dogs outside Blog

You love your dog and would probably do anything to keep him safe!  In order to give your dog the best life possible, it is crucial to find a way to keep him contained in your yard and out of undesirable locations. Luckily, depending on your specific situation there are many great ways that you can do this. Options include a physical fence, an electronic fence, and boundary training. Each of these methods has its advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to think about all of your options before making your choice.

Physical Fencing

Physical fences generally provide the best peace of mind to dog owners.  A good physical fence should keep your dog in and other things out of your yard. There are a large variety of physical fences available and it is important to consider both height and material.  For medium to large sized dogs, we would recommend a physical fence that is at least 5-6 feet tall. This should help prevent the dog from being able to jump over the fence.  The fence should also reach as close to the ground as possible to make it harder for your dog to burrow under it.  When looking at materials, don’t just go with the cheapest.  Some inexpensive wood fences can easily be broken by a large dog.   If you go with a picket type fence make sure to consider the amount of space between pickets of the fence.  If the space is too large dogs can quickly escape.  A small dog can get through an amazingly small space!  This can become a large issue if you have an HOA that restricts the type of fence that you can have.  

There are definitely some draw back to physical fences.  The biggest one is often the cost. Installation for a quarter acre yard will generally start around $4500 and go up from there. In addition to the installation it is important to think about upkeep.  You will need to ensure the fence stays in good shape so that the dog remains contained by it.  This could mean additional costs each year.

Another problem we often see when dog owners have physical fences is that they do less training than they would otherwise.  Dogs are often left to act up in the back yard because it is their safe place.  It is important to teach the dog how you expect them to act while in the yard.  Teach them not to bark at everyone, not to fence fight with the neighbor dog, not to try and jump the fence, not to dig out of it and not to run out of the gate.  Having a physical fence should not be an excuse ignore your dog’s undesirable behaviors!  

Electronic Fencing

Electronic fencing has become a very popular option for keeping dogs safely contained at home. Most electronic fence systems work by burying a wire around the perimeter of the yard. This wire emits a radio signal that is picked up by a collar on your dog. When the dog comes close to the signal a stimulus is provided and your dog will return to your yard. For the typical well behaved dog, an electronic fence is an excellent solution. One of the biggest benefits of an electronic fence is that installation is quick and very cost effective compared to a physical fence. Electronic fences keep your yard feeling open and spacious, as well as complying with most HOA requirements.

Layout options are almost endless with electronic fences.  You can create a simple full perimeter layout that gives your dog access to your whole property or you can create multiple zones.  These zones can limit your dog to certain spaces at certain times.  You could generally leave your dog in the backyard, but also have the option of letting him play in the front yard on certain occasions. The benefit to this option is knowing exactly where your dog is at all times. Do you have an herb garden or a pool that you don’t want the dog getting into?  You can block off certain areas inside the main fence perimeter, something that is far more complicated with a physical fence.   Installation is completed on average in about 4 hours and should have a minimum impact on your property.

One of the most important elements of an electronic fence is the training that goes along with it. Before an electronic fence is installed you should let your trainer/installer know  if your dog guards the yard. If the dog has a tendency to become territorial towards visitors, these issues should be dealt with prior to a fence being installed. Once it has been determined that the dog’s attitude is appropriate for a fence we can move on to establishing the boundaries. We are firm believers in ensuring that a dog understands something before we expect them to do it. For that reason it is important to focus on teaching the dog what the system is and how it works before you give them freedom in the yard. Training should be a stress free process for both you and your dog.

A large drawback to electronic fencing is that many owners do not have the same peace of mind that physical fence owners do.  Even when your dog is perfectly trained and will not venture out of the containment zone there is nothing to prevent other animals or people from coming into your yard. For this reason we always encourage anyone with an electronic fence to keep a close eye on their dog while they are outside.

Boundary Training (with no physical or electronic barrier)

This type of training teaches your dog the boundaries of the yard with no actual fence.  The huge advantage is that you do not need to spend money on either an electronic or physical fence.  Your yard will still look exactly the same as it did before.  It will however require a lot of work on your part to ensure your dog is contained.

Dogs are smart, and with training they can learn just about anything.  We have trained thousands of dogs to understand that they are not supposed to leave the yard regardless of what is happening outside of it.  We start off by showing the dog what the boundaries are. It is easiest to achieve this if there are some clear visual cues that the dog can learn; the edge of a driveway, a row of bushes, or a flower bed. After the dog learns the boundary we teach them that they are not supposed to cross it without us telling them it is okay.  Once they learn this, we will introduce distractions outside of the boundary and practice ensuring that the dog does not leave the yard.

This type of containment requires lots of training and time to ensure that your dog becomes respectful of their boundaries. One of the main advantages to this route is that your dog will become very well trained throughout the process.  Both electronic fences and physical fences allow owners to easily ignore some bad behavior, but this route will force you to fix it.  In our book, that is a great thing!

Let us Help you Decide

We can certainly help you decide what containment solution is best suited for you and your dog.  Each option has its pros and cons and not every option is right for every dog.  As long as you choose wisely, your dog will be very happy with your choice to allow them to run free and be safe in their yard. Regardless of the option you choose, we always encourage obedience training to go along with containment.  The more training you do, the happier you and your dog will be!

Sevvy
Sevvy
Female
3 years old
Terrier Mix

Hi, I'm Sevvy. I was recently returned because I did not get along with the young children in my home. It's such a shame really. My family said I am a great dog. I am housebroken, crate trained and know lots of commands. I need to live in an adult only home with no other pets. I am active and need an active home that can challenge me and give me all of the exercise and attention I need. I am smart and treat motivated and would excel at obedience training. I'm fun loving but I'm also a snuggler when the mood strikes. I will make a great dog for the right family situation. Stop by and visit me soon!

 
LeelaLeela
Female
3 years old
Redbone Coonhound

Hi I'm Leela, an active, independent lady looking for her forever home. I'm friendly and really like to be around people, but I also like to run around and do my own thing. I can keep myself busy by exploring the world around me, scents and smells are fantastic! I have been learning basic commands and love the structure of obedience training. It would be good for me to continue training in my new home with calm, confident guidance from my new family. Because of my energy level, I would do best in an active home that will work on giving me plenty of exercise and stimulation. Since I never got to learn good house manners when I was a pup, I need an experienced owner who will be able to work on things like house and crate training. I would do best in a home with kids 10 years or older. I'm good with other dogs but no cats for me.

 
GeronimoGeronimo
Male
2 years old
Black and White

Hi, I'm Geronimo! They say cats are either tree dwellers or bush dwellers. I'm definitely a tree dweller. I like to be up high so I can see everything that's going on below. I'm a bit on the shy side at first, but I love a good wand toy, so that's a good way for us to get to know each other. I'm good with other cats, never met a dog and would probably be happiest in a home with older (if any) kids. My life had a rough start outdoors, but I am ready to live the life of a pampered pet!

 
 
Muchacho 2Muchacho
Male
6 years old
Orange Tabby w/White

Hey, I'm Muchacho, and I am anything but mischievous! In fact, I am a big teddy bear. I like to be held and cuddled and I even give kisses! I'm not the kind of cat to run away when people come over. I like to be part of day-to-day activities. No dogs for me, though....I get all poofed up around them, trying to scare them away with my imitation of a Halloween cat. I would be fine around cats, though. I like to play with the kittens here. I like to "daddy" them. I hope my winning personality gets me adopted soon - I miss having a family of my own.

Wally HorizontalWhen we received the email from a rescue in Oklahoma, asking us to help with Wally, we immediately said yes. It didn’t matter that he was a special needs dog that was missing one of his front legs. One look into those soulful eyes and we knew we couldn’t turn our back on him. He deserved to find a home of his own.

The rescue said Wally was found running loose; they had no idea how he came to lose his front leg. Maybe he was hit by a car or suffered some other sort of trauma. We will never know - but we do know is that Wally is a sweet dog with an amazing personality. He is so outgoing and friendly. Wally loves everyone he meets!

After Wally arrived we took him to our vet to have an overall check up. What they found was not good news. Wally’s remaining front leg is loaded with arthritis and it is very painful for him to walk. Because he tries to compensate for the pain, Wally has also done damage to his spine. Who knows how long the poor guy has been suffering? To make matters worse, Wally tested positive for a tick borne disease.

The vet immediately put Wally on anti-inflammatories, pain medication, supplements and antibiotics. The antibiotics are short term and will take care of the tick borne disease. The pain medication and supplements are for life. Wally will also have to be fitted for a cart which he will need to use when he goes outside for playtime and walks. This will alleviate the stress and pain on his front leg and his back. He will also benefit from regular chiropractic and acupuncture. As you can imagine, all of this will be very expensive and will really take a toll on our medical fund, which is already stretched thin.

Through everything, Wally remains a happy, loving, boy with a tail that never stops wagging. Even though he is in pain, he never gives up and we will never give up on him. He is a gentle soul that deserves a chance at a happy life. Can you help us give Wally a happy ending?

At West Suburban Humane Society we never turn our back on an animal in need. Wally will get whatever he needs to make him comfortable and give him a good quality of life. But we can’t do it without your help. Your generous donation enables us to pay for treatment for dogs like Wally and many more just like him. Here are a few others we've recently helped:

Jack is a 6 year old Labrador Retriever who came to us in search of a new family. When he arrived, we discovered he had tears in the ACLs of both legs, hookworm, lungworm, a mast cell tumor, and a broken canine tooth with pulp exposure. Thankfully Jack has received most surgeries and has recovered nicely.

 

 

Jack Friends

Domino was hit by a car and needed surgery to repair a broken leg. Unfortunately her owner could not afford the surgery and decided to relinquish custody of her to us. We immediately rushed her into successful surgery and once she was healed, Domino was adopted into her forever home!

Samson was surrendered to us by his owner who could no longer take care of him. We noticed quickly that Samson needed his hips replaced, and one surgery is already in the books. His other hip will be replaced once he has healed from the first surgery and when completely healed, he will be made available for adoption!

Natalie was brought to us as a stray and when she arrived, we found out that she also needed hip surgery. Thankfully her hip has completely healed and she is waiting to find her forever home. Stop by and meet her today!

We were able to afford these wonderful animals' expensive surgeries thanks to donors like you. Unfortunately, some still need more treatments, as do hundreds of animals in Chicagoland. Our mission here at West Suburban is to help animals other organizations won’t, giving cats and dogs like Wally hope for a healthy life and a chance to find a forever home. Each one of these animals is special, and each deserves our help. Without continued funding, we won’t be able to fulfill our mission, and animals like Wally will not get the treatments they desperately need. 

Please consider giving a gift today, and help us to continue our important work - rescuing and rehabilitating Chicagoland’s most needy animals!

 

Meet Jack! Jack is a 6 year old Labrador Retriever who came to us in search of a new family. When he arrived, we discovered he had tears in the ACLs of both legs, hookworm, lungworm, a mast cell tumor, and a broken canine tooth with pulp exposure. Thankfully Jack has received most surgeries and has recovered nicely.

We were able to afford Jack's expensive surgeries, totaling over $10,000, thanks to donors like you. Unfortunately, Jack still needs more treatments, as do hundreds of animals in Chicagoland. Our mission here at West Suburban is to help animals other organizations won’t, giving cats and dogs like Jack hope for a healthy life and a chance to find a forever home. Each one of these animals is special, and each deserves our help. Without continued funding, we won’t be able to fulfill our mission, and animals like Jack will not get the treatments they desperately need. Here are a few we've recently helped . . .

Donate to WSHS

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