If you're a new dog owner who plans to keep the dog in the backyard while you're not home, you need to be aware of how to keep the dog safe around the fence and ensure they do not jump out. Many dogs will try and escape for various reasons, and that can be very dangerous for the dog, especially if it gets onto a roadway. Iron fences in particular pose a big risk to dogs, so here are three tips for keeping your dog from escaping, and one big warning that will help keep your dog safe if you have an iron fence.
Warning: Avoid Sharp Tips
If you currently have an ornamental iron fence, not necessarily a tall one, that has sharp tips at the top, get those removed, replace the fence entirely, or don't let your dog go in the backyard. Those tips can impale an animal that tries to jump over and that misjudges the height of the fence. This is already a problem for deer; for example, in 2005, the South Bend Tribune reported that neighbors complained about one person's iron fence had been the cause of several deer deaths -- and that fence was only 4 feet high. Technically any fence that has sharp tips, no matter the material, poses a threat to your pet, but iron is particularly bad because the iron won't break. Wood, at least, could break under the weight of the pet. But iron will simply hold the pet's body in place.
Move Items Away From the Fence
Try not to stack items right next to the fence or within close range. The dog can use these piles as stepping stones to help get over a tall fence. If you're doing a lot of work in the yard and need to place piles of items to one side, try to place them next to the house instead of the fence.
Ensure the Dog Can't Squeeze Through the Fence
Check the fence you have and ensure the spaces between the bars or planks is tiny. Dogs seem to be able to fit through spaces you wouldn't think they could fit through (or at least, they try and then get stuck), so add a barrier to the inside of the fence if there's appreciable space between the bars or planks. A bamboo or reed privacy liner, for example, will not allow pets to squeeze through. If the type of fence you have wouldn't look good with a bamboo liner, such as an ornamental iron fence, look for liners in other materials like polyethylene.
Spay/Neuter the Dog
The Humane Society of the United States notes that dogs often escape in order to seek a mate once the dogs reach sexual maturity. If you spay or neuter your dog, you should reduce the chances of the dog trying to escape for that reason. Note that if you have a female dog, you should spay her even if she doesn't try to escape from the yard -- you want to protect her from other dogs that get into the yard.
If you have other questions about keeping your dog safe around fences or want to find something like a liner that will go well with iron fences or other ornamental fences, talk to fence companies, such as City Wide Fence Co. They have a lot of experience dealing with customers trying to keep pets inside a yard and can help you find a good solution.