Dog fences can be the solution you’ve been looking for to help your pet get more exercise, and prevent boredom. They make bathroom breaks a lot easier for you, help supplement your daily walk(s), and offer a terrific alternative for pups who cannot go to the dog park because of health or behavioral issues.
Before you select a fence, think about:
Installation: Some dog fences are easy to set up, even if your DIY skills are not stellar! Others require professional installation.
Property Lines: Make sure you know exactly where your property line is so you don’t create a rift with the neighbors.
Appearance: A picket fence looks different from a brick wall which looks different from chain link. There is no wrong answer when it comes to your fence, but you may want it to suit the aesthetic of your home (and any homeowner association rules, if applicable).
Durability: This is an area where it pays to spend a little more initially so your fence serves a good, long life.
Maintenance: Chain Link is relatively maintenance-free, but wooden fences, for example, will need to be repainted and wrought iron will need sanding. Know what you need to do to maintain your fence before you make any decisions.
Cost: When you’re shopping around, make sure to factor in installation and maintenance costs.
Escape Routes: Not all fences will contain all dogs. An energetic lab or retriever, for example, will think nothing of hopping right over. Other dogs dig under, and some chew or barge right through. Be sure to think about your dog’s size, physical capability, strength… and determination to bust out.
Dog Fence Options
Dog owners typically go with one of the following:
- Picket Fences. These are decorative and quite attractive. In addition to wood, you can choose from vinyl, PVC, and other materials (these are more suitable for dog fences as they are more resistant to chewing than wood). The problem is that most dogs (even smaller pooches) can jump over them, especially if they see something worth pursuing outside the fence!
- Metal Fences. Metal fence sections are typically sold in heights from 3 to 6 feet (go with 6, even for small dogs). Wrought iron is incredibly strong and decorative; it does rust over time, so you will need to factor in sanding and maintenance. Aluminum is also available. While aluminum does not rust, it is not as strong as wrought iron. If you opt for metal, make sure the gaps between the poles are small enough that your dog’s head cannot fit through.
- Chain Link Fences. These are very popular and for good reason. They are made of galvanized steel wire and attached to support poles. The standard height for chain link sections is 6 feet, but you can also find 8, 10, and 12-foot options from fence supply companies. Taller sections thwart the jumpers! Chain link is affordable, durable, and easy to install on your own.
- Privacy Fences. Made of wood, PVC, vinyl, or other materials, privacy fences tend to be taller than 6 feet. Some dogs can climb them, but it’s not easy. So unless your pet is super determined, they should be fine. Privacy fences are a good solution when your pet barks or becomes excited when he sees people, cars, or other animals; they limit visual stimulation.
- Brick Fences. Depending on the style, they can be more like a wall made of standard bricks or concrete blocks. They are an expensive option, and you’ll need a professional to build it. However, they are resilient, don’t require much maintenance, and your dog probably cannot climb the surface. If you make it tall enough, they won’t be able to jump over it either.
Dealing with Escape Artists
What do you do if you have a:
- Jumper or Climber? Make sure the fence is as tall as possible: 6 - 8 feet is typically sufficient for most dogs. If your dog climbs, a smooth surface is a must. PVC pipe rollers on the top also help prevent escapes.
- Digger? A gravel barrier around the perimeter of the fence may work, or you may have to dig a trench and install the fence about 12 - 24 inches below the ground (make sure you account for this in the total height of the fence if your digger is also a climber or jumper).
- Gate Opener? Some dogs know how to use their nose to lift up the fence latch. Just add a padlock or dog-proof latch.
- A Speed Demon? If your dog is quick, he may be able to slip out of the fence before you have a chance to close the gate. You can install a double-gate system to prevent this. You open one gate, take off his leash, and then let him in through the second gate to play.
- A beast?! Strong pups may not bother going under or over. They want to go right through. They may chew or gnaw to try to create a hole, work their head and shoulders through gaps, or ram their bodies into the fence. Durable, strong materials are essential.
A dog fence is a great investment in your dog’s happiness and health. And if his behavior hasn’t been exactly charming lately, it is also an investment in your sanity! If you are interested in exploring your options, contact Asheville Fence today. We have solutions for jumpers, climbers, gate openers, speed demons, brutes, and everything in between. Most important, we have a solution that will work for your dog.