One major benefit of a fenced-in yard is being able to let your four-legged friend out with minimal supervision and without a leash. This is especially nice when it’s raining or cold outside, and it’s a definite time saver on those mornings when Fido wants to sniff each and every tiny hole or plant in the yard, and you really want to get inside to refill your coffee.
Unfortunately, not all fences work for all dogs. If you have a damaged fence–or just the wrong fence–you may want to think twice before letting Fido roam the yard unsupervised. There are some security risks that can make escape easy for your clever pup. Make sure your fence – and by extension your whole yard – is safe for your dog by checking for these common dog fence security risks.
Footholds allow dogs to climb.
Some “open” style fences, specifically chain link, have the downside of spaces that can act as foot holds, which can allow your dog to climb over the fence and jump off. If you opt for an open fence like aluminum rather than a solid privacy fence, make sure the design is really secure from your dog’s perspective. Opt for solid wood or vinyl for the best dog protection.
Items next to your fence act as steps.
Placing items too close to your fence can not only cause damage to the fence due to mold, insect infestation, or root damage, they can also become a launch pad for your pet. Boxes, like those that contain hoses or trash cans, a bike garage, or even a gas meter can act as a large step, possibly leading to your dog running away. Keep landscaping near your fence low. Think flowers or ground covering plants. Large shrubs and trees can make attractive climbing options for adventurous dogs, and are not recommended near fences. Make sure back yard items are placed well away from your fence, so it can do it’s job of protecting your yard and dog.
Space under the fence leads to convenient escapes.
Spaces underneath fence panels may occur when soil shifts or is blown or washed away from an older fence. Widely spaced pickets can pose a similar threat, depending on the size of your dog and how much space there is. A small ray of light or a wafting smell from a neighbor’s yard may be all your pet needs to dig through a once-small space and make it into a big problem. If you have a sloped yard with a stepped fence, you may have large gaps under your fence panels by design. Landscaping or hardscaping your yard appropriately, possibly by including strategically placed plant beds, gravel, or small shrubs, can fill gaps and keep your yard safe. For a sloped property, you may also consider replacing a stepped fence with a contoured fence, which follows the lay of the land.
Damage such as missing boards creates escape opportunities.
A damaged fence can be dangerous for several reasons. Missing boards, or boards that are soft from rot, cracking, or other damage, can create areas where your dog can break through the fence and into the great beyond. If your fence is badly damaged, including rotted or unsteady posts, it’s even possible your dog can knock over an entire panel or section of fence if he’s really determined. Inspect your fence carefully each spring to make sure it’s still in great condition. Follow recommended fence maintenance and see our guide to repairing small issues with your fence.
Faulty latches can be thwarted by clever dogs.
A faulty latch is the perfect escape opportunity for your pet. If you want your yard to be more secure, try placing the latch on the inside, limiting access from outside the fence. This will also prevent anyone from being able to enter your yard and perhaps steal your furry best friend! Of course, if the latch springs open when someone wiggles the gate, anyone can enter your yard, and your dog can exit quite easily. Rusted hardware is also at risk for breaking or becoming stuck in an “open” position. Be sure to inspect any fence or gate hardware while you’re looking at the rest of your fence in the spring, and fix any emergent latch issues immediately before allowing your dog in the yard unsupervised.
Can I get around these security issues with an invisible fence?
Many homeowners view an invisible fence as a good option for keeping their dog in the yard. Without a physical fence structure, you don’t have to worry about landscaping, maintenance, or contouring your fence to fit your terrain. There are some big downsides of an invisible fence, though. First, some dogs will “test” the fence and end up running over the property line anyway. Second, the invisible fence does nothing to dissuade others from entering your yard. Someone with ill intentions can easily get to your dog, and other animals, both dogs and wild animals, will be able to access your dog as well. A wood, vinyl, or aluminum fence provides many additional benefits beyond just keeping your dog contained.
If your fence has any of these risks, or if you’re considering a new fence for your furry family member, we’d love to talk to you about fence options! Contact us for a free quote and be sure to let us know you’re searching for a dog-appropriate fence. Woof!