Along with planning a sturdy and Wink-proof fence design, I also am researching ways to make the yard more fun and interactive. One of the best tips I think I have ever received was that outside time should be a lot of fun and the dogs should look forward to it. That doesn’t seem too hard, right? Throw some toys out, and living in the country, there are plenty of things to hold their attention.
Well, that isn’t necessarily true. They will lose interest in toys, and the things out in the country that catch their eye as something fun to do will usually be on the other side of the fence. The idea with the dogs that like to roam is to make their yard so interesting and enjoyable that they would rather be there.
Google has been my friend and I have found many ideas to keep the pups interested and enjoying the yard and their time outside! I am going to share some of those ideas here. I will not be posting pictures of what I find as it so hard to tell what is and is not copyrighted online. I would also hate to steal someone’s picture without realizing I did, and that person’s hard work and design idea go unrecognized. There will almost certainly be a blog in the future of how their doggie play land turns out though.
I have decided that instead of burying part of the fence, I will use landscaping rocks along the bottom of the fence. This will make the perimeter much more attractive, and I could even put some rose bushes in there since I want rose bushes everywhere I can put them anyway. Climbing bushes maybe, oooh, ahhh. I could go so far as to put rocks on the outside as well, and put more plants there as well. The rocks will still discourage digging and will add a lot of beauty to the landscaping. Putting the plants closer to the fence line will also discourage the dogs from digging those up. Rocks are just no fun for digging at all, and especially not if they have a better place to dig (keep reading for that idea).
Laying down heavy plastic (which I have an abundance of!) under the rocks is a great idea to keep weeds way down and keep everything looking clean. So much easier to maintain as well. Unless your dogs are not like mine and will not be wanting to play leap frog with you the whole time you are weeding the flowerbeds.
You could even add shrubs or some kind of other bushes on the outside and made it almost a hidden puppy oasis back there. Some of the forums that talk about this being the way to go have even said that this discourages the dogs from jumping on the fence and getting very close to it. This could be very beneficial when people come to visit and your dogs are not trying to push the fence down either barking for them to stay away, or to come in and play.
Your fence will also not take such a beating and you won’t have that lovely “bottom bubble” that fences seem to get when they have been jumped on numerous times. The designs and patterns for the rocks along the fence bottom are also limitless! Some were done in straight lines, some done with squares, overlapping circles and diamonds, some were done in a wavy pattern that weaved on both sides of the fence like a curvy road that just happened to have a fence down the middle of it. One thing I can attest is that the pictures that I saw were incredibly attractive and hid the fact that they were trying to keep their dogs away from the fence. They all looked like they were on purpose rather than looking like a puppy prison of sorts.
There is an old spinning clothesline out at the Rattlesnake. You know the ones with four arms? I found balls that are made with tethers attached that I can hang from that. I tested the clothesline to see if it still spins and how easily, and it spins very well and easily. One arm could have a ball, one could have a tug of war toy, and the other two can have some kind of fun toys. That will make for a good doggie playstation. There is also an idea of hanging a treat dispenser of some sort from there that might make for a good bit of fun. If that seems to be an issue with four dogs and one dispenser, I can always put a dispenser on each arm and let them each have fun with it. It will also be entertaining to see them make it spin away from the others as they try as well. If that seems to cause fights, or general grumpiness, I may opt to have four free treat dispensers and leave the toys on the clothes rack.
I found a great idea for building them a sand box. This will be good to give them a place where they are allowed to and can easily dig in. This will be even more reason for them to leave the landscaping rocks and thorny rose bushes alone. I will use 2×10’s and make them a square of 5′ x 5′. I will buy the 10′ boards, and will only need two. Money saved! Kid safe sand is available many places online and can be shipped to your door, or you could check out home improvement stores and department stores that offer sandboxes, and buy as much as you would like right in person. There is of course always the option to buy full loads and partial loads of sand based on your needs, and you could have plenty to add more if need be. I suggest getting more than necessary just for such occasions.
You’ll want a cover for your pup’s sand box, just like you would need for a sand box for a child. Covers are relatively easy to make. Just use a piece of 3/4′ plywood. Remember to use treated lumber for the bordering boards and seal with a weather resistant exterior paint or deck finish, and buy the mold resistant plywood and treat it in the same manner as the boards.
I plan to also use smaller boards, such 2×4’s that will me to make a sturdy frame around the plywood. If you decide to go with a larger sandbox than I am, building this frame would also enable you to add more pieces of plywood. Clamps can be easily added to hold the cover in place as well.
Hint: Keep an eye on all wood and see if chewing the wood becomes a problem. Discuss with a trusted trainer or a vet about whether your pup is safe chewing on it or not, and to find ways to prevent this behavior, if it is troublesome.
Another fun thing to do, is to buy a small, hard plastic swimming pool, dig a hole just big enough for it, and lay landscaping materials for borders, designed bricks, or anything else your creative mind may take you around the border of the pool to make more attraction and keep some dirt from being tracked into it. These are easy to clean out and not expensive to replace, if necessary. Be sure to buy a pool that is shallow enough for your shortest dog to stand up in easily, and add some sort of step(s) so that they can enter and exit easily as well.
The Internet has a wealth of ideas for fun ideas for dogs of every breed, discipline, and background. The universal rules are shade, adequate and fresh water, shelter, and supervision. Of course, sometimes our dogs have to stay outside while we are gone, but make sure they are adjusted to their new yard and home before leaving them for an extended period of time. Just like toddlers, it takes them no time for dogs to do something that could hurt themselves, especially if they are in a completely new home and surroundings.
Take into consideration if you are moving from a rural area to the city and vise versa, and keep an eye out for any holidays where fireworks are used always, but especially if they are in a new place. (And out where we are, know when hunting season is, since it’s a source of sudden loud noises.)