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Containment Issues - Chainlink Fences

The most common home fencing material, chainlink, is fairly easy for dogs to dig under, climb or jump over; that’s the bad news. The good news is that chainlink is easy and relatively inexpensive to dog-proof.

I have often given advice to frustrated dog guardians that has proven to be so successful that it’s time to put it in writing. Dog “escape artists” are either Diggers or Climbers; it’s rare for a dog to do both. I’ll describe fence reinforcement steps for Diggers and Climbers separately, however, the tools and materials you’ll need to do each job are basically the same.

 THE TOOLS 


Basic Tools for Each Project

 THE MATERIALS 


5' tall Wire Fencing - 150 feet

6' long Metal Fence Post

3/8ths Diameter Rebar


Rebar Wire String

Chainlink Gate Latch & Padlock

The tools can be purchased at any hardware store or stores with hardware departments such as WalMart. The materials can be purchased from stores such as Home Depot or any building supplies retailer in your area.

 DIGGERS 

Objective: To make the bottom part of the fence rigid and as unyielding as possible.

Materials: 3/8ths Reinforcement bar (rebar), Reinforcement bar wire (rebar wire) and possibly some wire fencing.

For each section of fence (the distance between posts, usually around 9 feet) you’ll need one long and four short rebar pieces. Long means at least 6 feet and short means at least 3 feet. I recommend ordering an extra dozen short pieces and a small roll of wire fencing; invariably you will see small openings that these materials can easily fix.

Thread horizontally the long pieces through the bottom-most loops of each section of fence, starting at roughly a foot or so from each post. You don’t have to go through each loop, every 3 to 4 loops is fine, and it’s better if you thread either back-to-front or front-to-back loops. Just imagine you’re sewing and you’ll get the idea. Try to end up with the rebar roughly in the center of each section.

Space the four short pieces evenly apart, with two at either end, about half way between the post and the end of the longer horizontal piece, and the other two behind the horizontal piece. About a foot from the bottom of the fence, begin threading vertically the short pieces through the loops to the ground. Hammer the remaining two feet into the ground.

Chances are you’ll have a pretty tight fit and you might not need to use rebar wire but I recommend tying the rebar stakes and horizontal bars to the fence with foot-long pieces of wire that are folded into 6" pieces and then twisted tightly with pliers.

Finally, the gate(s) need to be prepared. If the gate swings in as well as out, you need to place a short rebar stake into the ground on the outside of the gate in order to prevent it from being pushed open from the inside. With the gate closed, hammer all but 3 or 4 inches of the shorter rebar stake into the ground, at around the gate’s center.

Note: I strongly recommend that you add a second latch, see MATERIALS above, and put a heavy duty padlock through the hole in at least one of the latches. TIP: The latches can be adjusted to fit more snugly if you squeeze the ends closer together just a little, and you can tighten the latch bolt so that some force is necessary to raise it up and down.

 CLIMBERS 

Objective: To stop climbers by adding height or blocking to the tops of fences.

Materials: Wire fencing, metal fence posts, rebar and rebar wire.

If adding height to existing fencing is all you need to do to keep your pet confined, we’ll discuss it here; later we’ll discuss adding blocking to the tops of fences.

Get as much heavy gauge wire fencing (minimum height of four feet) as you’ll need to go across the entire length of your existing fence. You’ll need two metal fence posts for each section of fence (the distance between posts, usually around nine feet); two for each working gate, and one for each corner. The fence posts must be at least six feet tall. Even if you have to pay a higher price for the materials and a delivery charge, the total cost of the project will be less than ten percent of the cost of replacing your fence so, cheer up!

Lay out your fence post material by section of fence, placing each new fence post about five feet apart, (roughly two feet away from each existing fence post), place two on either side of each working gate, and put a post in each corner. Now you’re ready to begin the hammering, sweet joy! It doesn’t matter whether you work from the inside or the outside of the fenced area, whatever is more convenient.

Put each fence post up against the existing fence and hammer about one foot of it into the ground. Now that the posts are up, we’re ready for the wire fencing to go up. Unroll as much of the wire fencing as you can comfortably work with and place it flat against the outside of the new posts and entire existing fence, including all gates. No more than half of the height of the new fencing should be above the existing fence. Use rebar wire to secure the wire fencing to the chainlink fence and new fence posts. The wire is inexpensive; use a lot of it!

The working gates can now be attended to by cutting only enough wire fencing above the gate to allow the gate to open. What you’ll have left is a working gate (Dutch door) that requires us to stoop a little to enter or leave the yard.

Note: I strongly recommend that you add a second latch, see MATERIALS above, and put a heavy duty padlock through the hole in at least one of the latches. TIP: The latches can be adjusted to fit more snugly if you squeeze the ends closer together just a little, and you can tighten the latch bolt so that some force is necessary to raise it up and down.

 ADDING BLOCKING 

Objective: Place a block (wire shelf) along the inside fence top.

Materials: 3/8ths thick, seven foot lengths of rebar, rebar wire, and wire fencing.

For each section of fence (the distance between posts, usually around 9 feet) you’ll need two pieces of rebar; two for each working gate, and one for each corner.

Lay out your rebar by fence sections, about five feet apart and roughly two feet from the nearest existing fence post; one rebar at each corner, and two on each side of a working gate. Thread the rebar vertically from the top loop into the middle loop and through the bottom loop to the ground. If weaving is too difficult, secure rebar with multiple pieces of rebar wire. Now, finally, the lovers of hammering can begin to hammer!

Hammer each rebar approximately one foot into the ground and secure the rebar with rebar wire to the existing fencing. Now it will be necessary to bend about one foot of rebar 30 to 45 degrees into the fenced in area. It takes a little bit of muscle but it’s not too difficult. Once done, we’re ready to lay the wire fencing along the top of each bent rebar.

Begin by laying the wire fencing flat on top of the bent rebar. Half of the fencing will be horizontal and the other half is folded vertical on the outside of the existing fence. Use rebar wire to fasten the wire fencing to the rebar and existing fence.

At the working gates, you may need to cut some fencing above the gate enough to allow the gate to swing open but there should not be space enough for any dog to squeeze through. However, to reiterate my point about gates: I strongly recommend that you add a second latch, see MATERIALS above, and put a heavy duty padlock through the hole in at least one of the latches. TIP: The latches can be adjusted to fit more snugly if you squeeze the ends closer together just a little, and you can tighten the latch bolt so that some force is necessary to raise it up and down.

 FINISHED FENCES 
 

Short & Long Rebar on non-Chainlink Fencing

Rebar with Chicken Wire Fencing


A Secure Enclosure. Elly's Lair.

Now you have outsmarted Woofer and your worries are over! Congratulate yourself. Good Job!

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