question: moving to an acreage and dogs

newtosdNovember 6, 2011

Hi everyone,

My husband and I will be moving to 8 acres in the country (surrounded by farm fields). Our Rottweiler mix has never been outside off of her leash, except in a fenced dog play area. We would prefer not to build a fence. What options do we have if she wants run off the property? We plan to walk her on the leash where we would like her to play several times before we try to remove the leash. Does anyone have other training tips? She is a slow learner who strives on routine and becomes nervous with change.

We also plan to adopt a male dog next year, when she is settled (not sure if that is relevant - she likes other dogs). She is just under 2 years old.

Thanks in advance for any advice. It is appreciated.

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You could try the invisible fencing but she would need to wear a collar and some training is involved. Ideally, pets shouldn't be left unsupervised with an invisible fence since other animals can enter and your dog could dash thru the boundary if tempted enough.

Another option, if the layout of your property allows it, is to put in a hot-wired fence. It wouldn't as obtrusive as a wood fence and could easily be removed at a later date. It would also keep out other animals.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2011 at 5:12PM
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Would you consider fencing a small play area for her? Half an acre would be fine, or even a quarter acre. You could fence the area from your back door out to make it easy to let her out off-lead for potty breaks when you can't walk her.

Electric fences and shock collars (they are the same thing) are banned in more civilized countries. Any type of training that involves creation of FEAR and potential of pain is an unnecessary and inhumane approach which will create other issues with many dogs. Particularly with a dog who is nervous with change, this would create more anxiety.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2011 at 9:57PM
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We had very good luck with invisible fencing. The dogs were not left out alone. We used it when we were out gardening, doing wood, other chores or just enjoying the outdoors. It does take a couple of weeks of training. Ours set for 10 feet of warning then a zap. After the training they don't even go in the warning area.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 7:11AM
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Though I've never owned a Rottie my impression of them is that she will want to keep you within view most of the time. Focus some training on having her come when called and you can probably leave her off leash while you are out walking around. She won't want to be outside alone if you go back inside the house. All of this will change once you get her a playmate - they will wander far and wide looking for things to do. Fun for them, not so much for you.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 9:24AM
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Thanks everyone. My husband and I have thought about the electric fence but we are worried about how she will react. She may be nervous but she is tough. Our first Rottie was great outside without a leash. He only ran off once to play with the neighbor's children. She usually stays in the same room as us, so maybe training session (disguised as play) will be enough as trianglejohn mentioned. I am just excited that she will have lots of room to play. Thanks again all.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 10:04AM
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My son has invisible fence and it has really done a great job with his lab, but you do have to remember, it won't keep other dogs off of your property. If you have dogs in your area, especially dog-aggressive ones who wander, this could be a problem. There are different levels of power and can be regulated to the lowest level to do the job.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 7:02AM
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I should have mentioned - though we had a lot of acreage we did about 2 1/2 ac with the invisible fence. Actually it was to large. If you decide on it - only do as much as you can see.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 7:36AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I'd do a hot wire fence. Our next door neighbor is a small gentleman's farm and about 4 acres were hot wired for several rescue dogs. It worked great and the dogs knew exactly where the boundary was at all times. Not so with invisible fences and our inv. fence was very, very traumatic for our Jack Russel so I never used it (after spending $800 on it) I'm sure with a rotty it might be different but I would get the hot wire to keep others out too.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2011 at 6:05PM
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I have 20 acres and some fenced pastures for my miniature donkeys. I have a 20 x 20 dog pen that I put the dogs in while I am outside working. My neighbors recently put in the invisible fence for their 2 german-short-haired pointer puppies, and that's working great for them.

Because of how things are laid out on my farm, I would have to do an enormous area of any other fencing, and don't want to pay that expense.

My female dog, Lily, can't be trusted off leash. She gets on a scent or sees something move, and she's off. Rocky, my male, is the only dog I've ever had that is wonderful off leash. He doesn't stray far from us since he needs to be near us. Someone told me maybe it's because he's mostly a herding dog?

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 1:20PM
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I have over 2 acres and did not want to fence the whole yard because it would have taken away the beauty of my forest. I had a 6 ft fence installed just outside my back door that wraps around one side of the house.The gate is just outside my back door and my chow has about 100 feet of enclosure.We call it a playpen but she has a view of the street and enjoys being out there. she gives a little bark when she wants to come in.Perfect for us.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 2:09AM
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I had the same problem when we moved to the farm. We had a 6 yr. old German Shepherd. We were fortunate she didn't want to wander - at first. I walked her around the property and every time she moved to go next door, I pulled her back and gave her a stern NO! I had gone out and bought a horse lead, I think that's what it's called. I bought it at the farm supply store. I only had to do this a few times and she learned quickly. I would recommend you try this before she starts to wander.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 5:23PM
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Even though you have 8 acres, I would put a small fence near the house. We had 5 acres, with 2 dogs and we put the fence so it went from one side, around the back to the other side with gates on both ends. That way we could put the dogs there for their protection. We had not only coyotes, but mountain lions, lynx, etc. The doggie door went into a inclosed patio also. Also when people came, we put the dogs out, until they got use to them. Even in the country you will find people don't like dogs running loose. In our area, they did not last long, due to neighbors having throughbred horses etc.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 6:40PM
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