The baby gate. Does anyone apart from dog owners buy these? Baby gates are wonderful because they allow access, whilst offering a physical barrier to give safety or simply restriction.
OK, I appreciate that these contraptions may be slightly annoying for humans because they often require a masters degree in engineering and design to be able to work out how to unlatch them, but the advantages completely outweigh this. Using a physical barrier like a child gate means that you can still see, talk to and touch your dog, but you can keep him in one place until you decide otherwise. On the whole, dogs seem to respect the effect of the mental barrier that a baby gate imposes, just as much as the physical side. In many instances where I have recommended their use, we have known that the dog in question could easily scale the gate if he chose, but he never has. Interestingly, lots of dogs that become used to their presence also opt to keep behind the invisible barrier even once they are removed!
Baby gates don’t have to be for life – they really can be for Christmas! If you have the whole family arriving for a party or holiday stay and know that supervising your dog is going to be an issue, just putting up a baby gate can mean the difference between a stressful event and a calm one.
Using a baby gate at a strategic point can prevent your dog from rushing out of the front door, even while you unload the supermarket shopping or greet visitors. It can separate your dog from children when you are not there to supervise (and can keep the kids out of the way of the dog too!). Baby gates are invaluable for controlled introductions between two dogs, older dogs and puppies and dogs and cats.
They are also perfect for simply keeping your dog in one room or area in order to facilitate house training or to prevent over-attachment problems in rehomed dogs.
It may be simple, but sometimes the very best management strategies are. Baby gate, we salute you.