Is it Safe for my Dog to Be Off-Leash in my Yard without a fence?

Sparky Steps - Is it Safe for my Dog to Be Off-Leash in my Yard without a fence?

Why Dogs Should Never Be Off-Leash, Even in Their Own (Unfenced) Yard

How many times have you been walking your dog and been approached by other dogs, presumably in their own yard, but not leashed? Have you worried about what could happen if they left the yard and attacked you? What if your dog thought you were being attacked and went after the other dogs? The reality is, accidents can happen in a split-second. Dog owners should be considerate toward people walking down the sidewalk or street, even if they’re not walking with any dogs of their own.


Poor Yellow Lab

Consider this recent case where an owner left their elderly Yellow Lab out about 10 pm one weekend evening to do his business. The owner walked away from the door and guess what? When she returned her dog had wandered off and was soon reported as missing. That was almost seven weeks ago, just before an April blizzard hit the area, and the dog was just found in mid-May, deceased, I’m sad to say. But, just as easily as he strayed from home, he also easily have been stolen.



Either of the scenarios could have been prevented by the dog being in a fenced yard or being leashed. To make matters worse in this case, the dog was arthritic and needed daily medication, on top of being practically blind and nearly deaf! What was this owner thinking? But, even if dogs don’t become blind or deaf, they still can become senile and wander away. Though they once knew and respected the boundaries of their yard, they may no longer may recognize them. Fencing could prevent that from happening.


My Personal Opinion

I’m personally not a believer in underground or electronic fencing. First, dogs are instinctual animals and if they see something they want or that piques their curiosity badly enough, they’re going to take off and brave that momentary zap of their collar. Then comes the next problem: the dog is reluctant to come back into its yard, for fear of that zapping sensations again. Secondly, even if the dog stays in the yard, underground fencing does absolutely nothing to prevent other animals, dog-nappers, or children from coming into your yard, setting up all kinds of possibilities – none of them good. Underground fences have worked well for many people, but there are people out there for whom they haven’t. Owners of underground fencing also have to make sure they follow the rules the installers and trainers have given them or, again, the fence will not work the way it’s supposed to. If you don’t have a fenced yard, then please either let your dog out on a leash or use a tie-out for those times you don’t want to go out with them (at night or during inclement weather, perhaps). But when using a tie-out method, make sure you stand there and watch to make certain no accidents happen and you can bring the dog back in as soon as they’re done using the restroom.


Written by Cheryl Hentz



Following are links to articles that talk about the pros and cons of different fencing.

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