Sunday, May 5, 2013

DIY Dog gate


We're a dog-centric family (yeah, most of you know that already). In the past, the dogs have always slept with us in the bed. As we've moved from 1 dog to 2 dogs to 3 dogs, it's become a little more crowded on our bed over the years. At this point we've had 3 dogs for a few years now and I'm pretty sure we've haven't slept well in those years.

About a year ago we decided enough was enough and kicked them out of our room so we could sleep with more space. Unfortunately Opie (our youngest and still puppy-brain) decided that was unacceptable. So at night he would roam around the house, look out the windows and start barking maniacally whenever he saw something. So we'd wake up multiple times at night from the barking. After a few days we decided that was not the solution so the dogs made it back into our room and into our bed.

Finished gate
After several more months, Mike and I noticed that while I started on our bed at night, I would often end up on the futon in the sitting room by morning because the dogs would take up so much space on the bed. We decided to restart the battle to gain bed independence again.

View of our side of the bedroom
We knew we couldn't banish the dogs from the room since Opie would just bark at everything at night (which would set off Harley barking like mad). Our bedroom has an attached sitting room with a convenient futon for the dogs to sleep on, but to separate the bedroom and sitting room, we have to find an 8-ft gate. The available dog/baby gates that were that long were extremely expensive and very flimsy.  Tried a 10-ft piece of lattice held to the bookshelves with clamps to separate the bedroom and sitting room as an option. That didn't work since the dogs learned to scramble through the non-clamped areas and still get into the bedroom.

View of the dog's side of the room
We finally ran into a solution that worked. We took two large dog crates and used them to block the entrance to the bedroom. We'd shift one of the crates to make enough room to get through (about 6-8 inches of space). This worked great....until about 2 weeks ago when I bruised my little toe pretty badly going between the two crates.

I decided this was not going to be our permanent solution. Did a little googling, little pinterest, and found this. PVC pipe was the perfect solution!

Two side sections completed

I made some modifications because I didn't want to screw the gate into the ground and I wanted it to come apart easily when/if we no longer needed it.

Bottom bar added for stability but not glued to make for easy removal in the future
For my gate, I used 1" PVC for the frames, and 3/8" wooden dowels for the spokes. I used elbows and T to attach the pipes to each other. The bottom bar is not glued to the rest of the gate so if we ever need to remove the gate, it'll be easy to take apart. I attached the sides to the bookshelves using corner braces.

Corner braces holding sides to bookshelves
Since the pvc pipe is curved and doesn't have a lot of surface area, finding a decent lock for the gate became a problem. The best solution was to use velcro wrap. I wrapped the velcro around the pvc side gate, then when we want to lock the gate door, we wrap the velcro around the door to hold it shut.

Velcro wrap as our door lock
Gate works great! Keeps the dogs out, and the door opens wide enough that I can easily carry our laundry basket without all sorts of contortions. Cost me about $50 to build the gate, very happy with how it turned out.