Keeping your dog safe while outside is a very important topic. All dogs need to go outside. Boundaries, training and exercise will be covered in this post. There are numerous reasons why dogs need to go out. The 2 main reasons are to get exercise and to go potty. There are a number of ways to make sure that your dog can get outside. Where you live, your lifestyle and your beliefs/feelings will depend on the method that you use.
Please make sure that whatever you use, that your dog always has access to water, shade and shelter just in case something happens. You never know what might happen to prevent you from getting home to your dogs. Or if you are in your house and your dog is outside and if something happens to you that you cannot call anyone or let your dog in. These things can happen, so just make sure that your dog is always able to get to water and shelter.
As you scroll down through this post you will see that I have written about as many ways that I could think of to make sure that your dog can go outside safely. Some of these ways won’t apply to you, depending on your situation. So I have labeled each section to make it easier for you to find the topic that you want to read about.
I have it very easy when it comes to this topic. I have a doggy door that my dogs use whenever they need or want to go out. I use the Petsafe wireless dog fence, so they stay in their boundaries. It took a little training. Each dog learns at their own pace. I will tell you a story about how each dog did with it a little later in this post. I live in town, but I have 1 acre of land, so they get plenty of room to play.
About the invisible fence system
The wireless fence:
The system is very easy to install, as all it consists of is a transmitter box that you plug in centered to the area. You can choose the size of the circular boundary that fits your needs. Mine goes about 3 feet from the sidewalk in the front of the house to about 80 feet behind my house and on the sides it goes from each neighbors driveway. The one that I have is capable of 180 feet in all directions. The transmitter is the center of this circle. The newer ones are capable of a total of 230 feet all directions. You can enlarge this circle by using 2 transmitters, and wherever the circles overlap it opens to the next circle. There are different brands of these systems. I have only tried the Petsafe because that is what I bought and it works great and hasn’t needed to be replaced.
They each have a collar that has a receiver that connects the transmitter. The collars have batteries that have to be replaced every so often. The batteries are not expensive (I pay $7.00 for 2 batteries). They have a red blinking light that lets you know that the batteries need to be replaced soon. You can set the collar to whatever you feel appropriate. The settings range from just beeping to several strength levels of static correction. They always beep to warn the dog that they will get static correction if continuing further.
In the kit you will also receive flags to put around the boundary. So you will have to walk around with the collar in your hand to listen for the beeping so that you can place flags on the boundaries to help your dog during the training process. Just don’t put the prongs in the palm of your hand like my husband did while walking around with it. lol. I do suggest that you test the static correction (or shock) strength level on yourself before you choose the level that you want to use for your dog.
After you find and mark the boundaries, you will put the collar on your dog and walk the dog around with a leash. At first you may have to pull you dog out of the static area until they learn to remove themselves. (One of my dogs just sat down and wouldn’t move the first time) By pulling them out of it, they will learn to remove themselves if they ever get into it again. Usually after the first or second time, they will learn when it beeps not to go any further. My dogs learned very quickly. It didn’t take the 2 weeks that the instructions said. Within 2 days they were all set.
One reason that a lot of people give up on this system is because it will take a while for your dog to get completely adjusted. They will stay very close to your house, or even not want to go outside at first. As time goes on they will start to get a little further from the house as you guide them. Don’t worry before long they will be running all over the yard.
My dogs went through this at different paces. The first one that I trained was Shiloh. At the time she was a 6 year old Beagle. She is a very timid dog as she was abused before I got her. It took her about a week from start to finish. She was trained to the beeps the first day, but we still worked with her after to get her adjusted to getting further away from the house.
Buster was 9 months old. He is a Springer Spaniel that was known for breaking out of every fence that anyone ever tried to put him in. He never had a problem with it. He was trained the first day and went as far as he could go right off. Buster’s batteries need to be replaced more often than the other dogs because he tests his boundaries often. He never crosses the line though, and doesn’t get static correction. He knows what that beep means. there have been times that his battery died before we noticed and he still never left his boundaries.
I had a Beagle that was 11 years old when I got her. She was a hunter and always ran away if she got out the door. I remember telling my family that they should use the wireless fence for her. Everyone said that you can’t train a Beagle on that. Well….. I had already trained Shiloh, so I knew that it could be done. But they said that Misty was too old and wouldn’t be able to learn. Well as I said she was 11 years old when I got her. We put the collar on her, walked her around. She didn’t like it, but we showed her the boundaries. The next day I got home and when I opened the door she ran out like a bullet. I couldn’t catch her as my arms were loaded with grocery bags. She got to the neighbors driveway, yipped, and came home. She never tried to run away again. It took her a few weeks of slowly wandering further from the house each day before she was comfortable in the entire area that she could go. I love proving people wrong, LOL.
We got Ruger after Misty passed away. Ruger is a 7 year old Beagle. He definitely took the longest to learn the fence and the doggy door. Well, he didn’t take long to learn the fence, but it took him longer than the rest to start wandering around. At first he wouldn’t step off of the porch without us leading him, and then, he was ok with stepping off of the porch, but only off, no further for a week or so. We had to work with him the most to make him realize that he had a whole yard to play in. I believe it took him about 3 weeks before he would go out and run around. Now (3 months later) he is all over the place, happy as can be.
So as I said before, some people give up on it because their dog seems scared and doesn’t want to go out, or leave the edge of the house. Patiently work with them, showing them a little more distance from the house each day, and they will be fine. Also another problem is that some people say that their dog runs right through it, or ducks their head to not get the static correction then runs through it. If they can duck their head and not feel the shock, their collar is too loose. If they are getting the shock (static) and it isn’t fazing them, make sure that you have it set at the strongest level, and use the prongs that are longer for stronger dogs or dogs with more skin or hair around their neck.
The underground fence
Another option for this type of fence, is the underground fence. With this one the collars work the same, but the barriers are where you choose to bury the fence. This one can be more expensive, and a lot of work, but gives you more options of where you want their boundaries and can give your dog a larger area to play. I have never used this type but have friends that do and they seem to like it. They said that it was a lot of work to install, but they are are happy with it. The only complaints are if something goes wrong with a wire underground, you have to find where the problem is and dig it up to fix/replace it.
With both kinds of these systems, I have heard and read that people can forget to remove their dogs collar before taking them for a ride. That is very important that you do NOT for get that, because you will cause your dog to get shocked and then they might be afraid of car rides after that. Please don’t forget to remove their collar or take the battery out before taking them anywhere.
Other Dog fences
So if you don’t want to use the invisible fence that I explained above, or if it just won’t work where you live (maybe your yard is too small, you are too close to the road, you have no yard etc..) you can use the normal fenced in area.
You may choose the chain link fence, or build a different type all together. As long as your dog can’t get out, you can build it with anything that you want. Just a heads up on the getting out part, I had a few dogs years ago that climbed over the top and got out. I had to build a ceiling/roof fence on top of their fence. So if you have that problem you can always put a top on it.
Some people put their fence away from the house, and some choose to have it attached so that they can use a doggy door or just open the house door and let them out whenever they want without having to walk outside and open it and get it closed before they get out. You can build it as big or small as you would like based on your wants and needs. Some dogs require more room to play based on their size, breed and personality.
Maybe you cannot have a fence of any type
If you live in an area that you cannot have a fence of any type, you will need to take your dog for walks often. Make sure that you have a good collar, leash or harness. Always clean up their messes along the way. You can get a special scooper and bags for this.
Some areas have pet parks. Where you can bring your dog to a larger area to play with other dogs and get more exercise.
Your dogs specific needs, and your schedule will determine how many times a day you take your dog out, and for how long. Some dogs require more exercise than others. If you are looking to get a new dog ,and will be using this method for outside time, you should do some research and maybe get a dog that doesn’t require as much exercise.
I am not trying to be rude, just remember that dogs have to go outside to go to the bathroom. If you will not be able to let your dog out enough, maybe you shouldn’t get one. If this is the case, just think about when you need to use the bathroom, if you couldn’t, how hard would that be for you? It is the same for a dog.
Please leave any questions or comments about keeping your dogs safe while outside below, and I will get back to you.