Updated On

April 27, 2024

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    Many dog owners dream of having a fenced in yard for their furry friends to run free. A stylish, high-quality fence can also add to a home’s curb appeal while making it a safer space for our beloved pets. Best of all, we’ll have peace of mind knowing our dogs are out of harm’s way and not running amuck as neighborhood nuisances.

    If you’re on the hunt for a dependable dog fence, whether to keep your dog in or even keep other dogs off your property, we’ve got you covered. This guide discusses important factors, features, and materials to consider while fence shopping. We’ll explain why certain dogs need different features, then give you the scoop on some of the best fencing solutions on the market.

    Factors and Features to Consider When Choosing a Dog Fence

    The most important part of buying a dog fence is finding one that suits your specific pet’s needs. Some dogs are likely to attempt a jailbreak from even the most secure enclosures, while others need no convincing to stay right on their home turf. No matter which kind of dog you have, taking time to examine its needs and behaviors can make a big difference in your new fence’s success.

    Here are some common factors to consider when choosing a fence for your dog:


    Your dog’s digging is an instinctual canine behavior dating back to its wolf ancestors. Some dogs dig for fun, while others shovel up mounds of dirt searching for prey underground. Terrier breeds, in particular, have been bred and trained for centuries to dig through underground tunnels for hunting.

    In short, your dog’s digging behaviors are completely natural. However, it’s still incredibly frustrating when your newly installed fence does nothing to contain your superstar digger.

    Choose a dig-proof fence if your dog is no stranger to pawing up mounds of dirt around your yard. Dig-proof designs have underground wiring or horizontal stakes that extend from the base of the fence, preventing your dog from digging a straight shot out.

    These fencing features, called L-footers, can be made from various materials in your garden shed. The American Kennel Club (AKC) suggests using chicken wire, chain links, or hardware cloth to construct a DIY L-footer. For more headstrong diggers, you might need to pour a concrete footer at the base of the fence for added protection.

    Jumping and Climbing

    Dog parents with high-flying escape artists will likely need a tall fence to keep their buddies contained. Large dog breeds like greyhounds, vizslas, and border collies are talented jumpers that can easily scale a fence. Other dogs may use the fence’s bars or links to climb out. In this case, the height of the barrier won’t matter. Check out fence options and tools that discourage jumping and climbing to keep your dog from escaping or injuring itself.


    The AKC provides the following ideas for escape-proofing your fence:

    • Add an L-footer or lean-in to the top of the fence.
    • Remove objects around the fence that could aid your escape artist in climbing out – wood piles, dog houses, trash cans, lawn chairs, etc.
    • Plant shrubs around the inner perimeter of the fence to prevent your dog from a running start.
    • Invest in coyote rollers for your fence; these tools roll when the dog steps on them, preventing it from getting a solid foothold. They also keep animals from entering your lawn, which is crucial to keeping your pet safe.

    Slat Size

    Depending on your dog’s breed, you’ll need to select a slat size that’s small enough to keep your buddy inside. Smaller dogs like chihuahuas, Pomeranians, and Yorkies can easily slip through an opening of 4 inches. When choosing a fence, determine whether your dog could squeeze through any section, including underneath it, through the slats, or between the gate latch.

    If your pal isn’t prone to digging, you can block the opening underneath the fence with a layer of gravel or mulch. Or, try a fence design with short pickets for dogs small enough to squeeze between vertical slats. These features, sometimes called puppy panels, are short stakes installed between a fence’s slats to contain little critters.


    Types of Dog Fences

    Now that you know some key features to look for while dog fence shopping, it’s time to explore the many fencing materials available. Selecting a fence affects your pet’s safety and your home’s curb appeal, so understanding all of your options is crucial.

    To help you select the best option for your home and pet, we’ll cover the pros and cons of different types of fences.

    Metal Fences

    Metal fencing is one of the most basic dog fence options available. Materials such as chain links, wire mesh, and aluminum are widely accessible, meaning you can find all the materials you need with a trip to your local improvement store.

    According to GreatFence.com, aluminum fencing is an excellent choice for dog owners. Aluminum fences are constructed with sturdy aluminum posts connected with backer rails. These fences are typically around 6 feet tall, making them a solid option for homeowners with large dogs or high jumpers.

    Chain-link fences, or mesh wire fences, are another popular metal fencing material for dogs. However, the widespread installation of these fences doesn’t make them the best choice for containing pesky pooches. Chain-link fences consist of interlocking metal wires stretched across metal posts. Although the links are sturdy and relatively weather resistant, they create a ladder for dogs to climb. Opt for material without links or horizontal planks if you don’t want your pup to have a field day climbing up and over your newly installed fence.

    Wood Fence

    Wood is the most common fencing material because of its affordability and versatility. It comes in horizontal and vertical orientations and countless color variations, allowing for endless aesthetic possibilities. One popular wooden style, the picket fence, consists of vertical boards with pointed tips.

    Picket fences are attractive and decorative, but will they contain your dog?

    Picket fences are generally shorter and have larger spaces between the boards. This means a large dog could easily jump the fence, and a small dog may wiggle its way through the slats. Depending on your dog, a picket fence may be a perfectly suitable option. If your buddy is laid-back or generally uninterested in leaving the yard, it’ll likely do well with most fence designs, including the picket.

    Privacy Fences

    Privacy fences are perfect for homeowners seeking a shield from nosy neighbors and peeping passersby. They’re 4 to 6 feet tall, have slatless panels, and typically consist of sturdy wood or vinyl for a solid appearance.

    Privacy fences are a great choice for homeowners seeking a reliable dog fence. Dogs are less likely to jump over such a tall fence, especially if they can’t readily see what’s on the other side. At the same time, wild animals and neighborhood dogs are less likely to visit your lawn if it has a tall, solid structure blocking the way. Check out our article to see ways to deter dogs from lawns.

    Luckily for dog owners seeking a stylish option, privacy fences come in various designs and patterns for added curb appeal. The National Association of REALTORS suggests choosing a privacy fence with latticework above the 4-foot mark to improve the fence’s appearance while still maintaining your privacy.

    Vinyl Fencing

    Vinyl fencing is made of a plastic material called polyvinyl chloride (PVC). It’s an increasingly popular fencing option for its long-lasting, low-maintenance qualities. PVC fencing won’t rot, mold, or require a new paint job as it ages. It’s available in UV-resistant and waterproof models to help it last longer and stronger.

    In addition to these benefits, vinyl is a solid option for homeowners with curious dogs prone to chewing, licking, and scratching. Unlike aluminum, vinyl won’t corrode over time or create cut hazards with razor-sharp edges. Vinyl is free of splinters and nails found in wooden fencing, making it a safer option for dogs that like rubbing up against things.

    Duke Fence Co., Inc. suggests a vinyl privacy fence to keep your dog out of trouble. This fence model has no slats between the posts, preventing passing pedestrians or squirrels from driving your dog nuts.

    Invisible Dog Fences

    Invisible dog fences are underground wiring systems that contain your dog with a sound cue or electric shock. There are many pros to this fencing option, the main one being that it’s invisible and won’t detract from your landscape design. Electric fences also require a much simpler installation process, meaning you’ll have a barrier for your buddy in no time.

    On the other hand, in-ground wire fence systems aren’t physical barriers, so your pup will need some training to understand how it works. Invisible fence training typically requires the dog owner to mark the perimeter with flags and walk the dog around. The dog wears a collar that beeps, vibrates, or produces an electrical shock when it wanders too close to the fence. The shocks aren’t severe enough to harm your pet but will likely discourage it from ignoring the barrier again. Once your pet has learned how the fence works, you can remove the flags from the fence line.

    Invisible fences are a solid option for dogs determined to escape traditional fences by jumping, climbing, or digging. They also work in lawns unsuited for physical fences, such as those with hills, slopes, ditches, trees, and rocks.

    Dog Playpen

    A doggy playpen may be a good choice if you have a small or elderly dog. Playpens are portable dog fences you can take along on vacations, moves, or to the sitter’s house. They’re an excellent fencing solution for renters, new puppy parents, and homeowners with small yards.

    If you have a larger dog or one prone to jumping, a portable dog kennel may be another option. You can buy these enclosures in sections and build them within your yard to give your dog free rein over a small area. You’ll be free to let your dog off-leash without the hassle of installing an in-ground fence. These fence systems come in various sizes, heights, and materials for different pet parents’ needs.

    5 of the Best Fences For Dogs

    Now we’ll look at some fantastic fencing options on the market. These products include many of the features and materials we’ve discussed, so you can apply what you’ve learned to your search for your buddy’s fence.

    PetSafe Wireless Containment System

    The Wireless Pet Containment System by PetSafe is an excellent option for dogs on the move. It includes a wireless fence transmitter that creates an invisible electronic boundary to contain your dog.

    The PetSafe system functions similarly to an invisible fence without the need to bury a wire underground. Your dog simply wears the PetSafe receiver collar, which will beep or deliver a gentle shock when the pet nears a boundary. Best yet, the transmitter is portable, allowing you to bring your dog’s fence along wherever you go.

    Additional product details:

    • Setup only takes a couple of hours
    • Wireless boundary covers up to a half-acre of land
    • Collar includes five levels of shock adjustability
    • Portable and perfect for travel
    • Multiple transmitters can be combined to extend the play area

    Dig Defence Animal Barrier

    The Dig Defence Animal Barrier is a solution for dogs that like to dig or squeeze underneath fencing. It consists of steel spikes that drive into the ground below a fence to prevent animals from shoveling through. The barrier pairs best with wire mesh fencing but is compatible with wood and privacy fences, too.

    This video from the Dig Defence YouTube channel demonstrates how to install the system on a chain-link fence:

    Additional product details:

    • Available in depths of 8 to 15 inches
    • Straightforward DIY installation
    • Compatible with any fence material or design

    Zippity Outdoor Semi-Permanent Vinyl Fence

    The Zippity semi-permanent vinyl picket fence is a great option for smaller dogs. It has an easy installation process that requires the user to simply drive stakes into the ground until the panels are sturdy. From there, the fence is semi-permanent, which means it will stand on its own but can be removed and reinstalled elsewhere at any time.

    We don’t recommend the Zippity vinyl fence for large dogs or those that like to dig. The panels are only 3.5 feet tall, which means big pooches can make an effortless escape. Only the staked portions of the panels drive into the ground, leaving the rest open for dogs to dig underneath.

    Otherwise, this fence provides a solid barrier to contain your pup. Plus, it’s a simple way to achieve the classic white picket look without committing to a permanent, in-ground fence.

    Additional product details:

    • No extensive digging needed for installation
    • Panel assembly required
    • Weather-resistant vinyl material
    • Includes a 10-year manufacturer warranty
    • Each panel is 92 inches wide and 42 inches tall

    Linden Pre-Built Privacy Fence by Veranda

    The Linden Privacy Fence Panel Kit by Veranda is a solid choice for do-it-yourself homeowners. As a privacy fence, the Linden will contain your dog while turning your lawn into a haven for you and your family. The fence is also easy to assemble, making it a fantastic DIY weekend project.

    The Linden fence consists of durable professional-grade vinyl to provide a low-maintenance yet stylish fencing solution. It’s great for small dogs and those that bark at passersby. Little pups won’t have slats to squeeze through, and nosy pooches won’t see what’s on the other side, making them less likely to bark or try escaping.

    Additional product details:

    • Comes in white, sand, and cypress color options
    • Includes limited lifetime warranty
    • Panels are 70 inches tall and 92 inches wide
    • No painting, sanding, or staining is required for maintenance

    VIVOHOME Heavy-Duty Pet Fence

    VIVOHOME’s heavy-duty outdoor pet playpen is perfect for dog owners seeking a low-commitment, portable fencing option for their buddies. You can purchase the pen in various sizes to create a safe play space for any dog. The pen is suited for indoor and outdoor use, making it perfect for puppy training or a rainy day inside.

    Once outside, you’ll secure the pen’s panels to the ground with anchor stakes to keep your pup from knocking it over. The VIVOHOME playpen is available in 32-inch and 40-inch height models to contain small, medium, and large dogs.

    Additional product details:

    • Foldable design for simplified storage
    • Made of black powder-coated metal treated for rust-resistance
    • Gates include a secure latch to prevent escapes
    • Panels can be maneuvered to change the pen’s shape

    Final Thoughts

    We hope this guide helps you find a wag-worthy fencing solution for your dog. While curb appeal is important, your pet’s safety is the most crucial thing a fence can provide. Luckily, countless options on the market fulfill both of these needs, allowing you to choose something that pleases you and your furry best friend.

    Editorial Contributors
    avatar for Elisabeth Beauchamp

    Elisabeth Beauchamp

    Senior Staff Writer

    Elisabeth Beauchamp is a content producer for Today’s Homeowner’s Lawn and Windows categories. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in Journalism and Linguistics. When Elisabeth isn’t writing about flowers, foliage, and fertilizer, she’s researching landscaping trends and current events in the agricultural space. Elisabeth aims to educate and equip readers with the tools they need to create a home they love.

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    Lora Novak

    Senior Editor

    Lora Novak meticulously proofreads and edits all commercial content for Today’s Homeowner to guarantee that it contains the most up-to-date information. Lora brings over 12 years of writing, editing, and digital marketing expertise. She’s worked on thousands of articles related to heating, air conditioning, ventilation, roofing, plumbing, lawn/garden, pest control, insurance, and other general homeownership topics.

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