GIMME SHELTER- Fido fencing: Safe, secure, room to run!

Misty Mundie
Pet Supplies Plus

Q: I want to start keeping my dog outside when I'm away. What kind of enclosures do you recommend?

A: Deciding what kind of outdoor enclosure to get depends on the dog. It's also important that your dog have enough space to get sufficient exercise, and that the enclosure be safe and secure. If you have a large energetic dog– or more than one dog– you may want to consider installing a chain link fence or an invisible fence. For smaller dogs, a small fenced area or pen may be enough. If your dog is really small– say between 8 and 10 pounds– and you're worried about the dog's safety, you can also buy large kennels pens with enclosed tops from Tractor Supply. 

Of course, some people choose to put their dogs on a run or tie them up, but we don't recommend that because it's too confining, makes dogs anxious, and causes them to bark. [And City Council is considering a ban on tying up dogs for over 10 hours a day–editor.]

If you decide to install a fence, make sure it's high enough and close to the ground so the dog can't easily escape. Some people even choose to put invisible fencing around their fences to keep dogs from escaping. Don't worry so much about burying the fence in the ground. As long as dogs have plenty of food and water, and something to play with or chew, they won't dig around the fence. 

If you decide to install an invisible fence, you can either have it installed professionally or buy a kit at your local pet supply store. The fence kits are fairly easy to install and allow you to set the shock level to suit your dog. After you've buried and marked the boundaries of your invisible fence with the included flags, simply walk your dog along the flagged area. Once the dog knows she'll be shocked every-time she crosses over, she'll learn instinctively where the boundaries are, and you can remove the flags. 

Of course, once your dog becomes an outdoor dog, barking may become a problem. Make sure the dog has plenty of food and water and something to play with. If that doesn't work, you can buy barking control devices that go around the dog's neck. Some deliver a shock when the dog barks, while others emit a spray or sound an alarm only the dog can hear.  

Misty Mundie