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    Choosing the Best Fence for Your Dog

    Authored by Carol J. Alexander

    Outdoor playtime is vital for your dog’s health and happiness. But, since thousands of unrestrained dogs are hit by cars on the roadways each year, it’s crucial to have a safe and secure place for your pet to run free. The best way to ensure that is with a fenced-in yard.

    Dog fence makes your life easier, too. There’s freedom for the pet owner when you can let your furry friend outside to romp, explore, expend pent-up energy, and do their business without being tethered to your side. But what is the best fence for your dog? 

    In this article, we’ll look at things to consider before choosing a dog fence, the best types of fencing for dogs, and matching your dog with the best fence for him.

    Things to consider when choosing a dog fence

    Dog’s personality

    Just like people, dogs have personalities that make them unique. Some like to run and play, while others are couch potatoes. Others will scale a wall while their cousins can barely hop on the couch. Since every fence is different, it makes sense to match the type of fence and materials with your pet's needs.

    Your family

    If you have children and want the fence to do double duty, an underground electric fence is not for you. On the other hand, if you’re concerned about appearances, you want to choose something that complements your outdoor living space. No matter your lifestyle and family dynamics, there is a best dog fence for you.

    Neighborhood regulations

    If you live in an area with a homeowners’ association, it may have rules concerning fencing. Always check those rules before investing in fencing materials. Also, take a look around the neighborhood. You don’t want your fence to stand out and be perceived as an eyesore by your neighbors. If the residents of your community have decorative metal fences around their backyards, a welded wire farm fence won’t fit in. Finally, let your neighbors know what you’re up to. Adjacent property owners always appreciate a heads-up on these types of matters.

    Lay of the land

    If your property has challenges like woods, water, or rocky soil, think about where you can install a fence and the best option for that type of setting.

    Matching the fence to the dog

    Fence height

    There’s no way a teacup Yorkie will soar over a 6-foot privacy fence. But a greyhound may. Some dogs are known climbers and can climb a six-foot fence with ease. Others don’t really care what’s on the other side. Knowing your dog and his breed will tell you the best height fence for your yard. 

    Slat spacing

    You may think the 4-foot picket fence will keep your small breed out of the road until he squeezes between the slats to chase the squirrel on the other side. But, unfortunately, small dogs need something solid to keep them in.

    Distance to ground

    Speaking of squeezing, if your dog would fit between pickets, he could also fit underneath. Choosing a fence that installs flush to the ground is the best option for your furry friend. And if he digs, choose a metal or chain link fence so you can bury it a few inches in the ground.

    Climb proof material

    If your dog climbs, you want a material that doesn’t give him a toe hold. The vertical bars of metal and wrought-iron fences are smooth enough to deter climbing. Vinyl fences are slippery, too. For climbers, avoid chain link and welded wire.

    Best types of fencing for your dog

    Chain Link

    Chain link is constructed of heavy, galvanized wires woven together in a zig-zag. It’s a sturdy material that lasts a long time. 

    Pros of chain link fence

    • Great for small yards
    • Allows air circulation
    • Long-lasting and sturdy
    • Minimal maintenance

    Cons of chain link fence

    • Labor intensive to install
    • No privacy
    • Dogs can climb
    • Not aesthetically pleasing

    Privacy panels

    Privacy fence panels typically come in 6-foot heights, which is necessary if you have a jumper. They also come in wood or vinyl, with multiple styles.

    Pros of privacy fence panels

    • Adds curb appeal
    • Provides privacy for the family
    • Adds security
    • Perfect for large breeds
    • Vinyl comes in many different colors

    Cons of privacy fence panels

    • Not great for hilly areas
    • Dogs can dig under
    • Requires regular maintenance
    • Labor intensive to install


    Metal fencing material comes in several forms. Decorative wrought iron fencing is strong and can last hundreds of years, but it is also the most costly option. However, you can get the same style in easy-to-install painted aluminum picket panels that are more affordable. Welded or woven wire field fencing is another metal option but is best suited for rural locations and farms due to its appearance. But if you want the security of the grids field fencing provides, powder-coated steel fence panels are an attractive alternative.

    Pros of metal fence

    • Comes in a variety of styles
    • Lasts a long time
    • A style for all types of dogs
    • Options for small and large properties
    • Decorative styles add curb appeal

    Cons of metal fence

    • Some styles are challenging to install
    • More costly than most options

    Wired electric fence

    Electric fencing for dogs consists of a buried wire emitting a radio signal. A receiver on the dog’s collar picks up the signal and produces a warning sound when the dog approaches. If the dog continues toward the boundary, the receiver delivers a mild electric shock. 

    Wireless electric fence

    Alternatively, some electric dog fences include an electric transmitter that produces a wireless signal received by the dog’s collar. This fence style doesn’t require burying a wire, and you can take it on vacation.

    Because electric dog fences correct negative behavior rather than reinforce positive behavior, they’re a controversial topic. However, their pros seem to outnumber the cons.

    Pros of electric dog fences

    • Can be used for any size of yard
    • No visible barrier to block the view
    • Doesn’t create an obstacle to the lawnmower
    • Can contain all sizes of dogs
    • Require minimal maintenance

    Cons of electric dog fences

    • Doesn’t contain children
    • A costly option
    • Doesn’t provide privacy
    • Requires training
    • Wired models require labor-intensive installation

    Read more about electric fences with our Electric Dog Fences 101.

    Alternatives to fencing for dogs

    GPS collar

    If the idea of an electric fence intrigues you, but the work of burying a cable doesn’t, you may like to try a GPS smart dog collar instead. These collars work with a phone app where you can set boundaries for your dog using GPS coordinates. Then, when the dog approaches the limits, he receives a customizable notification to turn around. 

    Chain link kennel

    Many veterinarians and trainers recommend crate-training puppies. Once the puppy matures, he sees his crate as a safe place during family activities. And the family looks at the crate as a safe place to keep their furry friend when they’re not at home. But, if you’re gone all day, a crate may be too confining. That’s why many pet owners choose an outdoor dog kennel. Placing the kennel in a shaded area with shelter and plenty of water keeps the dog safe and secure, with a bit of room to move around.

    Once you know your dog and his personality, you can choose the perfect pet fencing option for him and your family. Find everything you need in our latest fencing and gate catalog.

    More fencing knowledge

    Make sure you have all the supplies and tools you need for your fencing project. Get lists for wooden, metal, electric, and vinyl DIY fences.
    Planning a fence can seem daunting. Follow these steps to get your fence project planned and on the way.