River’s Issues: escapism

River has started escaping from the yard. We do have a fence. A lovely, five foot fence that we had installed with our dogs in mind. But it doesn’t stop him. Nope. He climbs it.

He might not be designed for the job but this dog gets up that fence like he’s possessed by an evil squirrel. At the top, he balances his body precariously for a second, then tumbles over and lands on the snow. Once on the other side, he’s off running for the hills.

Of course, we’ve tried to stop him. Thinking it was the high level of snow, we chiselled our way through the solid ice base until we hit grass. This took hours of backbreaking work that involved lifting the ice chunks and throwing them out of the yard–and a lot of cursing of dogs in general and akitas in particular.

He still got out.

My lovely husband decided to involve psychology and put ‘mental’ barriers in the form of debris on the snow outside the fence.

He still got out.

We tried training him to stay in the yard with treats…and he still got out.

Our friends suggested an invisible fence, but the idea of shocking him didn’t go well with us. So, instead, we’re going to install a system of metal bars that lean into the yard at a 45 degree angle from the fence. They’re connected by a metal cable and, since that’s further into the yard than the fence, River would have to hang from the cable to get over it. Since he doesn’t have opposable thumbs, we’re hoping this will stop his Houdini act.

It will also make our home look a lot like Alcatraz.

Then there’s the issue of Spring. When it comes and the ground thaws, River will have a new option as his escape plan. Digging.

Maybe we need to consider something else completely…