Few things will make your dog happier and your life easier than a big, fenced-in yard.
But because many dogs are escape artists, you must be sure to select a dog fence that will keep your canine contained.
While there is no perfect fencing solution that will work for all dogs, there are a few options on the market that will likely keep your dog safe. We’ll talk about some of the best fencing options, materials, and styles below. We’ll even discuss the primary ways dogs escape – because knowledge is power!
Types of Outdoor Fence Materials For Canine Containment
There are a number of different types of fences on the market and they are made from a wide variety of materials. But only a few styles and materials will work well for dog-occupied yards.
Some traditional fences are primarily designed to be decorative, and others lack the strength or security to keep your canine contained.
1. Picket Fences
Picket fences are generally rather short, and they have moderately large gaps between the slats. They may also feature scalloped tops or decorative post caps.
They’re usually employed for aesthetic purposes, to keep those darn kids off your lawn, or reminding neighbors that you have indeed achieved the “American Dream,” rather than for security or privacy.
2. Wide-Gap Metal Fences
Wide-gap metal fences are usually comprised of a series of vertical metal poles and a pair of horizontal connecting rods (sometimes called pickets and rails, respectively) at the top and the bottom.
They are sold in 6- or 8-foot-long sections, in heights ranging from 3 to 6 feet tall.
The poles may be round or square, and they are usually made from wrought iron or aluminum. Wrought iron is incredibly strong, but it is expensive and will rust over time. Aluminum is cheaper than wrought iron and won’t rust, but it isn’t as strong.
3. Chain-Link Fences
Chain-link fences are made from a series of steel poles and a long sheet of galvanized steel wire, which is attached to the poles for support.
The tallest versions available in most consumer-level retail outlets are about 6 feet, but you can find 8-, 10-, or 12-foot-tall options at fence supply companies. Some chain-link fences are coated with colored vinyl.
4. Privacy or Solid Fences
Wood is generally the most affordable option, while those made from plastics or composites can be more pricey but usually require less maintenance.
Privacy fences are generally rather tall (they are often more than 6 feet high) and their slats sit directly in contact with each other, leaving no or only very small gaps.
5. Brick Fences
Brick fences certainly blur the line between walls and fences. However, some designs feature numerous gaps, which usually form a decorative pattern and make them somewhat fence-like.
The bricks used in the construction of these fences vary from standard red bricks to concrete blocks.
Dog-Proof Fencing Considerations
Fences are obviously not one-size-fits-all items – you’ll have to go with a style that suits your home, your tastes, and your dog. In actuality, fences are almost always “custom built” to satisfy these and other criteria (even if they’re made from prefabricated pieces).
This means you’ll need to think carefully about a number of issues when selecting the best dog proof fence for your home. Some of the most important things to consider include:
Some fences are easier to install than others. For example, prefabricated vinyl fences are pretty easy to set up — even for those without much home improvement experience. You’ll probably want a friend or your spouse to help you with the project, but you won’t need to pay for professional installation.
On the other hand, privacy fences and some other styles will require plenty of time, effort, and expertise to install properly. If you aren’t willing to dedicate a full weekend (and maybe longer) to the project, you’ll probably be better off hiring professionals to install your fence.
You’ll also want to pick a fence that appeals to your sense of style. There are no right or wrong answers here; you like what you like. However, it is wise to consider how your choice will affect the resale value of your home and be sure that you aren’t running afoul of any local codes or homeowners’ association rules.
To avoid conflict with your neighbors, make sure that you know exactly where your property lines are located. If your house has been surveyed recently, you may still be able to locate the property lines, but if your house has not been surveyed in the recent past, you’ll probably want to have a crew come out and identify the lines properly.
Fences represent a significant investment, and many will also require you to invest a lot of elbow grease during the installation process. Accordingly, you’ll want to consider durability when making your choice. This not only means selecting a fence made from durable materials, but also choosing one that features robust connection points.
Different types of fences require different types of maintenance. Some, such as chain link fences, typically won’t require any, but wooden fences may need to be repainted every few years. Others, such as wrought iron fences which will rust over time, may need to be sanded periodically.
It’s obviously important to select a fence that will keep your dog safely contained. Different dogs will present different challenges in this regard, so there is no single type of fence that will work in all cases. For example, a mid-height picket fence may safely contain a small, relatively calm dog, but it wouldn’t even slow down a bigger dog, who could simply jump over it.
Cost is always a factor in the real world, so you’ll want to figure out your budget before you start trying to pick a fence. Make sure you factor in the installation and maintenance costs when making your choice.