Big dog - short fence

tressa(SECA)November 8, 2011

You guys give such great advice!

Here's my problem: We are on 5 sloping acres in a log cabin. I have a small courtyard of pavers and a small garden that is enclosed with a 2-tier split rail fence. My new shepard can jump this fence. I have been trying to find an inspiration for making this fence taller, staying with the rustic look that we have. We have considered installing new taller posts with another tier of rails. But, since funds are limited, I thought maybe someone might have an idea for something decorative that could just be added to the top rail. I need at least another foot or so. I have a view of the mountains from my kitchen window and don't want anything solid that would obstruct this view. Would love to just pick it all up and set it on rock pillars!!

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Have you considered other options besides making a taller wooden fence?

If your shepherd isn't making a clear leap over the fence, what about a single wire of electric fence placed a couple inches above the top rail? Or, wherever the pup will likely encounter it when he jumps the fence? You can set the zap-level (for lack of a better technical term) to something less than "will stop a raging bull" but higher than "wouldn't bother a hairless bunny."

Alternatively, we have fenced our cat into our yard by adding a couple feet of bird netting above the wooden fence. She can scale the wood fence & walk along the top, but she can't climb the bird netting because it's too flexible. She can lean against it (I've seen her using it as a hammock) but can't push through it because that stuff is surprisingly strong. It's virtually invisible because it's black and we have it held up with black garden stakes (buy the green plastic ones & cover with Gorilla tape, or spray paint might work). Shepherds are pretty sensitive dogs, I bet if he ran into a screen door he'd think twice about running through the door again. You need him to have the same reaction to the fence.

This website is the one we followed for the cat fence:

Alternatively, if you think your shepherd would plow through the bird netting there is a black plastic chicken wire at Home Depot that runs just under $1/foot. It's 3' wide. It would be sturdier than the netting and it just about disappears from view. We're starting to use it to replace the netting because heavy ice/snow can collect on the netting & weigh it down pretty badly. This stuff seems sturdier, but if we didn't have the ice/snow loading problems we would have kept using the netting.

Maybe someone else will have a more decorative option for you. If you replace the fence & want something virtually invisible, consider the aluminum fences. They are pricey but really preserve the views.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 9:33PM
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If this were a dog you've had for awhile, I would also recommend the hot wire, except I'd set it up in the area just before his 'take off' spot. IOW's he couldn't get close enough to the fence to jump it.

Since he's new to your family I feel he just hasn't bonded with you yet. Every shepherd I've known sticks close to their owner and doesn't tend to wander, so I think you just need to do some positive training when he's in the back area. Keep him on a long line and give him treats and lots of praise while he's with you and anytime he returns on command. Never leave him alone in the back yard.

I adopted an older shepherd once and it took a few months before she was completely bonded to me. I suggest going on walks, joining an obedience class, and maybe follow up with an agility class. The more time you spend with him the faster the bond will occur.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 6:06PM
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I hear you both. Since my dogs had a run-in with coyotes a couple of weeks ago (and my little terrier was saved by the shepard) I have been taking them out on a leash. You are right about the bonding, annz, I adopted Casey about a year ago. She had never been in a house and she was fearful of everything. She has come a long way - but the rabbits and squirrels call to her - she has so much energy! I need to be able to open the door and let them into this fenced yard so I don't have to go out and watch Casey - she will not jump the fence when I am there. I need to make it high enough to keep her and keep the coyotes out!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 1:58PM
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