Houdini hound dog

by Katie on January 27, 2012

We are the frustrated owners of two dogs. Yes, you read correctly. Frustrated.

We have Dixie, the obnoxious, overly-hyper Texas Blue Lacy. Her only saving grace is that she was Texas born and bred, just like I was, and that her breed is the official “State dog of Texas.” No joke. Check it out yourself. And yes, it thrills me to no end when we have company and I get to tell them that indeed, our dog is the state dog of Texas.

Surprisingly enough, lately, we’ve both had to admit that despite her craziness, Dixie is the better-behaving dog.

Because Dixie’s sidekick, Wilbur (our Blue-tick Hound, featured here, here and here), has turned into the Houdini hound dog.

His former antics of spending his days on the roof of our house are much-preferred and long-missed compared to what we’re dealing with these days.

Stepping back in time a bit, we previously had issues with both dogs digging out of their pens, where they only have to stay at night and while we’re gone. This is largely due to the fact Wilbur becomes a “man of the night” if left unpenned after dark and tends to return home with a neighbor’s chicken. In his mouth. Not ideal, obviously. We mostly solved the digging problem by wiring some fence paneling around the bottom edges of their pens.

But somehow, Wilbur was still escaping. So, when my parents visited, my dad tried to help (Bless him), and purchased some electric fence wiring and installed it around the dog pen for us. Perfect solution, right?


The first evening we penned the dogs with their new electric barricade, we heard the evidence of Wilbur getting a taste of his new pen, but when we went to check on him, expecting to find him hunkered in the corner of the pen, he was nowhere to be found.

How does an 80 pound hound dog escape an electric-wired six foot tall pen, with 5.5′ wire paneling surrounding it?

We do not know. But we do know it is possible.

Two days later, after all of us searching a five-mile radius, I found him hunkered in the tall pasture grass out back, and it literally took all afternoon to lure him back with food and water.

Since that time, we have resorted to placing a chain in his pen, and hooking it to his collar to keep him contained during the night. Which seemed to solve the problem. For a while, anyway.

A few months ago, however, we started to find him in Dixie’s pen in the morning when we went to release them for the day. The paneling between their pens is lower, somewhere in the four foot range, and while we were wondering how he was able to fit his giant body through the half-foot of space he had to make the climb, it really wasn’t a big deal.

Until the day we found him on the outside of the six-foot tall pen wall. Still chained and contained, but can we say choking hazard? I’ve been telling Brandon that every day I brace myself to find him hanging from one of the pens because sometimes, the chain has made three loops through different pens and to the outside. If we hadn’t actually seen this escape in action, we would still doubt it was possible for a dog that size to be that agile.

But this week? Wilbur decided to solve the whole choking hazard situation himself.

By somehow getting out of his collar and ditching the chain completely.

Now, we’ve decided his recent nightly escapades (every single night this week) have much to do with other neighborhood pets. Let’s just say Blake Shelton was on to something with the whole “Ol’ Red” song, because it would certainly work on Wilbur.

After reach our wits’ end on keeping our escape artist dog penned up during the night and avoiding any responsibilities associated with a litter of puppies, I made a trip to Petsmart yesterday. I fully explained our situation to one of the helpful salesladies there, and she suggested purchasing a harness. He would be fully secured across his entire body, rather than something around his neck he could find a way out of (and it had nothing to do with how tight his collar was, trust me – Brandon took care of that himself). And, since the chain would be connected to the body harness, the whole choking hazard thing involved with his pen jumping would be eliminated.

Perfect, right?

Last night, I penned the dogs at dark, and suited Wilbur up in his new harness.

When we slept through the night, without hearing him howling at our bedroom window at 2am, we were sure the harness had been successful.

Half an hour after Brandon left for work, I headed out to release Dixie and Wilbur for the day. And found Wilbur on the front porch. At first, I thought my husband had been extra nice that morning and taken care of that chore for me, but Dixie wasn’t in her usual all-day spot at the front door. She was still in the pen, begging to be let out. It crossed my mind that perhaps Brandon had been interested in seeing how the harness worked, and just had only tended to Wilbur. But the harness, still latched to the chain and buckled securely, was lying next to his feed bowl inside his pen.

So I called Brandon, “Hey, did you mess with Wilbur at all before you left?”

“No, why?” he asked.

“You are not going to believe this then. I just went outside to let him out, found him on the porch, and the buckled harness still inside his pen,” I explained.

And he didn’t. So today, we’re scratching our heads, wondering how we ended up with the Houdini hound dog.



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