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Fencing For Your Dog

By: Dr. Amy Wolff

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Containing your dog in the yard is one of the most important safeguards you can provide for your pet to keep him safe. When your pet has the protection of a fenced yard or area, you reduce the number of hazards and accidents significantly. When dogs roam, the possibility for injury and illness increases. Dogs are often hit by vehicles, are attacked by other animals or unfriendly neighbors, consume toxic and foreign material or just get lost.

And let's not forget that it may be your dog that is the neighborhood troublemaker, eliminating in your neighbors yard, getting into trash or frightening people who don't know your dog. A fenced dog is safer and protected within the confines of your property.

Several different types of fencing options are available. Choose the one that best suits your needs and budget.

Perimeter Fencing

Fencing the perimeter of your property is the most common way of containing your pet and there are a wide variety of choices. Fencing material ranges from decorative vinyl, basic wood, decorative wood to chain link. Factors to consider when choosing fence type include your budget and whether or not the fence will double as a decorative lawn or garden backdrop.

When considering fencing, you should also consider your pet's personality and activity level. Some dogs are born fence jumpers and are not easily contained by any type of enclosure less than 6 feet in height. Some can learn to climb chain link no matter how high it is. Some dogs are natural diggers, the height of the fence won't matter because they just tunnel their way out.

Once a fence is installed, spend some time teaching your dog to respect his new boundaries. If you see him making attempts to jump or dig, discourage this behavior early. Make his yard the most amusing and fun place to be. Be sure to pick up feces regularly to keep the area clean and attractive. Always provide food, water and shelter when your pet is outside.

Kennels

A dog kennel is a smaller version of a fenced yard for people who have limited space or want to devote only a portion of their yard to containing their pet. Kennels can be constructed to any size or height and can be built with almost any type of foundation from resting directly on the ground to having a concrete pad. If you keep your pet kenneled, be sure to give him plenty of time and attention for his physical and mental well being. All kennels should have a shelter, food and water available.

Electronic Containment

Many people prefer the look of an open yard without the restrictions and maintenance of fencing. Now widely used, electronic buried hidden methods are available to contain your pet within your yard. A buried cable defines a specific area, which can be large or small and in an irregular shape. The fencing system works by creating an electrical barrier that your dog learns to recognize with a combination of visual and auditory cues. When the fence is installed, a series of flags is placed to outline the new yard boundaries. Your dog wears a special collar that gives a series of beeps as he approaches the fence line. If he gets too close to the fence, he feels a mild electrical impulse. Most pets only need a few reminders before they come to learn their new boundaries. The flags are removed a few at a time until your dog has completely learned the yard. This system also works well for people who may want to keep their pets within a specific area of the yard, out of flower or vegetable garden, ponds or plays areas.

Now that you've fenced your yard you may decide to let your dog stay outside while you're gone. No matter what system you choose, food, water and shelter are essential for your pet's well being if he stays outside. Make sure your pet is not exposed to heat and cold extremes for long periods of time. A collar and ID tags should be worn at all times.

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