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My husband and I just adopted Lily, a beautiful 2-year-old golden retriever mix from our local shelter. She's insanely sweet and calm--no jumping, no barking ever--but we are having major problems with her making escape attempts from the yard when we aren't looking.

When we ARE there, she will stay inside the gate as told (and even when not told). The problem is at night. She's a lazy puppy during the day, but midnight, she's ready to play fetch and starts roaming the yard. After her first escape (her first night with us), we found the area where she had actually dug around the drainage pipe and crawled out under the fence. We filled it in and blocked it up, but our little Houdini has found other ways to get out of this seemingly secure area. (She's pretty skinny from the shelter, so we think she squeezed between the space between the gate and the fence where it closes. Go figure. Looks like we've adopted a little contortionist pup.)

We learned from the shelter that she was a neighborhood dog. She would roam the area and everyone would help take care of her, feed her, etc. So it's in her training to roam. She has PLENTY of room in the yard--we have several lots, all fenced--and my husband and I play with her all day. But at night, when we have to sleep, she gets bored and curious, and her old nature kicks in.

Besides totally tuckering her out so she sleeps all night and gets her schedule on track ;), do you please have any advice about how to train her to not escape when we aren't there??

Thank you all!
 

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Can she be kept inside at night? A laundry room is a possiblity or you could get a large crate (42-48 in.) and let her sleep in your room. As a pack animal, dogs like to be with their peeps. When lonely, they go looking for company!
 

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Can she be kept inside at night? A laundry room is a possiblity or you could get a large crate (42-48 in.) and let her sleep in your room. As a pack animal, dogs like to be with their peeps. When lonely, they go looking for company!
Trust me. We tried the laundry room. She looks at us like 'yes, this is a great room. But when can I go back to the porch?' As soon as we turn away, she's right back on the porch where she lays in front the front door and 'guards' it. (She just waits to be petted from anyone that comes near her, so I have NO idea what she thinks she's guarding. :D). We have a little house for her so no worries, she's safe and taken care of (and much-loved), but really, the issue is her pre-adoption/previously allowed habit of roaming when we're not looking that's the issue--not just the nighttime when she has the chance to finally act on that habit. If that makes sense.
 

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I am now on my second escape artist. Please do not leave this dog outside alone at night. She can escape, be stolen, run into a wild animal (raccoons regularly kill 100 lb dogs), and/or eat something poisonous.

When she is outside, keep her on a leash. You can buy 25 or 50 feet lines.

Also, get her microchipped and keep a tag on her. It seems obvious, but I find escapees all the time and they have collars, but no tags every time.
 

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IF you must keep her outside at night, she needs a secure kennel. 6 ft tall with a roof or a sunshade covering set on a no-dig material (concrete like a patio or you can bury chicken wire underground so if she digs, she can't dig out under the fence. The kennel should be locked.

She can escape, be stolen, run into a wild animal (raccoons regularly kill 100 lb dogs), and/or eat something poisonous.
Yep. Given that you already know she can escape and wants to escape, her "risk factor" is even higher than average being outside alone at night.

Really though, I bet she'd love to be inside at night once she gets used to it. If she was previously kept outside, she is just going towards what feels normal to her. But given a little time of spending time with you all in the house in the evening and then having a nice climate controlled and secure place to sleep indoors and that will be the new normal. Having her happy to be inside will also be very helpful when the weather is bad. Right now it is pretty good weather in most of the US but by August it will be dangerously hot outside during the day and in the winter in much of the US it will be dangerously cold at night. Add in lightening storms, hail storms and other severe weather risks and even if she spends occasional nights on the porch or in a kennel outside, being comfortable and trained for inside is important.
 

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IF you must keep her outside at night, she needs a secure kennel. 6 ft tall with a roof or a sunshade covering set on a no-dig material (concrete like a patio or you can bury chicken wire underground so if she digs, she can't dig out under the fence. The kennel should be locked.


Yep. Given that you already know she can escape and wants to escape, her "risk factor" is even higher than average being outside alone at night.

Really though, I bet she'd love to be inside at night once she gets used to it. If she was previously kept outside, she is just going towards what feels normal to her. But given a little time of spending time with you all in the house in the evening and then having a nice climate controlled and secure place to sleep indoors and that will be the new normal. Having her happy to be inside will also be very helpful when the weather is bad. Right now it is pretty good weather in most of the US but by August it will be dangerously hot outside during the day and in the winter in much of the US it will be dangerously cold at night. Add in lightening storms, hail storms and other severe weather risks and even if she spends occasional nights on the porch or in a kennel outside, being comfortable and trained for inside is important.
Agree.

I have found the Retriever mixes I have fostered have been the best at finding ways out of the yard. Don't know why.
 

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If you leave Lily outside, you either need to better secure the fence or put up an invisible fence, inside the fence, so she can't dig out. If you get an invisible fence, get one that beeps before it shocks. Altho Goldens are tough with respect to weather and pain, they are very sensitive to punishment. SO if you use a conventional invisible fence with a shock collar, teaching her never to go near the fence ... she will never go near the fence and never get a chance to dig out. Be sure that is the outcome that you want.
 

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Or pick up some elecrtic horse fencing, and run it a foot above the ground, a foot inside the fence, and another strand a foot above it. Check it a couple times a day to make sure it's hot. It's pretty cheap.

But I would put her in your room at night. I promise that she would adjust, and love it within a week. Give her a frozen peanut butter stuffed Kong, in a dog bed in your bedroom when you go to bed. She'll figure out the routine quickly enough. But I'd still secure your fencing with electric.
 

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At our farm, where all the dogs from neighboring farms go roaming, we built a comfortable large-ish shelter with a concrete floor.

We needed someplace where they couldn't dig out and wouldn't run off with their friends.

We also have jaguars, which in absence of a young horse will take on dogs as a meal.
 

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Update all. We found where she was getting out! Solved! The last few days have been great.

Give her a frozen peanut butter stuffed Kong, in a dog bed in your bedroom when you go to bed. She'll figure out the routine quickly enough. But I'd still secure your fencing with electric.
I'll definitely try the tips on helping adjust to the room! She's just NOT a fan of feeling confined or inside. She has a massively thick coat, so she gets hot easily. The porch gets a great breeze, so she's always hanging out there during the day.

I feel bad about securing the fence with the invisible fence/collar. We found where she was escaping, so I think we are going to try that out for a while. She knows when she's been punished, so I think we're going to try this for a while...with the knowledge that the invisible fence is an option in the far future if this is still an issue.

Honestly, since we found 'her' spot of escaping, it's been totally fine. She's not a runner/bolter. She's Marco Polo pup. She goes off exploring because that's what her old owner used to let her do.

I know a lot of people have apprehension about outside dogs, but most large dogs in our area ARE outside dogs and well taken care of. We have the weather for it and the space. And the attention. My husband and I are always outside with her when we are home. And YES, God yes, she is safe/secure. We live in a neighborhood, so it's relatively safe--no jaguars! That's got to be insane. We built her a massive dog house with a soft doggie bed for when she's hanging out during the day, and we are slowly getting her to adjust to the room.

And on that note... :) Going take her to the park on my day off.

THANKS ALL! Hope everyone has a great weekend!
 

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The concern with outside dogs is they often are neglected and not walked or played with and are just 'in the yard'. Not fair to the dog, and goldens are very people focused dogs!

For the coat, get a comb and comb out the dead hair, you can also get a shedding comb and remove some of the undercoat, or take her to a groomer and have them do that. Do NOT have her shaved of course. Keep in mind they often pant and seem hot, it's part of the breed. A wading pool and a nice cool tile floor usually does the trick.
 
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