About Alaskan Malamutes & Siberian Huskies
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The Dog Yard

Maintenance -- A clean environment is a must for two reasons, health and smell. Pick the lot -- go out with a shovel and get poop out of the yard. Disease and parasites live in poop, remove the risk. Also smell and mess live in poop, remove the unpleasantness.  Bag it, compost it, bury it -- just remove it.  Then hose off and bleach/lime/disinfect the kennels or yards.  Smell goes a long way towards indicating cleanliness.

Construction -- The two main problems with dog yards are mud and escapes. There are lots of ways to keep the dog yard free of mud.

  Expense Easy to Hose Easy to Disinfect Pluses Minuses
Concrete High yes yes toughens pads, permanent falls can injury because of hardness
Gravel Medium no no comes in lots of sizes, packs down well must renew, dogs eat,
Woodchip Medium no no cuts down on mud unless they dig through the chips must renew, dogs eat, mildew & molds
 Concrete tile or brick  High yes  yes haven't used this, seems like a lot of work to install labor intensive to install
Dirt or Grass  None no no You already have it Mud

We have dirt/grass and are buying gravel as often as we can to fill in the muddy areas around the gates and perimeter paths. We have more labor than budget, so it's a good answer for us. We are on a slope so we terraced with landscape timbers and cross ties at the bottom of our fences and the gravel that doesn't get stomped into the ground tends to wash downhill and pile up at the fences (like dams).  Which we like, because it will help level the lots eventually and we are in the East Tennessee foothills (if you grabbed hold of one end of our place and stretched, we'd have 10 acres instead of 6 because it all stands on end). Gravel toughs the dogs' pads, which we also like for the sled team. Did I mention we have 6 acres, figure up what concrete would cost?

(Thanks to the Terri Williams Memorial Fund, the rescue kennels are now paved with concrete block over gravel.)  

Fences -- Escapes will drive you nuts. Once you get a dog that discovers he can escape, and lead the rest of the pack out the hole like water out a dam, that dog seems to decide it is his mission in life to meet you on the front porch. Or down by the mailbox. There are lots of ways to fence in a dog.  (WE DO NOT RECOMMEND TYING OUT DOGS. This practice makes the dog aggressive and protective and offers the dog no protection from strays, kids, or thieves.) You can mix and match fencing and posts, but these are several types of fencing rated by difficulty to install, expense, sturdiness, and escape proof (under and over and through).

  Installation Expense Sturdiness Escape proof
Chain link mesh on chain link posts concreted into the ground Professional Yes. If mess is stretched tight and posts concreted, it's the most sturdy Dogs will go under unless stapled, over because it's sturdy, especially in corners
Standalone chain link panels Hour's project Highest per sq. foot.  Yes. Yes because of bars on bottom. No because rigid corners. Can be moved by determined 35# female Siberian Husky.
Welded wire mesh on concreted wooden posts Weekend project  Not very  Depends if you stretch the wire with a come-along or stretcher  If you use something along the bottom to prevent nosing out or chewing out, like landscape timbers, 1x4's, or hot-wire.
Field fencing on driven-in metal posts Weekend project  Less than above because no concrete, except maybe gates Depends if you stretch the wire with a come-along or stretcher. Same as above AND, metal posts can be dug up by a determined dog.
Any kind of wire mesh stapled to trees Weekend project  No posts and follows natural terrain. Difficult in woods Difficult to keep a dog from going under the mesh
Hot wire or polypropylene tape with stainless steel filaments interwoven  Weekend project Cheap. Flimsy -- a startled dog will run right through it. Flimsy -- a startled dog will run right through it.
Invisible fencing* Professional or Weekend project Pricey to Cheap Useless to a determined dog, they just run through the pain and refuse to come home. Requires extensive training and does not keep out strays, thieves, or children.
Tie out cables Afternoon's project Cheap A determined dog can break cables and hardware Does not keep out strays or children or thieves, encourages aggression in dogs.

*I know of three people who use Invisible Fencing successfully. All three use it in combination with a physical barrier.

Sleddog Rescue has several of these options.
Primary isolation lot -- 6' welded mesh stapled to trees with lumber stapled to bottom, woods' dirt.
Primary rescue lot -- 5' welded mesh on concreted landscape timbers posts, hotwired on top, not always turned on, dirt, grass, and some gravel. (Now concrete block paver stones)
Play lot -- 4' field fencing with hot wire across the top.  (Wire purchased to make it 6 foot.)
Gates have 4-guage hog panels cut to fit so the dog who grabs and tears -- grabs something unbreakable.

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This website last updated November 2002