Sunday, May 4, 2014

Gate Latch Opener

The first time I accidently locked myself inside the dog pen, I was pissed. My hands were too wide to fit through most of the fence openings and zero ones near the gate. I was stuck. Finally had to climb out at one of the pen corners, which wasn't a pretty picture. Thankfully no one was there to video it and post the video up on YouTube. 

I got into the habit of keeping a bent stick wedged in the fence so that I could reach through the mesh and open the latch. But the dogs soon noticed the stick and took to snitching it, chewing into micro pieces. Then a friend gave me the solution.....a wee bit of string. It works perfectly everytime! 
The latch is a standard garden gate latch from a hardware store. It already came with a hole on the latch handle, but if it hadn't, it would be simple to drill one there. I run the string, in this case a piece of electric fence string (which hardly ever breaks), through the hole and around the post that the latch is mounted on. 
From the backside the string looks like this (above photo). 
From a side photo, you can see that the string is run around the post so that it is a bit higher than the latch, maybe 3 inches. 

To use the string to open the closed gate latch from inside the pen, I simply pull up on the string. Wallah! Latch opens and I'm not trapped. 
From the outside you can see that the string pulled the handle up, opening the latch. 
When you let go of the string in normal use, the latch drops back into place. But of course I've already pushed the door open a bit so that I'm not locked in still. 

What a simple solution! 


  1. Good set-up! Hopefully, the dogs don't figure out how to work it. I had a Dalmatian that possessed much more smarts than we thought, and he was able to trip the gate latch somehow, setting off a giant chase to catch him - fastest dog I ever had! We put a fishing weight on the latch arm, and ran a piece of string trimmer line up the outside of the latchpost to an eyelet on top, tied to a heavy bolt. He never figured that one out.

    1. So far my dogs haven't been interested in the new latch system. Thank heavens they've become older and sedate! I'm getting too old to want to deal with young frisky dogs anymore. But in my time I've had to chase many an escapee, just like you! I like your clever solution.