Choosing an Electronic Dog Fence
How to Choose a Dog Fence for Your Yard
If you have a dog, it’s important that you also have a fence around your yard. Most importantly, a fence can help keep your dog safely within your yard, while allowing them to run around without being tied up. There are many different types of fences to choose from. For a traditional fence, you have to consider material and size. Hidden electric fences are also an option, of which there are also multiple types.
Considering a Traditional Fence
Check local fencing regulations.Your community may have laws about the materials and sizes allowed for residential fences. Don’t rely on a fencing company to know the regulations. Contact your town hall for specific by-laws and regulations for your area. Breaking them may result in fines and the requirement to remove your fence.
Weigh the benefits of a tangible fence.A tangible fence is generally more protective of your dog, if it is installed and maintained properly. It is also far less likely to cause your dog anxiety, as there is no physical discipline associated with it. Likewise, it can help block visual stimuli such as people and other dogs walking by that may excite your dog and cause them to bark or bite. However, these fences are also generally more expensive, and need to be maintained with repairs over time.
- If you’re hoping to fence around ½ an acre, you will spend anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand, depending on materials.
- Account for the full-grown size of your dog. Your fence may need to be higher than you expect. If you have a breed of dog that will stay small, four or five feet will likely be enough. This is often not the case for larger dogs, especially agile breeds.
- If you have a husky, golden retriever, or another large breed of dog, go with a fence that's about six feet tall.
Save money with a chain-link fence.Chain link fences are especially common for good reason. They are cheap, and extremely durable. However, they allow your dog to see out (and other dogs to see in), which can contribute to the occasional bark-off. Chain link fences are also relatively each to jump, if your dog is a bit acrobatic.
Opt for a wooden privacy fence with a mild-mannered dog.Wood fencing is reasonably priced, lasts for over a dozen years, and can provide visual privacy for you and your dog. However, many dogs are able to push wood pickets out of wood fences, and wood fences tend to be the easiest to dig under.
- If you do go with wood, see to it that any horizontal beams are not able to be used as launch pads from which your dog could jump the fence.
- Vinyl fences can offer similar advantages, but tend to cost more than wooden fences.
Build a solid, permanent fence.Concrete, brick, or other solid, permanent walls are especially effective in protecting your dog and keeping them contained. However, these are also the most expensive to install and maintain. While concrete blocks are relatively cheap, they are also relatively unsightly, and may be banned in your area.
Using a Hidden Fencing System
Evaluate the risks associated with a hidden fence.A well-trained dog is unlikely to break the perimeter set by an electric fence. However, an electric fence does not physically prevent a dog from leaving your yard. Moreover, electric fences are not appropriate for all dogs, as they may cause anxiety for some.
- For instance, if your dog is angered by another dog walking by and decides to pursue them, they may ignore the brief jolt their collar gives them when they cross the electric fence.
- If a fence is improperly set up or used on an animal with a low pain tolerance or one that is prone to anxiety, the shock experienced when crossing the fence boundary may foster an overall fear of the fence in the dog.
- Further, electric fences do not prevent anything from entering into your yard. This could leave your dog vulnerable to attack from another animal, and may create liability if someone enters your property and is bitten by your dog.
Choose a hidden electric fence.Use an invisible electric fence to create a zone in which your dog is free to move with neither the expense nor the visual consequence of a traditional fence. Your dog will also need to wear an electronic collar that serves two purposes. First, the collar plays an warning tone that your dog will hear whenever they near the perimeter. Second, the collar will shock them with a harmless but bothersome electric current if they attempt to cross the invisible fence. There are many benefits to such a system.
- They are quite affordable, and will almost always cost less than a traditional, tangible fence.
- They are quickly and easily installed in a few hours.
- Training for your dog will likely be quick and effective as well.
- You have several different types to chose from, with the main difference being the use of a buried wire or a wireless system.
Go with a buried wire fence system.An electric fence that relies on a buried wire to establish the boundaries of your dog’s safe zone is especially easy to customize. For instance, you can establish exact, specific areas within your yard that are off limits, such as a pool or flower beds.
- These systems also have greater range, and can be used to establish a safe zone up to 100 acres in size.
- Costs range from 5 to 0.
- Setup is quite simple. It involves burying a continuous circuit of wire around the perimeter of your yard. To do so, use a flat spade to dig a 3in (8cm) trench wherever you want to lay the wire. This can usually be completed in one or two days.
- Your transmitter (which keeps track of where your dog is relative to the fence) will usually be stored inside, near a power source.
Opt for a wireless electric fence.Another type of electric fence does not require you to bury a wire around the safe zone you wish to create for your dog. However, the range of these systems is more limited, and is based on a radio signal that reaches a certain distance from a centrally located transmitter to determine the perimeter.
- Advantages associated with this type of electric fence include an extremely easy installation, and the ability to move the system with ease - even for a vacation.
- However, this type of system is limited to a circular safe zone, usually extending about 90 ft from the transmitter in all directions. As such, these systems are most appropriate for smaller yards.
- Costs range from 0 to 0.
Train your dog carefully.Electric fences do work for a lot of people’s dogs. However, training is vitally important for your fence to work. To help during training, use yard flags or another clear indicator to provide a visual information to your dog about the fence’s location. The specific system you purchase will include specific information on setup, as well as training.
- Further, recognize that your dog ultimately learns to stay within the perimeter via negative reinforcement, even if you train them with positive reinforcement to respect the perimeter during training. As such, using an electric fence does mean that your dog will wind up being shocked at one point or another, likely during training.
Preventing Jumping and Digging
Identify where your dog is getting out.The two main ways dogs can escape from a traditional fence are digging and jumping. To check for evidence of digging, walk the interior and exterior perimeter of your fence. Keep in mind that the hole they’re squeezing through may be smaller than expected.
- Any sign of digging indicates you may have found an escape hatch. If you’re certain they aren’t digging and they keep getting out, they’ve likely found a way to vault the fence.
Do a bit of digging yourself.One way to deter a digger is by digging beneath your fence all the way around and adding a foot or so of chicken wire going straight down, then burying this added part of the fence. Your dog will likely try again, but may give up when they encounter this new barrier.
- For especially serious diggers, you can add an L-footer to the bottom of your fence. This extends down off of your fence, turns 90 degrees at ground level, and extends inward into your yard for about a foot. This will greatly diminish a dog’s ability to choose.
Contain leapers with a chicken wire lean-in.If you think your dog is getting over your fence, one option is add something to the top of your fence to prevent them from doing so. Chicken wire can likely do the trick. It’s cheap and easy, if a bit unsightly. Simply staple, nail, or tie chicken wire to the top of your current fence, and bend it inwards to form a ¼ circle or so.
- Make sure there are no sharp spires of chicken wire that your dog could jump into and scratch themselves on.
Use coyote rollers for persistent jumpers.Coyote rollers are designed to keep wild coyotes out of fenced-in areas, but they can also help keep your dog within your fence. Most commonly, coyote rollers are long metal tubes affixed to a frame on top of the fence that allow the tube to spin.
- Coyote rollers can be purchased from several different online companies, but they are not cheap. You can make a more affordable version yourself using PVC piping and other hardware from your local home improvement store.
Plant vegetation along the inside of the fence.Persistent fence-jumpers, or dogs that have worn a path patrolling the inside of your fence-line may be dissuaded from doing so by landscaping. Dense shrubs are especially effective in keeping dogs back from the fence. In fact, the deterrence offered by landscaping within your fence can prevent escape attempts generally.
Add to a chain link fence.If you go the chain-link fence route but find that you and the other neighborhood dogs are prone to singing to one another, you may want to add something to keep them from seeing one another. There are plenty of options. One easy, good-looking option is zip-tying some reed fencing to the inside of your chain link fence. You can also tie on bamboo poles or wind plastic slats through the fence itself. While none of these are perfect, they will diminish the chorus of canine greetings.
Provide a backyard activity.Many dogs who are trying to escape simply need more stimulation to be happy in your yard. If they like to dig, consider adding a sandbox where they are allowed to do so. Further, play with your dog a while each time you go into your yard together. Play fetch or simply run around together.
Don’t leave your dog outside.Though it can be tempting to let your dog out on their own to take care of business or catch some rays, it’s not recommended. Even with the safety of a fence, your dog can wind up getting themselves in trouble by eating something it shouldn’t or getting wound up in something you forgot to put away.
- Do not rely on running loose in the yard as your dog's only form of exercise and mental stimulation. Taking your dog for regular walks or runs, engaging in play in the home, and providing appropriate physical exercise and mental stimulation for their breed, size, and age will help curb attempts to escape the yard and other mischievous behaviors.
QuestionHow high does a fence need to be to keep a dog in?
Veterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary SurgeonsVeterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary SurgeonsExpert AnswerThis depends on the size and athleticism of the dog. On average, a 6-foot fence is required. But if you have a master escape artist, then an overhang facing into the yard (such as they have in zoo enclosures) will help.Thanks!
QuestionHow high can a dog jump?
Veterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary SurgeonsVeterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary SurgeonsExpert AnswerThat very much depends on the breed. Breeds such as the Mountain Cur were developed to hunt squirrels and tree-dwelling animals. This means they have an impressive ability to jump and can scale a 10-foot fence without much difficulty.Thanks!
Video: How to Choose the Best Electric Dog Fence Brand | Havahart® Wireless
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