If you are planning a dog-friendly yard or garden, the very first element that you must consider is a fence. Fences are a necessary investment for keeping your animal friends safe in their yard–fences prevent them from escaping and keep other animals from entering your yard.
To preserve our precious investment, we must take care of our fences. Those of us with dogs in our families face a few more issues in preserving our fences. Many dogs frequently jump up on fences to peak over at people passing by, squirrels, and other exciting noises that grab their attention. Their jumping weakens fences and causes them to fall apart eventually. Also, if you have the wrong kind of fence or one that is damaged, your dog can accidently get his or her nails caught in the slats, sometimes causing nails to be painfully ripped out and requiring an emergency trip to the veterinarian.
One solution to keeping a healthy fence, and in return, a healthy dog, is to provide windows for dogs. This approach works best for people who have a wooden privacy fence. Dogs will stop jumping on the fence because they can stay at ground level to look at and talk to passersby.
If you own a vinyl fence and cannot create windows, install an “observation deck,” such as a high platform or mound in your yard so that your dogs can look over the fence without jumping over it and/or harming the fence–or themselves.
To create a window, simply cut out a 3-foot-by-3-foot area (or whatever is comfortable for your dog) and install chicken or sheep wire. Be extra careful to make sure that all sharp edges from the wire are removed or adequately covered. You can be creative and carve a dog bone, a dog face, or the first initial of your dog’s name. Your dogs will not mind, as long as they can see “visitors” and bark at them as they approach the property. Remember, dogs bark because they’re just doing their job–protecting their yard!
And don’t just install one window! It’s best to put a few doggie windows in your fence, especially if you have multiple dogs, live next to dogs, or have a lot of foot traffic. Multiple windows ensure that each dog will have his or her own window and that each will be able to follow the traffic along the fence without needing to jump. Just be sure to keep the windows at ground level so that your dogs are not encouraged to jump and put their weight on the fence.
If you own a rail fence, you have the opposite problem–too much space in your fence so that your dog can easily dig under or jump over the fence. In this case, it’s best to secure edge pins at the bottom of the mesh to prevent them from digging. If your dogs are prone to jumping, simply add an extension to the fence with mesh or chicken wire.
Finally, it is best never to leave your dogs unattended in your yard–because no matter how dog-friendly it is, there are always unforeseen dangers. And besides, what is more fun (for you and your dog) than spending a sunny spring afternoon outside with your canine companion?