to the fence post, about 12” -18” above the fence, will teach her not to try to jump the fence. The reason why is she will only jump as high as she needs to to clear the top of the fence, but won’t recognize the rope as the new top of the fence.

You could also put up a sign,

If you are walking your dog,
Come say Hi!
To Kai.

Amy said...

Oh dear! I hope you can figure out a way to confine her so she is safe.

Stephanie said...

So sorry you are going through this. If he could Lucas would do the same.

impudent strumpet said...

Intellectually, I understand that this is an inconvenience, and I hope you can figure out how to keep everyone safe without too much more inconvenience.

Emotionally, I'm so proud of Kai for outsmarting her humans!!!

laura k said...

Thanks for the tips, Jay. We ended up buying hardware mesh, which is much denser and more visible than chicken wire. Kai sees it already. She shows no sign of being a digger, even in the fun wet sand at the beach. (Yesterday! Storey's Beach! So fun!)

We also used some of this hardware mesh to block off the space between the deck and the ground. She has been wriggling under the deck! Who knows what's down there -- definitely not safe.

Honestly, this is no biggie. It was scary watching her run off! And I don't want our neighbours to hate us, especially since we rent. But we figured out what to buy, found it locally, and installed it fairly quickly.

Imp, part of me feels the same way. Smart dogs are always more challenging. Although I have loved all my dogs with my whole heart and soul, my favourites have been the ones that were so smart they drove me crazy. (This does not include Buster, a special case.)

Kai is learning so fast! We find it's much easier when bringing in a new dog to an established situation. They learn from their canine packmate what's expected of them.

allan said...

I saw her go the first time. She zipped under the fence. And quickly!

Pretty sure the yard is sealed off. (As long as she is not a jumper! Then we'll have to construct 15-foot walls around the property!)

impudent strumpet said...

There once was a doggie named Kai
Who looked at the fence and thought, "I
will dig underneath
with my paws and my teeth
and run out to greet passers-by!"

laura k said...

This is AWESOME. Thank you!