What is the best dog fence system?
As a Kennel owner and operator, I went straight to heavy 9 gauge chain link Panels for the indoor and outdoor runs. I generally go with panels that are between 10 feet and 15 feet wide with welded vertical tubing every 5 feet for strength. Most of my panels are 10 feet wide because I can use brackets (supplied by the fencing company) to connect them together into any length of fence that I require.
What I especially love about going with panels instead of permanent chain link fencing is that it is portable. You can reconfigure them when your plans change and you can take them with you if you move! I had my fencing custom built by a company called Bestway Fencing (Winnipeg, Manitoba) I am going to give them a high five here as I have been a satisfied customer every time they have built another panel for me.
I had a commercial company custom build them for me based on my measurements. It’s a decision I have never regretted. I see those thin flimsy kennel panels sold in various farm supply stores and I know they are not going to last. The wire gauge of those are usually 11 gauge with lighter tubing and barely any wire ties holding the chain link onto the tubing.
The first thing a determined dog does is work at the wire along the bottom. Within hours, a determined dog will have stretched an opening that he or she can squeeze out through. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to repair stretched out chain link fencing to the point where it looks good again.
I also discourage the common permanent type of chain link fencing with no frame along the bottom, sometimes just a string of wire. This type of fence is very vulnerable to being stretched out by a dog wanting to get out… with a fence like this, that dog will succeed. An additional level of security would be to attach some electrified wire, very easy to do with chain link.
Gates and padlocks
Don’t overlook the importance of a secure gate and the latch, those can be the weak link in an otherwise strong and secure fence. I prefer my gates to be wide enough to get my garden tractor through but most of you living in towns and cities, don’t have to have equipment like that.
A 3 1/2 feet wide gate is sufficient in most cases. I have always designed my chain link 6 feet high gates within a 7 foot frame so a taller person won’t bump his head going though. Even with a wood fence, I recommend you get a chain link gate panel, they will never sag or rot.
A wood gate to match your fence is nice for awhile until it sags or lifts like mine did. Make sure to buy a latch that you can lock with a padlock. This will prevent people from accessing your yard without your permission but also will keep your dog in. Many dogs are quite proficient at opening a gate latch, one of my dogs sure is. He can open an un padlocked latch in seconds!. My fencing builder provides me with a simple lifting latch with a hole on the underside for a padlock.
A common question is how tall should my dog fence be?
Fences should be 6 feet high at a minimum, even for small dogs. Why? While a small dog is secure in a fence that is 4 feet high from the inside… what about a large dog (stray or neighbouring dog) jumping over your 4 foot fence into your yard? Your smaller dog or puppy would be very vulnerable and could possibly be injured or even killed!
Stay with 6 feet high, no matter the size. If you have a dog that climbs… rig up an electric fence along the top, hooked up to a fence charger like we horse owners have to do to keep our horses in. I have a couple of other options for climbers down below.
Fences made of wood are beautiful when they are carefully stained or painted and generally maintained. They are more expensive but provide privacy as well as security. I started off with both wood fencing and chain link (for my perimeter fencing) but have been gradually replacing all the wood with the chain link.
I got tired of warped and rotting wood issues and scraping/staining the boards every couple of years! Posts will sometimes lift up, taking the whole fence with it during a very wet year.
Water underneath pushes up and the posts do not come back down! Now you have a space along the bottom where your dog can get out! What do you do? What I did was, I placed a board along the bottom, horizontally, as the rest of my fence was made up of boards going vertical (up and down). This worked at first but when we had another very wet year, the posts were pushed up again, now I had to run two boards along the bottom! Yikes! This year, I just pulled that section of wood fencing down and put up custom made chain link panels. The chain link panels are tightly attached together and supported with posts every 8-10 feet or so. They are easily adjustable in the event of the posts moving up. Problem solved.
Dog Digging out
Now even if your dog cannot jump or climb over your fence, there is always digging out. I have rarely had this problem in my kennel facility because I keep the dogs busy and they don’t get so bored that digging out becomes an issue.
Some dogs here just like to dig for fun and that can get annoying, filling up holes so I don’t trip into one. My favorite way of discouraging digging is putting dog poo into the holes and lightly covering them back up. This works with the majority of dogs but not all.
However, for extra security on some of my runs, that I had designated as being strictly for outdoor dogs (farm dogs generally), I placed 12 inch square patio blocks (or pieces of other larger blocks) made of concrete all along the bottom edge of the panels (inside the kennel). The dogs could dig holes but not close to the fence.
Another idea is to place a barrier into the ground at the base of your fencing, for those persistent diggers or escape artists. The only product that I have found, that is easy to install is DIG DEFENCE.
If you have a climber on your hands
some handy dog owners are making the no climb topper (from Pinterest) and attaching to either a wood or chain link system. Photo on the right. This will not work with all dogs and certainly will not work with cats (if that is also your fence’s purpose).
In summary, the most affordable & best dog fence systems for backyard fencing are 9 gauge chain link fencing panels, 6 feet high, double tied along the bottom or a solid wood fence, also 6 feet high (using vertical boards). My advice regarding wood, do not make the fence with horizontal boards with spaces inbetween, it’s too easy for a climbing sort of dog to use your fence as a ladder to climb out. I won’t cover other more expensive kinds of fencing like concrete, brick, melamine, steel etc. as they are just too cost prohibitive for most of us and really are not necessary in creating a secure fence for your dogs.
to the Post Indoor Dog versus Outdoor dog
to the Post What is Separation Anxiety in Dogs?