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Containing Your Dog

Keeping your dog in the yard or “restricted area” is not only a good idea; in many instances it’s the law. There are a number of reasons to restrict the movements of your dog. These include safety from vehicle and/or pedestrian traffic, minimizing safety issues associated with roaming dogs, avoidance of possible conflicts with neighbors who may not want to deal with your dog, and problems associated with trespassing on others property.

There are a variety of fencing options and each situation has different requirements that help determine how best to contain your dog. One very popular, but somewhat controversial option is the use of electric fences. Electric fences when used properly, essentially train your dog to stay in the yard. A responder on the dog’s collar gives a warning noise to let him know when he is too close to the fence line and gives a static shock when he contacts that line. Some don't like the idea of shocking their pet as a means of correcting behavior. Knowing your dog is important before choosing an electric fence. Usually the shock is an effective stimulus causing the pet to quickly learn what to avoid. Sensitive pets, however, may find it too harsh.

Conversely, some dogs ignore the shock. Large athletic dogs at times ignore the collar altogether. Also, this may occur if a dog is more concerned with breaking free or chasing another animal than with the sensation the collar gives. This is of particular concern with dogs that normally obey the training and the property boundary thus making escape unexpected. Another concern is that pets with these collars may not be protected from outside intruders. People or other animals have no problem breaking this barrier, which can leave your pet exposed. As such, it is a good idea for outdoor animals to have a safe area to go to. If wild animals or other people pose a threat to your pet, an electric fence probably isn't the best choice. Also, consideration should be given to people entering your yard, and how your dog will react to them. Will a friendly neighbor be safe when coming to visit? One of the most effective uses of electric fences is keeping pets away from forbidden areas such as gardens or pools. If one chooses an electric fence it is a good idea to supervise its use.

Physical or built fences may provide a more secure area, however, they can be costly if there is a large area to enclose. Problems that may be encountered with these fences include dogs able to jump over or dig under to escape. With a good fence and training, however, most dogs will be both well contained and protected. Choosing a type of fence is another variable. The sturdiness, appearance, and price will likely all play a roll in the choice, but there is a range from chain link, to picket, to plastic or fabric fences. A common alternative to fencing in a yard is creating a dog run. This provides a long narrow area for a dog to stay contained yet still exercise resulting in a more affordable and often more convenient option.



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