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I'm not new to owning a dog, but this has been a long time issue of mine and I was never able to explore the other options with my previous dog. My family is looking to adopt soon and we currently dont have a fenced in yard for a few reasons. Firstly is price. The house we moved into was built in farmland that has been slowly built up over the years. When we moved into the house it was part of a neighborhood, and the property lines are a bit askew. Parts of our house extend into the neighbor's property, and likewise part of theirs extends into ours. None of us have fences, and to add to difficulties were on a corner lot so our property is not all straight lines. I've discussed it several times with my family, and we are absolutely not getting a solid fence, which is unfortunate.

With our last dog this wasnt so bad because he was an aggressive dog. We could never leave him out off the leash, and because he was dog aggressive we couldnt have him near other dogs. We just walked him, and I would run him through trails with me in the woods. I gave him as much exercise as I could all things considered, but the next dog were getting is going to be more sociable. Were looking for a dog friendly dog since we do have Dog parks around our area and dog friendly trails, and many of my friends have dogs so I would love to do group things with them. Despite all of that, I still would like the dog to be able to go out into her own yard to play.

I've been looking at a few options, and basically by cost have narrowed it down to the three. Four if you count the option of just making sure the dog has exercise and not worrying about a fence as one of them. I was looking into Invisible/Electric outdoor fences and I've heard a lot of mixed things about them. I know that they dont keep other animals out, but our dog will never be left outside unsupervised. We absolutely cant because we have Deer, Coyotes, Foxes, and some loose dogs in the area. We have a cat who is strictly indoor for these reasons. I also know that there is a risk of the dog escaping the fence and being deterred from re-entering, but I plan to enroll her into training classes, and I have a few trainer friends as well and I do plan on doing some agility work, so needless to say the dog will be well trained. I know theres never any guarantees, but it can only help. In any case, my uncle who is an electrician installed one for his golden, and they have no complaints, but I'm curious as to what other people think about it. I only know him with an electric fence, and reviews are sometimes biased, so I'd like to hear some feedback about Electric/Invisible fences.

The other option is a Tie Out. I had thought of an out-door run, but the property is spaced and very bare, so there arent any trees to hook a run to that would extend out into the yard. The only other logical option for that is the tie out. We do have a section on the side of our lawn beside the drive way that would be perfect. It's on the side facing the street where barely any cars drive by (our property extends to the street, no sidewalk) and there is a small tree planted there and a good amount of wide space she could run. It is also in direct view of the deck, so supervision is easy, and there is a stair case that goes right beside the driveway which leads directly to an enclosed deck, so really its the most convenient side. I was thinking of having a tie out directly in the middle of that area so she could move around, but I know that there are a lot of risks with tie outs. She wont really have the freedom to run without the snap-back of the rope, or getting tangled. Then there is the possibility of slipping out or chewing through the rope. Again she will be trained, but still you cant be too careful.

So I'm wondering which of these would be the best, safest, and most effective way of going. Should I get an electric/invisible fence to cover the plot of property on the side of the house? Or would it be better to just get a tie out? Or, should I just forget about both and go the route I've always gone, which is walks, dog parks, and play dates with friends? Thanks in advance for your help!
 

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I wouldn't get anything before you get the dog.
You can see how the dog training goes, what type of personality and play style the new dog has etc.
For the first little while, you can use a long leash and hold the end of it to play. As training progresses, you can use a drag line.
For SUPERVISED play, I don't see anything wrong with training to a electric fence, but like you said, it doesn't keep anything out and so should never be relied on for non-supervised time.

You could also consider using inexpensive woven wire fencing to make a small side yard or play yard, maybe just 25 x 25 for potty breaks, practicing some obedience off leash, and such. (25 x25 is 2, 50 ft rolls which run about $40/each and about 12 poles at a couple bucks each; so under $150)
 

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You could just fence a smaller part of the yard (with chain link or wood or whatever you prefer). Fences don't have to enclose the entire yard. My parents' lot is a funny shape; if they fenced it along the property lines it would be really awkward. Instead they have a smaller area (40-50 feet square, maybe?) fenced in, off the back door. My dad did it himself, and also did a smaller area (maybe 20 feet square) in my grandma's yard at the same time, and materials for both yards only cost around $400. It could probably be done cheaper (might be cheaper than an invisible fence) but he's sort of an overacheiver (every post set in concrete, super sturdy materials, extra supports, etc.). And it can be removed when/if you move away, if property values are a concern.
 

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Well, I have all three or four that you are talking about. I have the inground fence going around the whole entire perimeter. Big dogs on this one. Had problems at first. Did not know that the ones that are sold on the market generally are for dogs under 40 pounds. Had to buy the stubborn dog one. Also, take in account about a 4-6 foot space going around the whole property. I did not have ours set this far and one dog learned she could run through it. Now with the larger boundaries this no longer happens. Lucky for us we have a large property so the wider width did not create a problem. Out the front door we have a small space fenced off for the little guys. Goes the length of the deck and about 8' feet out. Perfect to let them out to go potty. We also have 2 runs out on the property. We had no trees at the time and bought toppers (came as a kit) to put on top of the runs for shade. It is nice to have the kennels. They come in handy when company or workers come over. Majority of the time the doors are left open. The dogs come and go. These 2 dogs are the ones on the inground fence. They do make a wireless fence too. I read where this will not work well if your property is hilly. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the feedback everyone!

Unfortunately the physical fence argument is one I have literally been battling for years. Our last dog Bruce would have run right through an electric or invisible fence, and he was a notorious chewer so being unsupervised or even out on a run was a definite no. For most of his life I argued against the rest of my family for a fence in ANY part of the yard, and they always lead to harsh words. For the sake of my family relations, as silly as it may seem, I've given up on asking for a tangible fence. Its just not an option, not even for a small portion of the yard which is very unfortunate for me, hence why I'm looking at these other possibilities.

The fourth option (and I forgot to edit that out) was to have a sky run, but after re-inspecting my property I found out there is no way possible for that either. All the trees are close to the house, and the only trees that would give the dog access to the yard are our neighbors, and one of them is already very sensitive about her trees and plants (we asked her once to remove part of her garden because it extended into our property, and she got very upset with us.) All other possible areas would not allow for supervision so their not possible either.

But yes I wouldnt be doing anything until we actually got the dog. Currently were looking at a 40 pound Shepherd/Setter or Golden mix who'se foster family describes her as sweet and playful but not hyper. I plan on asking a lot of questions about her and actually seeing her and handling her before going forth with anything, but I've heard so many mixed opinions on both Tie Outs and Fences, I was curious what everyone else was experiencing.
 

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Could you make a sky line with metal posts? I am going to do this ... this summer to make it easier for the dogs to have more room to run while we are outside. I too have a woods and other creatures and my dogs do not run loose. You could maybe borrow or rent a post hole digger and two metal poles ... cement to put the poles in ... proper strength cable ... I am getting proper strength chain to put on the cable to attach the dogs to. We don't want to use the house or any trees for hooks and cable either. My Dad will be doing this so I am not sure about the rest. :) I am not sure how the cable is attached to the poles ........

I almost forgot ... if you were to do this make sure the cable is up high enough that it is not a danger to anyone who could possibly be running and get strangled on the cable line or run into it with their head.

EDIT: After reading through this thread again ... I wanted to make it clear that my dogs are never outside unattended or have aggression issues. :)
 

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What I have my dogs on when they are outside are two posts that have been cemented into the ground. It works quite well for them since I don't like them to be left alone in the house while my idiot roommate is home. The only downfall is that Saint likes to run her chain the entire time she is out there so she has effectively made a moat any castle would kill to have. I call it Saint's Isle.lol I like it because there is no way they can escape the chain. I use a grade 43, 1\4" chain, which I had for my pit bull until he had to be PTS. Its very durable and pretty light for 20ft.

Buying and building a fence here wouldn't be an option since there is just too much property and I'm not gonna build a fence on a property that I'm renting. I've had a sky line tie out with my Mountain Cur and it lasted about two months until she snapped the actual line that the runner line rested on. It was made for large breeds and she was about 32lbs. She was a HA dog and so it was a nightmare when it snapped. Its that reason I chose to forfeit the grass for a chain that rested on the ground. I think chaining has a bad rap due to negligence on irresponsible owners. When used correctly and properly its a very effective tool to keep a dog in a yard.
 

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I think you have very few options of what you can do. It sounds like the dog will not be tied out for hours anyway. He will be spending most of his time at the end of a leash spending countless hours with you. Chaining a dog gets the bad rap because why have a dog if all it does is spend its day looking at the backdoor. I just don't understand those people. Why have a dog and only go see it daily to feed/water the poor thing.
 

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Buying and building a fence here wouldn't be an option since there is just too much property and I'm not gonna build a fence on a property that I'm renting. I've had a sky line tie out with my Mountain Cur and it lasted about two months until she snapped the actual line that the runner line rested on. It was made for large breeds and she was about 32lbs. She was a HA dog and so it was a nightmare when it snapped. Its that reason I chose to forfeit the grass for a chain that rested on the ground. I think chaining has a bad rap due to negligence on irresponsible owners. When used correctly and properly its a very effective tool to keep a dog in a yard.
You left a Human Aggressive dog on a tie-out without (apparent or sufficient) supervision or a second form of barrier like a fence? I'm sorry, but that seems like the very definition of the irresponsible owner you seem to be deriding. And now your current dog is tied out long enough to have dug a moat because somehow she's safer outside with anybody around than inside with an "idiot roommate"?

To the OP- It is generally a bad idea to use ANY form of tie-out for an unattended dog. The dog can: break the tie-out, break the harness (and they shouldn't be on a collar to a tie-out at all, even supervised), get tangled and hurt, predators and strays can approach and harm the dog, people can approach and hurt the dog, well-meaning people can approach and try to "help" the dog out of being tied.

You should also check local laws- if you are in a suburban area esp. My city has a law against using a fixed tie-out for greater than 1 hour in a day and provides guidelines for trolley tie-outs (min/max length of line etc)
 

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Hello all-
I am hoping to give you a solution to your tie-out or fence debate.
We have designed a product that we just launched.... 1 week ago today. It is called the Double Down Dog Run. It is a tangle-free tie-out for two dogs.
No trees required, no mess, just 5 minutes to install and now your dog or dog can be free to play and move about.
Check it out here: http://doubledowndogrun.com

I hope our product creates a solution for you!
 

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OP: Slightly off topic, but you mentioned you are planning to adopt. It might be worth checking to see if any of these options would negate your application before you make a decision.
 

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Our yard is much like yours, OP, making it extremely difficult to fence, out house in on the back corner of a weird L-shaped lot that is on the outside of a 90 turn in a single road. Same issues with odd property lines...when my husband bought this house, he bough a bit of land from a neighbor to "clean it up" a little, but it's still off.

We have chosen not to let the dogs out unsupervised. The ACD mix has an excellent recall and sticks close, so we can play with her in the yard unleashed...not so with the young BC mix (who has some sighthound in her), she has to be on a leash or the 30' long line I have.

And, yes, as 3doglady says, not having a fence my cause some rescues to rule you out. Not all (as we have two dogs from rescues), but you may have to look harder and longer to find a dog and be able to convince the rescue that you are a responsible dog owner (vet references, AC references, no dog ever hit by a car, no bite record, etc...).
 
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