If your family includes a dog (or multiple dogs), one of your first priorities upon moving to a new house may be fencing in the backyard. Sure, it’s not difficult to take the dog out for a walk in the morning and a couple times in the evening when you return home from work, but it is convenient to be able to open the back door and let the dog out on his own for a few minutes.

Some dogs are more curious about the world outside the fence than others, however, and without proper planning, you may end up taking several walks through the neighborhood looking for your beloved canine escapee. Read on for some tips to help you create an escape-proof, dog-friendly yard.

Know Your Dog’s Habits

Think about what you know of your dog’s temperament and your neighborhood—these two considerations will play a large part in your fence decision. How big is your dog? A small dog may have a harder time jumping over a tall fence than a larger dog, but if your dog is a digger or a climber, the height of the fence may be a secondary consideration. Is your dog calm around people but reactive around other dogs? When you take your dog on walks, does he want to greet every passerby? Does your dog patrol the house and bark at anything that moves outside? Do your neighbors also have dogs? Are there lots of small children who live and play on your street? Do you live in an area with a healthy wildlife population? Understanding how your dog reacts to different stimuli will help you create an escape-proof yard.

Choose the Right Fence

Ornamental wrought iron or aluminum fencing. If your dog is not bothered by being able to see vehicles, people, and other animals, look into an ornamental wrought iron or aluminum fence. Wrought iron, while expensive, is attractive and long lasting. Aluminum can now be fabricated to look like wrought iron, but it is lighter and more affordable. As long as the vertical bars of the fence extend all the way to the ground (or are buried to deter diggers) and are placed closely enough together to prevent small, skinny dogs from weaseling through, even the most determined dogs will have a difficult time escaping.

Field fencing. If you have a relatively large area to enclose, or if you want to minimize visual obstructions on your property, field fencing may be a good option to consider. Commonly used on farms, this type of wire fencing is designed to be difficult, if not impossible, for animals to climb, and it is relatively easy to install. Once installed, the wire is difficult to see from a distance, so if you plan to fence only part of a large piece of land, field fencing is an option that will not visually break up the property.

Wooden privacy fencing. A wooden privacy fence is the best fence for dogs who are reactive or if you live in an urban or suburban neighborhood with close neighbors and lots of activity. In areas with homeowners’ associations and neighborhood covenants, privacy fencing may be the only option. Provided that the boards are maintained and replaced if any holes appear, a wooden privacy fence will keep your dog safe from any activity on the other side of the fence. He will still be able to hear what’s going on, of course, but kids and other animals won’t be able to tease him. And as long as you keep any dog houses, yard equipment, play structures, or wood piles away from the fence, wooden privacy fences are virtually impossible for a dog to climb and jump over.

Chain-link fencing. Chain-link fencing is typically the least expensive fence option you’ll encounter, but it may not be ideal for your dog. Because the fabric of a chain-link fence is woven in a relatively wide pattern, there is no visual barrier between your yard and the outside world. In other words, your dog will be able to see everything that goes on outside the fenced area. Depending on your dog’s temperament, this can lead to barking, patrolling, and other unwanted behavior. The woven fabric of a chain-link fence also lends itself to climbing. Just as a chain-link fence provides footholds for people, it does the same for dogs.  


If you have installed what you think is an escape-proof fence, but you still find yourself periodically chasing your dog around the neighborhood, you may need to augment the fence with another type of barrier.

Jumping. If your dog is jumping over the fence, consider planting tall bushes or hedges along the inside of the fence. This will prevent the dog from getting too close to the fence to begin with, and it will also hinder any jumping attempts that begin with a running start.  

Climbing. If your dog is climbing a chain-link, field, or other type of woven wire fence, try lining the fence with rolls of bamboo or reed fencing. This will prevent the dog from seeing any outside activity, and it will also cover the open weave of the original fence.

Digging. If your dog is digging underneath the fence, you may need to do some digging of your own. One option is to dig a trench just inside the existing fence and bury wire fencing that has been bent at a 90-degree angle. If you know that your dog is a persistent digger before the fence is installed, you (or the fence installer) may need to sink the bottoms of the fence slats or boards into concrete that has been poured along the planned fence line.     

There are almost as many fencing ideas for dogs as there are breeds of dogs—and depending on your property and your dog’s personality, you may need a combination of barriers to keep your pooch safe. Take some time to assess both your property and your dog’s behavior, and consider working with a Best Pick fence contractor who can help you develop the best solution to keep your dog happy and safe in your yard.

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