do you do to protect your dog and allow him to get fresh air, sunshine,
and exercise if your community doesnt allow fences? Chaining
is never the answer. There are alternatives such as invisible fences,
friendly fences, dog runs, and cable runs. There are pros and cons
to all these alternatives and some are considered more humane than
others. Before deciding on any option you should take time to consider
the area you want to enclose, what you can afford, and
most importantly your dog.
make sure you understand the ordinance that is restricting the use
of fences. Some may allow certain fences, some may ban all fences,
and some codes specifically ban electronic containment systems or
you may have to apply for a special permit to use them.
fences, electronic fences, underground fences, and radio fences
are all terms to describe pet containment systems that basically
work under the same principles. They consist of underground wires
(although there are some wireless versions available) that form
a perimeter, a transmitter, and a receiver collar that your dog
wears. Most give a warning tone or beep when your dog nears the
boundary. When your dog gets too close to the boundary, a correction
is delivered in the form of a mild shock, a light static energy
pulse, an unpleasant noise, or a citronella spray. The costs of
these containment systems can run from $200 - over $1000 usually
can create a perimeter from 500-1000 feet. More information on these
types of systems is available through pet supply stores.
pros of these systems are:
ß They are invisible (once the flags or stakes are removed
that initially establish the boundary for your dog).
ß Dogs cant jump over or dig under them.
ß There is no gate to be left open.
ß According to a report in the Journal of the American Animal
Hospital Association, The dog owners who tested these collars
for our study felt the citronella spray was more effective and more
humane than electric shock.
The cons of these systems are:
ß They dont prevent other animals or humans from entering
ß Batteries can run down and the collar ceases to be effective.
ß Your dog needs to be well trained enough to respect the
boundaries since a willful dog can choose to ignore the shock (or
sound or spray) and once through the barrier there is nothing to
get him to come back.
ß The electric shock can be considered inhumane or conversely
dogs with thick fur dont even feel it.
ß The citronella scent can remain for awhile and continue
to bother your dog. If your dog gets used to the smell it may cease
to be effective.
alternative for extended periods outside is the Friendly Fence.
This is a fence that was originally designed to keep deer out and
is constructed from high-strength and UV light resistant polypropylene
plastic. The makers of this fence say it is all but invisible
to the human eye from as close as 15-20 feet away. The fence
comes in rolls of material that is secured to posts or trees by
using zip ties. Ground stakes ensure that your dog can not push
under the fence. Owners of aggressive dogs can use a nylon tension
cable to reinforce the fence and there is a version that is 65%
stronger than the standard fencing. The fence comes in heights from
5 7 feet. There is also a chew guard that can be attached
to the bottom of the fence. The approximate cost of a Friendly Fence
is between $159 - $345 depending on the size of your dog and the
area you want to enclose. For more information on Friendly Fences
you can go to their web site at www.friendlyfence.com. You also
could use chicken wire between posts for a similar alternative.
pros of this type of fence are:
ß They are a humane alternative to electric fences.
ß They are a cheaper alternative to electric fences.
ß They provide a more secure area than electric fences do.
cons of this type of fence are:
ß The installation is more complicated than electronic fences.
ß They are not completely invisible and if trees arent
used there will be visible posts.
none of the above options will work for you, then, for shorter periods
of exercise outside, you could consider installing a chain link
dog run (if your community will allow this), or a cable runner.
You need to ensure that these provide an adequate running area for
your dog (you can get guidelines from the Humane Society of the
United States www.hsus.org). A cable runner, or trolley,
is a cable attached to an aerial line that allows your dog to run
back and forth. They should never be used with a choke collar or
set up near obstacles in which your dog could become entangled.
A cable runner should also only be used with supervision as it does
leave your dog vulnerable to other animals and humans. Also for
supervised exercise periods there are dog exercise pens that can
be set up and taken down easily. Again, all these options are for
short periods of time only.
is another option for your dog to safely go outside. Put him on
a leash and take him for a walk (or run). This will provide fresh
air, sunshine, and exercise for both of you. And best of all, your
dog gets to spend time with the most important person in his life
any of these options the first priority is your dogs safety
and well-being. Supervision is essential, at least until your dog
becomes comfortable in his new environment. A spayed or neutered
dog is less likely to try and get out of his yard. And regardless
of which option you end up choosing, a dog that is trained in at
least basic commands will be the happiest and most successful.
contact Dori, please email: DoriFG@aol.com