Thursday, December 11, 2008

Keeping your dog safe in the backyard.

I'd like to share with you a few things I've picked up along the way that come in handy as a dog owner. Everyone has their tools and tried-and-true methods, so here are mine.

When someone says that they have an electric fence to keep their dog from jumping over, I shudder. I can't stress this enough: electric fences are dangerous and are NOT an effective tool. Electric collars are designed to zap your dog once it leaves the boundaries of marked fencing. The dog is expected to stay behind the fencing. But what happens when the dog ignores the collar and goes over the fence anyway? An unpleasant surprise and a nasty shock. Not only does it cause physical pain, but can damage a dog psychologically, so much so that they may even be afraid to enter their own backyard. What do I reccommend in place of an electric collar / fence combo?

a) Vigilance. Keep an eye on your dog at all times in the yard.
b) A long lead with which to walk your dog in the backyard (10 ft and excess is good). These leashes are often seen on dogs who are learning recall, or are sometimes used by the conscientious owner to keep a hold on their dog while it's swimming. Note, I don't reccommend you go out and walk your dog with this same leash.
c) A run. If you set up a cable to have your dog tied to, make sure they can move freely with probably a 7 foot lead. Also, make sure your cable is tied securely and away from fences to prevent the chance of accidental hanging. Yes, it happens. A dog can go right over and never reach the ground on the other side. Make sure to provide food, water and shelter as appropriate when the dog is outside.
d) This is the simplest solution of all, but a bit more costly. If your dog is a notorious fence hopper/climber... get new fencing! On average, you should go two to three feet higher than the previous fence, but of course, depending on the dog, you may only need to go a bit higher. Wood is the reccommended material, chain link fencing, not so much. Dogs may get their toes or paws caught and injured.
e) Keep the backyard interesting. Hide treats, play games, stash toys around the yard. Kong balls filled with kibble and treats will keep your dog entertained, and if not, a bone would do good (I like to give my dogs raw shank bones).

A few tips to help you keep your escape artist in the yard. Enjoy! I haven't had internet access the past few days, sorry.

PS: To clear up the confusion: There is no problem between Fugs and I. I'm not quite sure where that comment came from, but it's totally untrue.


DogsDeserveFreedom said...

Good comments about fencing. In my experience, I have found that the electric fencing (aka invisible fence) doesn't work very well for a determined dog. For the average dog, it will work. For the determined dog that runs through the shock to chase the cat and doesn't feel the shock because it is so focused, I find it does the opposite.

Something you may not have considered is ... that dog that just ran through the fence while chasing the cat/squirrel/etc? He has to get back somehow. The shock works both ways. He will get a shock when trying to get in. Now he's learned that if he wants to get the CATCATCAT then he can, but he's not to come home after.

PS - I have to ask ... what comment about Fugs and you??


GoLightly said...

That was me. I'm a meany:(


Jess said...

This is also a great solution for jumpers, be sure to watch the videos!

LegendsLiveOn said...

I know a lot of dogs like that. There isn't a thing in the world that could distract them from what they're focused on, and when they get out, like you said, it's easier to stay outside than get another zap going in.

The comment on FHOTD was that a few others and I made a comment on the VLC not being what we considered breeding material. The argument went both ways; I stated that from the pictures I had seen, the VLC was over at the knee and had already put "oops" foals on the ground with more than questionable results. I said he was cute, but should be gelded, and the board jumped on me. We're all very opinionated on FHOTD, but for the most part, the opinionated people there often have the same opinion on subjects. Hell, I even follow FHOTD religiously. I am usually in agreement with things there, but this time, I got called out for not thinking the VLC was stallion material, and it turned into the assumption that I wanted Cecil to be a horseburger.

GoLightly said...

No, Dog-Gone. In my opinion, anyway, no.
Read carefully. Please?
You can't judge a book by a partial cover:)

Re: your post. A perfect recall is also a must.

"Also, make sure your cable is tied securely and away from fences to prevent the chance of accidental hanging. Yes, it happens. "
OMG, yes. My asshat nightmare neighbour did that to her dog. If I hadn't seen it coming, the dog would have been dead. Unfortunately, by saving her, I was told by the Humane Society, I "should really have let the dog hang". Then they could have charged her with cruelty.
I loved that poor dog. Her idiot owner isn't really what I'd call a human. The dog was PTS by AssHat, two weeks after my Rusty died, in my arms. The dog had been grieving, and the AssHat thought she was in pain. Yes, she was.
I was actually relieved for the dog. She didn't deserve that (ick) person.

DogsDeserveFreedom said...

GoLightly - you make a good point too. A perfect recall is definetely a must.


DogsDeserveFreedom said...

PS - For all the shelter dogs (and my own) I've worked with, the longest it has taken me to teach a trustworthy recall (albeit not perfect, but trustworthy all the same!) was 4 weeks (a senior beagle - go figure).


LegendsLiveOn said...

GL - My neighbour's dog had a cable tied to a stake that is coming out of the cement flooring by his doghouse. He jumped on top of the doghouse, and then up over that fence and was dangling there. I wasn't there to witness it, but fortunately they heard him crying after a while and came out to rescue him. He had ground his nails down practically to the paw pads and was bleeding everywhere. Nasty, nasty.

I thought I put something in there about recall, but I guess not. It's really important... probably the most important command to teach IMO.

That Coyote Roller thing is genius - I should buy it for my farmboy friend. He lost over 30 chickens, 13 ducks, a turkey, a goat, a few peacocks and two geese to coyotes. Unfortunately, I don't think it'd help much until he pretty much replaces the crappy (horrible actually) fencing he has, and I don't think that will happen on their salary.

Megan said...

People also need to keep in mind that an invisible fence doesn't keep OTHER dogs and critters out of your yard and away from your dog... some loose dog with a nasty streak (or a coyote, or a skunk, or...) can easily come 'round and cause serious, possibly lethal, damage. We have Shelties and won't sell puppies into homes that have invisible fencing - with this breed, there's way too much of a risk. A sturdy, well-maintained (and visible!) fence is a wonderful thing.

lifelovepitbulls said...

i actually have electric fencing (it has a setting for the voltage level) and surprisingly enough, it worked pretty well for me. however, i was using it to discourage digging, as i had it set about 6 inches from the ground and 6 inches away from the fence. once he figured out what happened when he tried to dig, he stopped completely, and we stopped having it plugged in. however, could you give me some tips for a female pit bull who won't stop digging no matter what? we keep her busy enough with weight pulling sessions daily, but when i leave her out in the run for an hour or so, she digs out almost immediately. i'm currently burying the bottom of the fence, but is there anything else that would work? it would be nice to have the house quiet for a few hours a day.

Watson said...

Thank you for informative post, really useful for me. keep it up
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