Which Type of Fencing Is Best for Your Dog?

If you're a new dog owner, you may be faced with a dilemma you haven't had to deal with before: yard fencing. Here's a look at three common types of fencing for pet owners, so you can compare their advantages and disadvantages.

Wooden Fencing

Wooden fencing is available in a variety of styles, most commonly stockade and picket fencing. This type of fence is probably the most visually appealing of all types of physical barriers. However, wooden fencing can be very expensive because of the maintenance involved in keeping it up (painting, staining, etc.). Plastic or resin fencing designed to look like wood is often not sturdy enough to keep in anything but the smallest of dogs.

Some homeowners associations and covenants do not allow wooden fencing because it blocks views, or they only allow specific heights. If you have a height limitation, make sure to consider the size of your dog, and make sure it can't jump it. While a low fence may work when the dog is a puppy, it may not contain the dog when it's full grown.

Picket fencing must be chosen so your dog cannot squeeze through the pickets or get stuck attempting to do so. Some very strong dogs can break pickets and create gaps in the fence through which they can escape. Pickets may also be attractive to compulsive chewers.

Stockade fencing may frustrate barkers who can't see what's on the other side, but it does keep out squirrels, cats, and other small animals that may torment your pets. Stockade fencing is probably best for large dogs that need complete visual screening and won't bark at mysterious noises, while picket fencing works for medium-sized dogs who won't chew it or become obsessed with things they can't reach on the other side.

Chain Link Fence

Chain link fence is a popular choice for dog owners for a number of reasons. While it is more utilitarian in its design, it now comes in powder coated models that blend in with the landscaping to look more attractive. It also allows dogs to see beyond the yard for entertainment and guard purposes.

Chain link fence will keep many small critters out of your yard, but it can keep your cats in, if you have felines as well as canines who like to mingle in your yard.

If your dog creates barking or other nuisance problems only along one part of the fence because of a neighbor's dog or kids, for example, you can screen off that area by running strips through the chain link or planting in front of it. Bamboo or closely planted evergreens make an ideal cover to thwart fenceline problems. If your dog is likely to dig under the fence, chain link fencing is easily installed below ground level to prevent escape.

Electric Fencing

If no fencing is allowed on your property or if you wish to have uninterrupted views beyond your yard, you may want to try electric fencing. Electric fencing discourages dogs from leaving your property boundaries by giving it a small shock on a collar it wears whenever in the yard.

Electric fencing works well for some dogs, while for others it is merely an irritation they must endure to gain freedom from the yard. Also, electric fencing can be chewed or unearthed by your dogs or by squirrels and chipmunks, and it won't keep other pets from coming on your property, which can be a tease for your dogs.

If you do decide to use electric fencing, try to always use the lowest shock setting for your dog. You may even be able to deactivate the system once your dog is trained and just use the presence of the collar to deter your dog from leaving the yard.

Whichever form of fencing you choose, congratulate yourself on taking a responsible step in the care of your pets. For more information about each type of fencing above, contact a fencing contractor to discuss costs, installation requirements, and how the fencing will work best for you, your pets, and your yard.