A fenced yard allows your dog to spend time outdoors without the risk of him escaping. While chaining a dog outdoors is cruel and potentially dangerous, possibly causing strangulation, an outdoor enclosure or fence allows your dog to run and play unencumbered. Fencing can also protect your dog from strangers or attacks from other neighborhood dogs.
You can create a physical barrier with fencing materials that can include chain link, wood, concrete and metal. Put up a fence high enough that the dog cannot jump over it. Some dogs can climb chain link fences, so wood, concrete or brick fences may be a better option. If your dog gets excited by the sight of people or other pets, a solid fence, rather than one with spaces between bars or chain link, blocks him from seeing outside of your yard. To prevent a dog from jumping over a fence of any kind, purchase an overhang for the top that faces inward at 45 degrees, the Humane Society of the United States recommends. Bury chicken wire in the dirt a foot deep below the fence at the base if your dog tends to dig.
An electronic fence may be a good option if you don’t want a regular fence. This system consists of a buried cable and a special dog collar that detects the presence of the cable. The collar emits a series of beeps to warn the dog when he is approaching the barrier; a harmless electric shock follows if he continues to approach the invisible fence. Initially a series of flags marks the boundary for the dog to see, and concurrent training with voice commands teaches the dog not to leave the enclosed area. While this system works with some dogs, others may ignore the warning beeps and shock, escaping your yard. This option also does not prevent outside people or dogs from entering your yard. To prevent these snags, you can combine electronic fences with physical fences.
An enclosed dog kennel or run consists of small structure, usually the size of a bedroom, surrounded by metal mesh or chain link fencing that can vary in height and can be roofed in with metal mesh. The mesh top prevents escape by dogs that tend to jump over fences. Many kennels come prefabricated for installation on top of a concrete slab, PetPlace.com notes. In warmer climates, you can add a tarp to shade the kennel and protect the dog from inclement weather. Check with your homeowner's association or building permits office before installing the kennel or run.
Have your dog spayed or neutered to reduce his desire to roam the neighborhood and find a mate, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends. This will help to control escapist behavior, even with a high fence. If you plan to leave your dog outdoors, unattended, provide him with an enclosed shelter to protect him from the elements, along with food and water. Provide your dog with interactive toys containing treats or food to occupy him and discourage him from trying to escape the fenced-in area. Secure gates to your fenced-in area with a padlock to prevent your dog from opening a latch or from strangers entering your yard and bothering your dog. Combine more than one fence, one around the other, to discourage an escape-artist dog from getting out of his confinement.
- VetInfo: The Hidden Dangers of Dog Fences
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Escaping from the Yard
- PetPlace.com: Fencing For Your Dog
- PetPlace.com: Are Electronic Fences Right for Your Dog?
- The Humane Society of the United States: Do You Chain Your Dog?
- PetPlace.com: How to Build a Dog Kennel
- animal in captivity image by Ferencz Teglas from Fotolia.com