Outdoor Dog Enclosures

Dogs need to be safely enclosed when allowed to run free outside. As I tell all my clients, “If you can’t fence them, leash them.” It’s your responsibility to provide for your dog’s well-being in the world, so think it through, talk to some educated folks, and make the right decision.

If you’re lucky enough to have a yard, you should think seriously about enclosing at least a portion of it. Many people ask my advice about confining their pets using pens, tie-outs, runs, or electrical fences; isn’t it possible to just train a dog to stay on your property?

The kind of enclosure you need differs in every situation. What kind of dog do you have? What’s the dog’s personality like? How do you want to use the fencing system; are you planning to leave your dog confined when you’re not home or just when you’re out with him? What kind of confinement would his temperament allow? How much property do you own? These are all very important considerations!


Property training is not impossible, but it is not a safe idea. It takes a certain canine temperament and consistent training procedures over a long period of time. A dog that is property trained should not be allowed outside unsupervised.

Pens and Tie Outs:

Pens and Tie Outs
Pens and Tie Outs

Pens and chain-link runner lines (RLs) designed to leave the dog out of doors unattended, often create what I term Hyper Isolation Anxiety (HIA)Being social animals, dogs get anxious when left alone. This anxiety manifests itself in excessive barking, digging, destructive chewing, or frenetic activity when reunited with the owner. Runner lines are only beneficial if the owner remains with the dog and focuses him on exercise games. Keep in mind that the dog must be leashed when taking him to his confinement area; otherwise, he may bolt.

Full Yard Fences:

Enclosing your entire property is a great option for many dogs. This enclosure enables them to enjoy their freedom and accompany you on your outdoor tasks. You can install a doggy door so your dog can monitor his own comings and goings between the house and yard. Unfortunately, full-yard fences have their drawbacks, too. If the dog is left alone for prolonged periods of time, this enclosure also can create HIA. Given close access to the house, some dogs may chew the baseboards around the entrance door or the welcome mat. Dogs prone to digging can also escape quite easily. Hounds, Nordic, Sporting breeds, and Terriers are just a few breeds famed for their acrobatic escapes! It only takes one escape to lose your dog to a tragic occurrence.

Electrical Fences:

Electrical Fences
Electrical Fences

One option growing in popularity is the electrical fencing system. This seemingly magical creation keeps dogs en­closed by an underground wire that creates a shock when a dog wearing a battery-powered collar approaches. It is the ideal system for the above-mentioned dogs who habitually dig and love to run, as long as the dog is otherwise prop­erly trained.

Dogs can get through this fence. The best guarantee is proper and patient training.


Collars that transmit the stimulus are battery-run. You’ll need to check the battery and replace it approximately every six weeks.

All You Need to Know About the Dog Training Tools:

  • Your first mission is to find a good training collar. Seek professional advice if you need help choosing one.
  •  If you’re dealing with a young or delinquent dog, you’ll need to devise an indoor enclosure system. Crates, gates, or the Teaching Lead® can all be used to monitor your dog’s activities until you can trust his freedom.
  • Securing your dog in the car is a must, for his own safety as well as yours and other drivers. Here again, you have options: a crate, harness, or Seat Belt Safety Lead (SBSL).
  •  Even the most well-behaved dog can be tempted outdoors. I highly recommend an outdoor enclosure system or the use of a Flexi-Leash® if your home doesn’t have a yard.

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