I entered the lockup through the sallyport doors and got a report from the warden of the day.
“All present and accounted for, sir,” said my relieved wife, wiping a cold sweat from her brow.
We’d been through several weeks of pure hell trying to keep our youngest dog Ranger on the property. It was the first full day without a jailbreak and I was proud of myself.
Outwitting a 3-year-old adoption shelter refugee might be small potatoes for Dog Whisperer Cesar Milan but this beast took us to the mat.
One day I would come home with the dog running the neighborhood and my wife crying that he must not love her. The next morning she was plotting to glue thumb tacks onto the fence where he was climbing out.
It all started when I restricted him to the back yard by closing the dog door while I carried something in through the front door. His cellmate Flint got by me out the front door and gleefully barked his independence. He vaulted the 6-foot wood fence, and joined him.
I went on the first of numerous doggie roundups, each having to become more devious than the next in order to capture the wayward pooch. I thought briefly about a doggie-cam so I would always be one step ahead of him. Then I thought about the alarm my wife would exhibit when she found herself looking up the backside of the neighbor’s cat.
Toward the end, if he was out I just jumped into the car and drove down the street. He would give chase from whatever yard he was visiting and I would make the block at a speed that was calibrated to full dog gallop.
By the time we hit the driveway my air conditioner would be working good but his tongue would be lolled out longer than my arm. He was ready to go inside for a drink and a dog nap.
I tried psychology first. Catch him in the act of going over and correct him verbally. He would run the fence constantly while my wife or I was out there but never tried to go over while we were watching. Go in to refill your tea glass though and he was gone before you had the ice in your glass.
Next I chained him out in the back yard every time he jumped out. Solitary confinement was nothing to our own Cool Hand Luke.
Shutting the dog door with the little guillotine door only inspired him to learn how to nose that thing up. Taking the dog door out only made the old dog a nervous wreck.
I schemed about wiring up one of those sentry eye-beam lights to some type of audio device that would blast out my voice in a loud “NO, NO, bad dog,” when he broke the beam. My wife pointed out that the neighbor’s kids might find that more alarming than simply having a big black dog peering over the fence at them.
Finally I landed on what I like to refer to as the Alamo solution. Make the fence higher by wiring sticks upright to the top of the pickets on the fence and then stringing wire between them. Yeah it looks just like it sounds, but finally, after I added a second run of wire I seem to have him contained.
If he gets over that, the next step is razor wire and a moat with alligators.