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Friday, April 14, 2017

Best Fencing for Dogs: Durable Metal Picket Fences Work Best for Climbers

I work for a lot of dog owners! When I’m putting in a fence for people with the big, active dogs, I always make extra certain that it’s durable and difficult to get over. Many dogs do not climb, but if you have had one that does, you know that whatever you use to keep them in will have to be extremely sturdy and difficult enough to climb to discourage continued attempts.

Having an attractive fence that keeps your dogs in and everybody else’s dogs out, without having the fence damaged or destroyed in the process, is the goal. Fencing that is too weak may buckle, scratch, or crack from the impacts provided by larger dogs, and fencing with too many footholds will just encourage a dog that can climb. That’s why in this post we’ll survey the best fencing materials for dogs, with a focus on styles that keep dogs off the fence and in the yard. Of the numerous fencing materials available, I’ve found that one of the better options for a home with climbing dogs is a galvanized picket-style fence that can also be fitted with a wooden infill, in case the animals inside or outside the yard are too aggressive for an open fence.

The Best Fencing Materials for Dogs

Some fencing types are easier for dogs to climb than others. Other styles simply invite climbing attempts that can lead to fence damage. When a large dog gets a head of steam--if a cat is sitting on top of the fence, for example—he or she can dent, scratch, or even break through a weakened fence. Each type of fencing has its own benefits and drawbacks. Let’s take a look at what those are.

Aluminum: When properly coated, aluminum is extremely corrosion resistant and long-lasting. It’s also a very light material, which is a great benefit when it comes to transporting and installing it. Unfortunately, aluminum is prone to scratching, which can cause corrosion if the metal doesn’t have the highest quality coating, and it also tends to dent and bend when sufficient pressure is applied.

Vinyl: Like aluminum, vinyl is lightweight. Unfortunately, also like aluminum, vinyl is easily dented and bent when great force is applied. Some types of vinyl will also crack and chip in places, especially with repeated scratching and impact (for example, from a dog jumping at or trying to climb it). Vinyl’s slipperiness means it can work well for smaller dog breeds that have the tendency to try to climb fences, but it is probably not durable enough to weather too many attempted canine escapes, especially from larger dogs.

Wood: While recently installed wooden fences serve as sturdy barriers, we’ve all seen the gaps in older fences that were created when a bigger animal found its way out by breaking through a weak or rotting board. The typical wood fence allows dogs to launch themselves from the bottom horizontal rail in their attempt to catch the next available foothold. A wooden security fence without rails that might provide a foothold to encourage dogs to climb and jump is a fine choice, so long as the fence is kept in excellent condition.

Chain-Link: These are a popular basic fence type for many homes as they’re inexpensive and fairly easy to install, but they’re also probably the most popular fences to climb, given the number of footholds. I’ve seen some clever dogs make their way over these types of fences, or just use them to get a foothold in order to launch themselves by jumping. Although chain-link fences are reasonably durable, with sufficient pressure and weight they will bend and warp from the repeated application of force, which will often lead to gaps opening up at the bottom.

Steel Rail and Picket: Have you ever seen a dog repeatedly paw fruitlessly at a slippery surface? With a steel picket and rail security fence, that is exactly the result. Getting a toe hold on a steel picket fence is difficult for humans and animals alike, as the rails typically make for poor footholds and the long pickets are far more slippery than a material like wood. This doesn’t mean our animal friends won’t still make some attempts, especially if a raccoon or squirrel is spotted and instinct takes over. With that in mind, it’s important to use as durable a material as possible. With advanced coatings, a galvanized steel fence will perform as well or better than a wood security fence, and will have a much longer lifespan.

When I’m tasked with putting in a fence for climbing dogs, I generally end up putting in a wooden security fence or a steel picket-style fence. The choice often boils down to the upfront budget and aesthetic considerations. When considering future maintenance and the long term, a powder-coated, galvanized steel picket fence is typically the winner. One of the most durable fencing systems out there, produced by Fortress Building Products, comes with a highly advanced coating system that combines galvanized steel with a zinc layer, an advanced, moisture-resistant e-coating, and a powder coat, making it able to handle the rain, the sun, and dogs alike. If you have other projects, canine-related or not, I also recommend taking a stroll through Fortress’ larger building products website. They’ve got high-quality and innovative decking, railing, and ornamental hardware, all of which are well made and sturdy enough to stand up to any amount of wear-and-tear, whether from your miniature poodle or your Italian mastiff.


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