I am a rescued dog and my name is Trixie. I have about 30 acres of woods to play and hunt in. Unfortunately, the yard wasn’t fenced when I arrived, I just showed up one Christmas, so my parents had to keep an eye on me when I went outside. I tend to want to go off on my own adventures, but It isn’t safe for me to be unsupervised because there are hunting areas on two sides of the house, a busy road to the front and a large field on the right that sometimes has cotton and sometimes has corn growing in it. The big trucks in the field can’t see me and sometimes they spray poisonous chemicals. My parents knew they would have to install a fence to keep me safe, but they didn’t know much about installing a dog fence or what type. In this article, we will share some lessons learned about wire pet fencing for dogs.
Shelley started to research the types of fence available. You can find a great article on woven wire fencing with all the types of woven fence, sizes, amount needed, etc. There were many types, field fence, wire fence, vinyl, wood, plastic and even electric. Ouch! All had pros and cons about them and the prices varied. This was starting to look like a lot of hard work to install and expensive too. They had already spent a lot of money getting me all the things they needed as dog owners and having me checked out at the vet. But they decided that although a fence could be expensive up front, in the long run, it had many benefits and would cost effective.
Woven Wire Field Fence
If you get a woven wire field fence little critters can come and go and even bigger ones like possums, raccoons and rabbits. This is what I wanted. I love to chase and hunt. We are surrounded by woods with some trails in them, but the property backs to over 100 acres of woods. Too much to try to find me if I get hurt and there are hunters and metal from trash and roofs out there that I have cut myself on. Shelley has even gotten lost in the woods trying to find me.
A woven field fence is about 55 cents a foot, but because it is usually installed for goats and cows in large areas, it only comes in a large roll of 330ft. It is very heavy, (a 330 ft roll is 192 lbs), but my parents put it up alone and they aren’t spring chickens! After putting it up though, they said no more of that kind. Too much work. The wire is 10 gauge, so it is pretty thick. It is galvanized, so it won’t rust and the fence is made in a way that allows it to expand and contract with temperature changes. The openings aren’t all the same size and you can put it either end up.
You also need to consider how high your dog can jump, if he can climb, or if he likes to dig under. Your may need other options. We installed a fence that was 48″ tall because I haven’t learned to jump that high. Of course, the deer can with ease and they visit from time to time. If you have a small dog, you may need to use a welded wire. Even though the holes on this fence are only 5 in wide, I can get my entire head through it. The only thing that stops me is my shoulders.
Most of the work from installing this type of fence comes from pounding in the t posts. We have hard, Alabama clay. In the summer or when it is dry, it is like pounding into concrete. It is recommended to place your posts every 7-8 ft depending on the type of animal you are trying to contain. Since I am not a large, heavy cow, we decided to go every 8-9 ft. T posts cost $3.49 for a 5 ft post and spacing them further out would cut costs. Remember, some of that height is going into the ground. Your also need clips that they call fence staples to hold the fence to the post. 5 clips came with every post for free. We only used three per post.
Because they didn’t need much more to finish enclosing the back half of the house (thinking that was big enough), they bought welded wire fencing to finish it off. The back yard fence was about 460 ft and cost roughly $475 with a few days time and a few sore muscles. There was some fencing left over. At this point, larger critters could come and go in the back yard and there was a 100 ft or so of welded wire fencing closer to the house that they could not escape.
Shelley likes to work in her flower and vegetable gardens and some are on the other side of the house on the other side of the fence. She would take me with her and though I stick to her like glue most of the times, the possibility of a rabbit running past is too tempting. She didn’t get much done because I would sneak off into the woods and she would have to look for me. On the other hand, she couldn’t handle my sad eyes from the fenced in area when I could see her working. So, a bigger yard was in order!
Welded Wire Fence
I already had a good size yard to play in, but I am a big dog and can run pretty fast. I was going to need a larger area. My parents decided to enclose the front yard as well. Since they had learned a few lessons with the backyard fence (it was heavy and cumbersome), Shelley wanted to get more welded wire fence.
With a welded wire fence, you can keep the big critters out of your yard. It is fairly lightweight and easier to handle. The bigger the roll you get, the better the price per foot. It is about $73 per 100ft in my area. Your will still need the t posts and clips. Since the openings are much smaller and the fence is welded together, we decided we could space the t posts about 10 ft apart.
When they decided to create a larger play area, they were going to have to pull up the 100 ft of welded wire and extend it to meet up with the fence from the front yard. (They don’t recommend taking down a fence you worked so hard to put up). They turned it 90 degrees out to extend around the gardens and some forested area so I had more room to play. It added about 370 feet overall, about an acre total. Since it would be mostly in the woods section and they needed to have an escape for critters, they went back to the woven wire fence. Now, I can be with Shelley and she can work knowing I can’t get too far away. Critters can still come in the yard and have several areas of escape. My parents want me to have fun, but don’t want me catching anything.
Two Tools Your Must Have
Two things you must do if you are going to install a fence made out of either of these products.
1. Purchase a post pounder. At first glance, it doesn’t seem as if a large, heavy, metal tube (open on only one side) with handles is going to be better than a mallet for pounding in posts, but let me tell you, it was the best money ever spent. I think it was about $30. Once your fence is installed, maybe you can sell it. To use, you place the tube over the post, you will need two people for this process, and lift it up and down to pound in the post. The weight of the tube, about 15 lbs, helps drive the post into the ground. It only took about 6 times to get the post into the ground. Your use both arms, your back and legs to assist you. Without this post pounder, you need to use a mallet and one wrist. Trust me, that hurts! Shelley does not have any arm strength and could not use a mallet, but she could use the post pounder.
2. Purchase a clip bender tool. It doesn’t look like much, but there are these funny looking clips you use to attach the fence to the post. I could explain how to use it, but you still wouldn’t understand. Watch this video. Once you bend 2 or 3, it will be much quicker than using pliers. Also, take note that the clips aren’t symmetrical. They go on in a certain way. Once you figure it out, this is easy. Shelley installed all the clips.
Side note: She just watched the video to make sure it was the correct one and noticed she didn’t use the tool correctly on the right side of the clip. The way in the video is much easier. However, she didn’t want any wire parts sticking out for me to get hurt on, so she made several turns of the clip around the wire. In order to do that, she put the clip wire through the hole on the clip bender tool and wrapped it around so that the end of the clip faced out of the fenced area.
Pros and Cons of Wired Fencing
There are many pros and cons of each different style of fence that I won’t go into here. I wrote about wire fencing, not electric fencing, because that is what we have experience in. Here are some pros and cons of fences for me. Your situation may be different.
I would not able to run into the road and get hit by a car.
It would save Shelley from having to look for me. She could spend more time working in the flower and vegetable gardens.
It would keep the mean dog down the street from attacking me again and maybe keep the coyotes out. Yes, we live in the country and there are coyotes.
Once installed, the fence would last for years.
I would be safe from the hunter’s that hunt around our property.
It would be harder for someone to steal me.(There have been a lot of doggy thefts around here.)
It is expensive to fence in a large area. About $560 for an acre. But compared to other types of fencing, wire fencing is least costly.
It is a lot of physical work pounding fence posts into hard, Alabama clay, but a post pounder makes it easier.
It is harder to cut the grass and get around the yard. Your have to install some gates.
Your dog may be able to jump over or dig under the fence making it useless.
If you live in a subdivision, there may be rules regarding the type of fence you can install.
It will not keep snakes out of the yard.
Smaller dogs can get in.
There never seems to be a gate where you need it.
Fun at Night
Without the fence, I wasn’t allowed out at night, alone, because I have dark fur and I couldn’t be seen. I can even hide myself during the day if the shadows are dark enough and I can disappear very quickly. Add a chase after a rabbit or squirrel and I could be a quarter mile away in minutes and you wouldn’t even know which way I went. Even though I wear a GPS tracker, that does’t help humans get out of the woods if they get lost and Shelley got lost one time in the daylight! (She doesn’t go in the woods at night, even on the trails. Everything can look so different, plus she can’t always get cell coverage if she gets lost.) I also wear a small cowbell, even in the daytime. The corn and cotton grown in the field get so high that humans can’t be found, let alone little ole me! It is just another safety precaution. At night, I also wear a lighted collar.
Now I can go out day and night, in the safety of my fenced yard, and chase anything that comes within it! This is the life!
It has been over a year since the rear fence was installed and about 6 months for the front. If I wasn’t a hunting dog and could just stay in the yard, Shelley says it would be perfect. However, the critters have learned that if they wait until I go to sleep at night they won’t be bothered by me. So, Shelley has to take me to the woods or the field to catch mice and moles during the day. Not much to do at night now, but sometimes a raccoon or rabbit appears. I have never tried to dig under the fence, though I am a wiz at digging holes in the yard to find a mole a foot deep. I could probably jump the fence if I tried, but then I wouldn’t have enough energy to chase afterwards. After a year, the fence is in great shape. A little hard work and money for the piece of mind and safety that Shelley gets makes this a definite worthwhile project.
Have you installed a fence to keep your pet safe? What kind did you install? Did you do it yourself? What would you do differently? Please share your thoughts and comments with everyone.
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Hi, I’m Trixie! I love treats, sleeping, chewing up my toys and I especially like chasing small critters that enter my yard. (Don’t worry, my mom makes sure that I don’t catch any of them.) I was rescued when someone dumped me at the driveway, pregnant with 10 little puppies. Though my mom had dogs as a kid, she realized there was a lot she didn’t know.
We decided to create this website to help you with issues that you may not be aware of and to share information about the best foods, toys, treats and places to explore with your fur friend. You’ll learn all about raising your dog to be happy and healthy and we will have some fun along the way!
If you would like to create an online business, I found a great place that will help you learn what you need to know, for free. Hey, if a dog can do it, you can too! Just click here.