Alternatives to Dog Fences


Dogs need exercise and time outside. But many apartments or communities do not allow permanent fences. Lack of funds may also prevent a regular fence. Finding an alternative to a permanent fence can help your dog get exercise and fresh air. The type varies depending what you can do and how much space your dog needs. Chaining, staking or tying your dog is not safe and is illegal in some places.

Apartment Dwellers

  • Consult with the apartment building owner about the possibility of the tenants raising the funds to build a fence. Set guidelines for usage, clean-up and private scheduling for dogs that do not play well with others.

Portable and Exercise Pens

  • Portable and exercise pens can work for both home and apartment pet owners. If you are allowed to put up a portable pen for a few hours a day, it is enough exercise for most dogs. They can also be used for patio or porches. The pens do have to be taken down and stored, so they are not practical if you have a large-breed dog or one that needs a large place to exercise.

Invisible Fencing

  • Electric fencing--also called invisible, underground or radio fencing--usually works by putting a shock collar on your dog and shocking it if it comes close to the border. Some invisible fences also emit noises or citronella spray to keep your dog at bay. The cons of these fences often outweigh the benefits, however Animal shelters pick up many dogs because they learn they can run through the fences. The dog either learns that the punishment stops fast, or they run through the border and cannot get back into yard. Invisible fences also do not keep other animals or people from getting to your dog. If invisible fencing is your only option, stay outside with your dog at all times while using it.

Nearly Invisible Fences

  • There are manufacturers of polypropylene plastic fencing that is usually only visible within 15 feet. Many communities that do not allow normal fencing have allowed these kinds of fences. If the issue is community ordinances or unappealing looks of regular fencing, this fencing might offer an economical solution and can be any size you have room for.

Dog Parks

  • When no type of fencing is possible for where you live, a dog park can provide the exercise and play your dog needs. There are many types of dog parks. Some offer private sections that can be reserved hourly for your dog and chosen playmates. Most dog parks require dogs to be on leash, but getting a 40 -foot line so your dog can play fetch and run is one alternative. Off-leash dog parks have risks of dog attacks and problems. Before taking your dog, visit the park a few times to determine how safe and friendly it is.

Exercise on Leash

  • If none of the other options are available, simply taking your dog for long walks, teaching him to run next to you on a bicycle or using a long line in your yard or other available area to play fetch can provide fun and exercise. Enroll your dog in a local obedience or agility program. Swimming clubs for dogs are also becoming more common in the U.S.


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