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Discussion Starter #1
I'm at a loss...I need suggestions...

As I've written before, my mom has dementia. This is difficult at best to deal with, but add in a small dog that likes to take off as soon as the door is open, and it equals near disaster. For the hundreth time, my mom forgot to close the front door and Lucy got out. My daughter heard a car screech to a halt in front of the house and she ran out, (she was in her room studying). Yep, Lucy almost got hit. If it hadn't been for the quick reactions of my neighbor, she would be gone. I had been gone for less than 15 minutes at the store, (I'm the only one that shops. If I don't go, we do without).

Here's my set up. My two cats are locked in my room with a small size dog door for them to go out into the backyard, (one of my cats refuses to use a litter box, she will only go outside to go to the bathroom so the dog door is the only option). I have a cat fence set up, so they can't leave the yard and other cats can't get in. Perfect for them, they still get sunshine and fresh air but are safe.

I leave Lucy locked in my room when I'm not home, but she goes out the door to go potty, but then instead of coming back into my room, she scratches at the door that leads into the living room and my mom lets her in. Even with a note not to let Lucy in taped on the door, she does it anyway. Without fail, Lucy is in the front room when ever I get home. It does no good to tell my mom, she will forget, without exception.

I'm so stressed over this whole situation...I have a very strong feeling this will not end well. :no: Is it fair for me to keep Lucy when her safety is in jeopardy every day? I can't lock the door to the living room because this is the only door for Chance to go out to the backyard. I'm seriously afraid to go anywhere. My daughter and I can't even go out together because I panic the whole time. And when we've had to go anywhere, at least 5 times we've come home to find Lucy running around in the front of the house...my mom didn't even know that she had let her out. :banghead:

It kills me to think of placing Lucy, but I would never forgive myself if something ever happened to her. Do any of you have any suggestions?
 

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Dr. Rainheart
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Maybe you can teach her to sit and stay when the door is opened so she won't run out. Then you can teach a special release word.
 
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Tracer, Rumor & Cady
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Can you crate Lucy in your room and lock the crate with a lock that is just frustrating enough that you mom will give up and move on? My guess is you are not gone away form the house for very long...I'm thinking Lucy can 'hold it' until you get back...

Or could you create a barrier so Lucy can not get to the door that you mom likes to open? Kind of like what they dog at dog parks...like a safety zone? maybe if Lucy cant get at the door to scratch your mom wont open the door?
 
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Discussion Starter #5
I've tried to crate her several times but she cries and cries...the last time, when I got home, my mom was yelling, (she was in one of her "rages"), that she didn't want any of the animals anymore if they were going to cry like that. I knew she didn't mean it, she just had to calm down. She said the crying drove her crazy. :( It's my fault for never crating Lucy from the beginning, but I never thought my circumstances would come to living with my mom and needing to crate.

As far as training her to stay, it's not just a second that the door is open, it stays open until she realizes it, then she closes the door. It could be for hours. We know her next door neighbor really well and one time, before my daughter and I moved in, he called the police because he noticed the front door was open at 11:00 pm. He called me also and I came over right when the police got there. She had no idea the door was left ajar.
 

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Knife Swallower
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Is there a way you could fence or gate off part of the front yard? I too have a runner and even though I do daily training with him and have reminded my dad time and time again to be more careful about the door, Ranger will still bolt out the door at times. He's gotten out twice because of my dad.

We're fencing off the front yard because my mom and I are sick of worrying about Ranger. Luckily, we don't have much to fence off only about 15 ft. Is there a way you could you do something even with ugly fencing and just a small area past the door? Like a "corral" of some sort?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Or could you create a barrier so Lucy can not get to the door that you mom likes to open? Kind of like what they dog at dog parks...like a safety zone? maybe if Lucy cant get at the door to scratch your mom wont open the door?
That is a really good idea! Maybe with an x-pen stretched out. That way, Chance still has access to part of the yard, too. If my mom would accept it, (she hates changes to the house), that might be a viable solution. Thank you!
 

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Tracer, Rumor & Cady
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Before my grandmother entered a nursing home the family put childproof locks & handles on certain rooms...she was not able to open them (they took too much strength & coordination)...she would just get frustrated and storm off....but the door stayed closed!
 

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Tracer, Rumor & Cady
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That is a really good idea! Maybe with an x-pen stretched out. That way, Chance still has access to part of the yard, too. If my mom would accept it, (she hates changes to the house), that might be a viable solution. Thank you!
If the ex-pen is out side the house in the yard - off yoru room...will she be able to see it?
If it is anchored to the ground really well - she might 'try' to move it...but if it is too hard...she might ignore it...
Your kitties should be able to scale the expen and enjoy the rest of the yard..
 
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Discussion Starter #12
I too have a runner and even though I do daily training with him and have reminded my dad time and time again to be more careful about the door, Ranger will still bolt out the door at times.
Yeah, I don't think Lucy will ever change. Chance has never even come close to going out an open door, thank, God. It's just in Lucy to bolt.

I think the only way to try and fix the situation is to section off a part of the yard. I just hope my mom will accept it. I never know how she'll react to anything anymore.
 

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Tracer, Rumor & Cady
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Discussion Starter #14
The door to the back yard has to be able to be opened for Chance to go out. My mom is good with Chance, maybe because he's big and easy to keep track of. Thankfully, no issues with him.

The two doors are right next to each other, (hard to explain), so she will see whatever partition I use. The whole back yard is concrete except for a small section in the far back, so if my mom wanted to move it she could. I think, though, that it would work better if she realizes it's not permanent.
 

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You could also look into a spring hinge that would automatically close the door, Lucy might be able to slip out but at least the door would be closed. Is there any chance you can put up maybe just a picket fence off the front porch to keep Lucy contained if she does get out?
 

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Nancy
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Not sure how big Lucy is but have you considered a wireless fence? The collar is very light-weight and she could wear it all the time.
 

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So all this escaping is happening through the front door only? How about putting in one of those sliding locks at the top of the front door where your mom can't easily reach? This means you will have to do all your coming and going via the back door but it might help keep Lucy in.
 

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Perhaps you can put a baby gate in the doorway that goes to the living room... the doorway that Lucy always goes to and scratches at the door which your mom opens up to let her in. Leave the door open with the baby gate in place.

No door to scratch on and Lucy can still see whats going on but cannot get through.



Or.... change the door knob on the door to an exterior lockable door knob... and lock it when you leave, that way your mom cannot open the door if she doesn't have a key.

Another thing you can do is change the outside door lock. Install a dead bolt lock that requires a key to unlock it from the inside as well as the outside.
 

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Kate
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The level of dementia that your mom has... is she safe when left home alone like that?

^ I had to ask. The only experience that I have with this is my one aunt who had two rounds of brain cancer, the first round/surgery which left her kinda kooky. My uncle was her caretaker and had to keep track of her else she could be doing anything from chasing birds around the neighborhood with hangers to get them off her lawn to trying to burn the kitchen down.

My feeling on this is that if you are going out with your daughter or for sure there is not going to be somebody home to keep track of things, you might want to check around for a dog sitter to keep track of your little dog for a couple hours, when need be.

That would probably be the only solution for me if there is no possible way to lock your little dog up in your room (no potty door) or another room.
 

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Kristy
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Along Megora's line of thinking.... do you think you are getting close to the point where it's truly not safe to leave your mother alone for any period of time anyway? I really like the fencing the front yard idea especially given that it might help keep your mom from leaving the yard without your knowledge. (I had a family member with dementia who would wander).

My fingers are crossed, I hope one of these solutions proves to be workable for you... my heart goes out to you, I admire your strength of character for being a good and responsible daughter and pet owner....
 
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