Friday, October 2, 2009


There’s an old saying that goes, “Good fences make good neighbors.” No where is this more true than when you own dogs. Keeping them contained in your yard is a must especially when you own German Shepherds. Dogs by nature are curious creatures and given the opportunity to take a walk down the street would prove too tempting for most of them to resist. I owned a dog many years ago who would always find a way to get out of the yard. Mind you it was fenced in, but she would find a section that was wearing away from age, push her body through it and lead the rest of the dogs who may have been in the yard with her, right down the road. Thank God I lived in a rural area because she was the leader of the pack as she and they took a stroll right down the middle of the road. If we mended one area of the fence, she’d be sure to show us where another area needed fixing. She was no longer allowed to stay in the yard without supervision.

So besides keeping our dogs in kennel runs, being responsible dog owners, we also need to fence our yard especially if you live in a residential area. If you have to take the dogs out of the run to bring them in or while you’re cleaning the kennel, they must still be contained. There are some different choices of fencing one can use depending upon what you can afford to spend and also one that meets the zoning code of your community. This last sentence reminds me of someone who I know who is quite wealthy and lives in a very “posh” neighborhood. She rescued a dog and was now faced with the dilemma of keeping him contained on her property. She asked my advice and although I told her I was completely against electric shock underground fencing, she went and got it anyway. Her number one reason………the neighborhood! She said that she couldn’t put up fencing where she lived. The neighbors wouldn’t like it. And you know what, I’ve ridden up and down her neighborhood where there are multi-million dollar homes and she’s right. Not one property had a fence! How snotty!

Different types of fencing:

Picket fence - I always assumed that this were shorter type fencing, but from what I’ve read they can be made to the height that you need. They’re made of wood and supposed to be strong. Also it prevents anyone from poking through at the dog.

Split rail – This provides more of an open view. If using this type of fence for your property it is extremely important that you use a fabric inside the fence like chicken wire or mesh fencing. Obviously if you don’t then the dog can slip through the rails. When you use the mesh fencing with the split rail, it becomes invisible so it still looks attractive around your property.

Chain link – is one of the most popular fences. This is the type of fencing that most people already use for their dog runs. It comes in a selection of different heights. Zoning seems to allow the use of this fencing more than most other fences that are available. It doesn’t obstruct the view and it lasts longer than many other types of fences. On the minus side, children can poke their fingers through it.

Stockade fencing - is privacy type fencing. It is a wooden type fence that has close slabs so no one can look through. They are tall so this is an added bonus. This type of wood will eventually start to rot, so check into a safe wood preservative to make it last a longer time.

Vinyl fencing – this is an expensive alternative to wood fencing, but it can be most attractive and last a longer time. This is a great privacy fence as well that has its slabs close together to insure that it is.

Wrought iron – this can be a very beautiful type of fence around someone’s front yard. It is more for looks than containment as the fencing leaves many wide open spaces between each wrought iron bar.

Brick, stone walls – Magnificently beautiful and very expensive. One might find this type of fencing preventing spying eyes from the most lavish estates. With the proper height, the dog wouldn’t be able to escape this type of enclosure.

Snow fence – I admit, I never heard of this type of fencing before. It is low gauge wire fabric type of fencing which is stretched and installed on brace posts. You can get this fencing 6 feet high. It’s a cheaper fencing and one must be aware that this type of fence is prone to rusting.

Farm fence (or chicken wire) - is the cheapest fencing. It is stretched and installed on brace posts. Like the snow fence, stretching this fence is what gives it its strength. The holes are larger on this type of face so a puppy will be able to put his head through it. This is not a fencing that will enhance the look of your property. However, if you have large acres of land, this is something you might want to consider for the sides and rear of the property. This fencing is prone to corroding over time and must be checked for repairs or replacement.

Hybrid fencing – this is the modular fencing. I use this type for my dog runs. They are chain linked. This type of fence clamps together and if you want to add width or length to the run, you can. Also these are not permanent structures and can be taken with you if you move. Because they are not anchored or permanent one can avoid many zoning codes and regulations.

Invisible fencing – this is when an electric wire is put underground around the perimeter of the property. The dog wears a collar with a receiver. When he gets too close to the edge of the property, the collar begins to beep and then he gets zapped with a mild electric shock. This can run the property owner thousands of dollars. Plus the collar that the dog must wear can run over $300! All this does is MOST of the time prevents the dog from leaving the property. It does not prevent other animals, children or intruders from coming onto the property. And then there are those dogs that will leave the property anyway even though they’ll get zapped for doing so!

So as we can see, there are many types of fencing to choose from depending upon your towns zoning regulations and your budget. Fencing is very expensive and can run into the thousands of dollars, but when you own dogs we have to be aware that if they get out of our property, it may cost us many more thousands of dollars if we get sued. So if we have dogs, we must be sure that they are contained.

My rating: Most of the better fences will do a good job of containment (chain link, stockade, vinyl, etc.): (4), chicken wire, snow fence: (3), brick, stone: (4), invisible fencing: (1)

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