Create a Fence
Dog Training and Dog Numbers
Contrary to E.B. White’s hilarious essay “Dog Training,” many dogs can be trained to do just about anything. But training is a skill requiring knowledge, patience, and determination. So if you are inclined to train your dog not to challenge a fence, if you know how to do it, and if you are willing to devote the necessary time, then there is a reasonable chance that you will be successful with an electric (shock collar) fence–or at any rate will reduce the intensity of your dog’s urge to escape.
But most people aren’t seasoned trainers. Most people want a fence (unlike an electric fence) that will reliably contain their dog without a lot of special training. Indeed, for most people and most dogs this training requirement is a recipe for failure, one that will leave the dog owner feeling guilty because he or she has somehow failed to administer the full amount of training the fence demands.
A much sounder approach is to keep dog training in reserve. Plan for a barrier fence, if need be one with special features that will counter any pronounced inclinations of your dog to dig, chew, or climb. And use training as a backup — so that if the fence unexpectedly runs into trouble you can apply both training and physical reinforcement of the fence.
Number of Dogs and Changing Dog Populations
What if you have more than one dog? Then you clearly need to plan your fence for anything that any of those dogs will do, and dog training is not necessarily an option. In its most extreme form this is the problem faced by dog shelters and kennels, where outdoor areas must contain a lot of dogs and what’s more a continually changing population. The commonest answer for such institutions is to inatall chain link fencing. But in fact they could often get satisfactory results with a tall metal hexagrid or welded wire fence.