Fencing Options for your Dog

Robert Frost said, “Good fences make good neighbors.”  They also increase the safety of your dog by protecting him from wandering off and getting lost, hit by a car, or stolen.  There are three main types of fences that are used with dogs today:  electric containment systems, chain link fences, and wooden privacy fences.  Each has advantages and disadvantages.

Electric containment systems, or hot wires, as they are sometimes called, work by burying a wire all around the fence line.  This wire transmits a signal that is picked up by receiver that the dog wears on their collar.  When the dog gets too close to the fence, a warning tone sounds.  If the dog continues, an electric shock is delivered to the dog.  The dog runs from the shock and stays inside the yard.

These fences work well in places where you are not allowed to have a visible fence due to deed restrictions or space.  They also work well as an adjunct to a chain link or wooden fence for dogs that continually dig out or escape.  However, they have some drawbacks.  If the dog runs through the shock and outside the yard, he cannot return home without going through the barrier, and receiving another shock.  The barrier does nothing to keep other dogs, children, or other potential menaces out of the yard, either.  The dog may feel cornered by these intruders and lash out, causing a biting incident.

Chain link fences are more secure than electric containment systems.  They provide a physical barrier that keeps the dog inside and other dogs, people, and other animals outside.  The dog can look outside the fenced area and enjoy a view.  This may be a problem, however, for an excitable dog.  They may bark at everything they see and cause a nuisance of themselves.  Some dogs learn to climb chain link fence just like they are scaling a ladder, making it easy for them to escape.  Chain link can also be expensive, depending on the area being fenced.

Wooden privacy fences provide security while restricting the view of other animals and people outside the fence.  While some individuals feel this is a drawback as these fences block the view, they can help with dogs that bark at everything that walks by.  They do tend to rot where the bottom of the fence contacts the soil, so vigilance must be exercised to find rotten spots and repair them.  They are also restricted by some deeds.  Some municipalities require a permit to build fences over a certain height, usually six feet, as well.  While six feet may contain most dogs, and wooden fences are much harder to scale than chain link fences, dogs occasionally manage to do so.

It is important to keep dogs confined to the yard when they are outside.  It protects them from getting lost, hit by a car, or stolen.  Electric confinement systems may keep the dog in, but they do not keep intruders out.  Chain link fences afford the dog and owner a view to the outside world, but may be easy for an intelligent dog to climb.  Wooden fences keep excitable dogs from barking as much, but require more maintenance than chain link fences.  Each owner will have to decide what type of fencing system is best for them.