By: Joel Allen
Over a month ago, I was given one of those pet/child metal gates that installs by extending the screws out to the wall. Well, me being me and taking no chances, I reinforced the gate by using a board for each side of the walls with indentions cut for the screws to lock into, and replaced the screws with stouter screws. After installing the gate, I made sure the metal bar at the bottom was high enough for the robot vacuum to pass under but did not realize it would be an issue for my adopted boy, Woodrow.
Nothing terrifies a Great Dane more than an unknown item being placed in the house that all of a sudden bars the way…LOL. Ask Woodrow; he will cry and tell the story of an evil gate that looked to get him when he passed by it. Just because that metal bar might “whack” his shins every now and again when he gets enough courage to cross it, does not make it any easier for him to accept that it will not get him. On top of that, I now have to hear Woodrow cry pathetically when he is at an open gate and thinks he cannot step across the small bar at the bottom. I have to call to him and tell him, “It’s not going to get you.” To which he replies with a look of terror and those pleading eyes, “Daddy, please come get me!” Folks, I also have to go to the gate and step across it to his side and then step back across it to show him it is not going to get him. Only then will he step across it, but very quickly. Poor baby!
Is there anyone out there with a similar problem? Let us talk about gates and what are good and not so good for our families. The basic wooden gate that locks into place by the wooden extenders is okay, but I would not recommend thinking it will stop large dogs unless they have good manners. A dog can easily push open a gate that uses extenders into the side of the wall, unless said extenders bolt into the wall. I have seen smart dogs open gates, too, just by watching how we open them. LOL…don’t be fooled into thinking that safety latch will always work. I have seen a dog actually figure out the latch and open the gate. Sometimes a simple D-ring or carabineer can solve this issue. Yes, duct tape can also suffice, but as tape is always a temporary fix, good luck with that! There are plastic gates that work just as well and are pretty much the same. But with plastic or wood, there is the problem of dogs chewing and destroying the gates. Personally, I would choose a sounder gate and spend either the extra money for a good, American made, metal one or make it myself. I would also ensure that I bolt it into the wall of my home. If they chew that up, then we know that we are in trouble.
The best gates I have seen have been homemade. I have seen where a blacksmith made custom gates and when finished, the gate fit into the home naturally. If money is tight, make your own gates. At Lowe’s Garden Center, I once found garden fence pieces that made great gates in my home with nails for hinges. It all depends on your choice and budget. These gate pieces were metal and at the time I spent $20 each. Though they were hinged using nails, they worked for my Danes. For a while I went gate crazy! I had a gate for my hall, bedroom, kitchen, and my dog door. In fact, I still use these gate pieces in my kitchen and dog door.
Let me caution everyone to please ensure that gates do not have any pieces that stick out which could catch your dogs’ collars and accidentally hang them. Something like that can harm children too; so think about that and look these gates over before installing them. A gate will not stop a climber either, and a dog that can jump over it; so think about that too.
Lastly, I want to tell y’all about a video a friend sent me about a family who put up a gate and their dog just kept jumping it. Anyway, the video shows the dog do this a few times. Finally, someone gets the idea of placing a vacuum cleaner in place of the gate. That’s right, the dog would not jump it…LOL. He just stood there looking at that vacuum and would not cross it. I can’t help but be reminded of my Woodrow when I see this video and just laugh. Be safe everyone and stay healthy.
By: Joel Allen