Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Securing the Front Door

As all basenji owners know (or SHOULD know), many basenjis have a tendency to bolt out of doors.  My two are definitely typical basenjis in this respect -- give them a split second of unguarded door, or too much space between your legs as you shuffle out the door, or a storm door that doesn't immediately swing all the way shut upon exiting, and my basenjis will take advantage of the moment and attempt a dash down the street.  Thankfully they've actually only gotten loose a handful of times and we've always been able to catch them before anything bad happened, but I can assure you that those handful of times were enough to scare the bejeesus out of us and teach us (and our guests!) to be much more cautious about the doors. 

When we finally bought our own house, we took care to ensure that all doors would be as secure as possible.  The garage door is only accessible through the pantry, so we have a rule that the pantry door must be shut before the garage door can be opened.  The back door leads to our securely fenced backyard, and the fence gate is kept padlocked at all times.  The front door is undoubtedly our weakest spot, and although it's protected by an interior door and a storm door that's kept locked at all times unless someone is walking through it, I still worry about the dogs attempting a getaway while an unsuspecting visitor is walking through the front door.  And especially now that we have a new baby in the house, I've been even more worried about a potential dog escape while someone is walking through the door with the baby, because it's an unwieldy process to begin with and it's harder to always pay close attention to what's going on around your feet. 

To help combat this potential problem, I finally came up with this solution:

Essentially what I did was to mount a metal baby gate in between the interior door and the storm door of the house, which stays there at all times and is thin enough that it doesn't impede either door from closing.  So far it seems to be working well, because it's a magnetic-close gate that slams shut behind you, which makes the dogs stay away from it unless I'm leading them through on-leash.  It also helps if someone comes to the door, so that I can open up the door to talk without needing to completely step outside and freeze my bum off! 

So, in the end this is definitely a solution that seems to be working to protect the front door, and I would highly recommend it for anyone who has an escapist basenji and is worried about protecting their doors from bolting dogs when unsuspecting guests (especially children!) come over.  While it certainly is a pain for guests to have to open up two doors and a gate when people come through my front door, having the auto-close magnetic baby gate as an additional barrier seems to have curbed the dogs' escape plans for the front door -- at least for the time being :-)


  1. What a great idea. We have a corral in our garage built around the door into the house. We make everyone from the piano tuner to dinner guests enter through the garage, and we make sure the corral gate is closed behind them before we open the people door. Your solution is much more elegant.

  2. You know, I have never in my life heard of this breed of dog, and I thought I knew them all! I am absolutely intrigued! I'm wondering... is this a new designer breed, or have they been around for a while? I feel like I need to know more about these animals... I feel a Google search fest a-brewing. LOL.

    Earl Mark @ Eastway Lock