Something happened yesterday and it made me think that I should share it with the world.  For the first time in nearly four years of business, a gate was open at a customer’s house while we were watching their dogs.
Yesterday evening we got a message from our customer that a neighbor noticed their gate open.  Luckily, all dogs were accounted for, but what if they hadn’t been?  This is terrifying for an out-of-town pet owner, and trust me, also for their pet sitter!

I don’t know about where you live, but if you are in Savannah with us – you have probably had an experience where your gate didn’t do justice keeping your pet in.

For the first two years we had Savannah, she got out all of the time.  Why?  There was a string of neighborhood kids that would go gate to gate in the ally and open every single one of them.  What?! Yes!  It actually happens on a regular basis in our neighborhood.

Other common issues in Savannah?

The window blows open the gates – crazy, I know! They are PVC/plastic so they aren’t very sturdy. The ground shifts and the gates no longer latch well, so a little shaking from your pup can open it right on up.

Dogs go under – not all the PVC fences reach the ground, a lot of our customers and neighbors have discovered just enough room for their small breed pups to squeeze right under.

Dogs go in between the gate and the fence – the fence builders didn’t quite think things through. In our fence, there is about a 6″ gap between the fence post and the wall of our house. Super simple for small and some medium breeds to squeeze through.

Dogs go through – PVC/Plastic doesn’t stand up to a 60/70lb dog bouncing against it day after day. Or charging at it. Or playing and slamming against it.

We get a lot of neighborhood pets that go THROUGH their fence. This happened just last week when our yard guy was charged by a neighbor dog.

Dogs go over – our fences stand just 5′ tall. Some yards inside only have a 4 1/2′ clearance because the inside of the yard is built up higher than the outside of the yard. A LOT of dogs can clear 4 1/2 – 5′. They get out – A Lot.

So what do you do as a pet owner?

PictureAdding a keyed or coded lock onto your gate keeps your gate secure from people, wind or lucky paws.

Lock your gates. The BEST way to secure your pets inside your fence is to lock your gates. This keeps neighborhood kids from opening it because it’s funny. It keeps your dog from jumping up and hitting the latch just right. It prevents the wind from blowing the gate open.

Check your gate/fence regularly. Make sure to check for eroding ground that has left room for your pet to escape. Check for holes, loose slats and broken slats.

If you have a dog that tends to charge your fence, bounce against your fence or dig, think about building a secondary fence. This can be as simple as chicken wire or as reinforced as a literal, second fence.

If your pet jumps and can use the fence to launch itself over – or if your dog clears the fence – consider some options for keeping your pet from going over.

Reinforce your fence. If your dog has gone THROUGH your fence before – consider adding extra reinforcement. In Savannah, on the PVC fences, that might mean screws in the bottom and top of each fencing slat.

We aren’t quite sure how the gate got open at our customer’s house yesterday, and thank goodness all pets were safe. What a great reminder that as pet owners and pet sitters – a fenced in yard is not always super safe and secure.

Adding a barrier like this can keep dogs from jumping over a fence. It also generally doesn’t raise any red flags with HOAs since it is INSIDE your fenced yard and not visible from outside.