TreeTops Animal Rescue
PO Box 584
Landenberg, PA 19350
(484) 727-7456

Cats: 18   |  Dogs: 6

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Why do Rescues Prefer Adopters to Have a Fenced Yard?

Because we want our dogs to be as happy, healthy and safe as possible!!

Some dogs are perfectly happy being walked on a leash, with occasional trips to dog parks or a friend or relative's fenced yard,  and we will adopt those dogs to someone without a fenced yard.  But although dogs can be “taught their boundaries” without a fence, we have heard literally hundreds of first hand stories of dogs who were “perfectly trained” for years, until the day they ran off and disappeared or got hit by a car.  For this reason, a dog should NEVER be off-leash except in a securely fenced area.  

Therefore for most of our dogs, we do feel that a fenced yard is best.  Have you ever seen how joyful dogs are when they chase other dogs or kids around a yard, wrestle, roll in the grass, play ball or frisbee, or jump into a pool or splash through a sprinkler?  They cannot play like this if they’re always on a leash, so for this they need a fenced yard.   

Have you ever had a dog who takes 10+ minutes finding just the right place to do his business, or had two dogs on leashes each wanting to get as far from the other for some degree of privacy, or had two dogs who are constantly getting tangled up while sniffing out what the other is doing ?  With a fenced yard, you can let them out when they need to go, let them take their time, and stand inside a warm, dry, lighted house until they’re done. A fenced yard makes it much easier to have a housetrained dog. Then your leash time can be spent on exercise, walks, and training instead of the chore of bathroom breaks.    

Pros and Cons about Physical and “Invisible” Fences

Physical Fences

Physical fences can be made of plastic, metal, or wood, be chain-link, mesh, post & rail, picket, or privacy, be sunk into the ground, or above ground, or anywhere from 3-6 feet high.  Whether a particular fence is “safe” for a dog, depends on the size and behavior of the particular dog itself. There are dogs who have figured out how to dig under, jump or climb over, or break through every kind of fence of every height and some even learn how to open the gates.


  •    Dogs do not need any training to “understand” the clearly defined boundary of the yard
  •    Works with any dog — any age puppy, new dogs, visiting dogs, etc.
  •     Keeps out intruders- human, canine, deer etc. A physical fence prevents unsupervised interactions between your dog and other people and animals
  •    Neighbors feel secure because they can see that your dog is restrained.


  •     Some neighborhoods restrict or prohibit the installation of physical fences.
  •     Depending on the size of the yard, the cost of installing a secure physical fence may be high.
  •     Depending on features of the yard (trees, rocks, hills), a secure physical fence may be extremely difficult to install.
  •     You must observe your dog’s behavior (jumping, digging, etc.), inspect the fence regularly and make repairs promptly, and you may need to replace or back-up the fence to make it more secure.
  •     If there are people regularly entering and leaving your yard (children, service people, etc), the gate may be left open or not securely latched and/or the dog may learn to make a break for it whenever it’s opened.
  •     If the fence does not surround the house, then the dog must be watched/trained carefully to make sure it does not run out a door into the unfenced area.


“Invisible” Fences

These are fences with an underground wire or a wireless radio system generating a loop which defines the boundary of the “yard”.  This “fence” does not keep the dog in physically or by force, but by training them to recognize the boundary by seeing flags and hearing a beep.  The dog wears a collar powered by a small battery which beeps when the dog gets too close to the boundary. If the dog does not move away from the boundary it will receive a “shock” which is similar in intensity to the strong static electricity charge you may have felt when touching a metal object in the winter.  It is highly unpleasant and surprises them but does not hurt them (it is physically impossible for the tiny battery in the collar to burn or injure the dog).  Most dogs receive only a few “shocks” during training the first few weeks and then never again, after which the flags are removed.  This ”fence” system will ONLY work if a reliable system is installed and maintained and the dog is trained properly (which can take up to a month).


  •      Can be used in neighborhoods where a secure physical fence is not allowed.
  •     Can be used in yards where a physical fence would be difficult or too expensive to install- large properties (1+ acres), or difficult terrain (hills, rocks, woods, etc.)
  •     Can be used inside a yard to keep dogs out of gardens, ponds, etc
  •     Can be used to back up a physical fence by keeping a dog away from the fence which it keeps digging under or jumping over.
  •     Can surround the house so that any dog running out of the house is still within the fence.
  •     Easy to maintain and very dependable IF a good system is installed correctly and the dog is well trained


  •      A cheap or badly installed system may break easily or not work well. Using the thicker wire and a professional system is worth the money in the long-run.
  •       The dog MUST be trained properly for it to work and will not learn on its own. This takes time and effort on the part of the owner, and must be repeated for each dog in the yard. Some dogs, such as strong-willed dogs (e.g. huskies) or those with a strong prey drive (hounds) will take more time and effort, may need adjustments to the system and will always need to be monitored more closely.
  •    Just because the dog has learned the boundary doesn’t mean you no longer need to maintain it. The system MUST be continually maintained- periodically checking that the system is working, the collar fits the dog correctly (e.g. heavy coated dogs may need different collars), the batteries are good, and the settings are appropriate- otherwise the dog is likely to figure out they can “escape”, in just the same way they would notice an open gate or a hole in a physical fence.  
  •     Buying a collar for each dog, replacing batteries, and replacing collars if the dogs chew, lose or destroy them, can get to be expensive over time.
  •      In a small yard (1/4 acre or narrow), the warning “beep zone” may be take up so much of the yard that the dog does not have enough of a safe area to be able to run and play comfortably. 
  •     The “invisible fence” does NOT keep other people or animals out of your yard. If there are aggressive dogs wandering loose, neighbors who tease the dog, or dog thefts in your area, this is not an appropriate system to use.
  •      The “invisible” fence does not work for dogs who have not been trained. New dogs, visiting dogs, or puppies below 5-6 months would need to be kept on-leash inside the yard to be safe.
  •      Neighbors, dogs, or cats passing by may not feel secure if your dog is charging towards them, since they cannot see the invisible boundary or know whether the dog will stop. In particular, if your dog acts aggressively toward the people, dogs or cats passing by, this is not an appropriate containment system since a person or animal may come too close to the invisible border by accident. 


Whatever you choose, REMEMBER:

NO Fence is ever completely escape-proof

Dogs NEED to be monitored regularly in a fenced yard of any type

ALL Fences must be regularly inspected and maintained.

NO Dog is safe when left out in a yard when no one is home.  

The RIGHT fence for you depends on your particular type of yard and neighborhood, your dog, and your family.



Invisible Fence by StayDog is happy to offer a Special Rescue Discount for a professionally installed Invisible Fence Brand System for only $899. That is a savings of $600! Call StayDog today at 610-644-1334 or visit for more information. All you need is your adoption papers to qualify!




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