Saturday, September 18, 2010

To Fence or Not to Fence? That is the question (long and boring post as always)

To fence or not to fence that is the question. When I bought my house the intent was to fence it as soon as I got a dog. Well, due to some unforeseen things needing to be done with the house (there's always something) my fence money was eaten up by other projects that had to get done.

Four years later I still want a fence. I also want something different to do for 40 hours a week and would love to move to the country, but that is another post. Well not really as both have to do with how long I will be in this house. So....what to do. I had a big old tree cut down last Spring in anticipation that this was going to be the summer that I got my fence and because I kept waiting for it to fall on the house when it stormed. Well now it is Fall and I still don't have my fence.

Due to traffic in the area I am not comfortable having Reese completely off leash at my house. We are continuing to work on distractions but to be honest I haven't done much work on them these past few months as she has been doing so well at my agility trainers and she has sheep. Distractions don't get any higher than sheep for Reese. But now we need to step it up a bit and get back to recall work with other distractions like critters and running dogs that are loose things we are more apt to see around our neighborhood.

I don't know how long I'll be in this house but given the current real estate market probably longer than I want. One bummer with a fence is I have no back door but a side door that goes to a concrete walkway. So I won't be able to open the door and let Reese out to do her business. I will still have to take her out on leash when she needs to go. That's the way it's always been done so frankly it would be a little weird not to do it that way. It also helps to keep track of the poos since the goal here is to try to pick them up as soon as the drop is made....  okay enough about crap!

Then there is the issue of what kind of fence. Cyclone fencing is out. Too expensive and I don't care for the way it looks. Wood would be my first choice as you can buy the panels and after the posts are put in it is relatively quick to put up. The other option would be to use T-posts and welded wire. It is quick to put up but the corners still need to be either cemented in with posts or braced or both to keep it strong. This is the cheap and fast way to get a fence up and it could be easily removed. Reese would not ever be in the yard alone and it would prevent her from running after critters and other distractions if they really caught her eye. This would allow us to do agility work and play without the need for a long line which really cuts down on what you can do agility wise. Playing fetch and Frisbee would be much more fun without having to worry about getting tangled in a line or how far the throw can be.

I was all set to start building a fence today with the welded wire. I was hoping we could make due with T-posts for the corners even if we had to cement those in at least for now. But I spoke with a friend of mine who has done a lot of fence work who really confirmed all the things I keep reading. That the corners really make or break a fence. I don't think my dog is going to be slamming up against the wire, but if I am going to do all this work of pounding posts and attaching the wire I don't want it to come down before next Spring. I also want it to look decent and not full of sagging wire.

A wooden fence really isn't in the budget right now so I wanted to do what I could so we could get out there and train before the snow flies. But my friend is right I still need to take the time to do the corners right whatever kind of fence I build. I think the wire would work for us with supported corners and it would meet the purpose we want it for. But I would really like a wooden fence. So do I suck it up and find a way to do wood now? 

Or do I put up the wire one, and take it down when I am ready to put up the wooden. This would give me more time to watch the housing market and get an idea of how long I may be in this house, and it would give me time to sock away some funds. Since winter is just around the corner how long will we have to train in the back yard. Mother Nature isn't telling and in this state it's always a crap shoot anyway.

The other option is not to fence. Wait and see what next Spring brings and then decide. Keep working on the distractions and recall with the distractions etc. I will be doing this anyway, as a fence is in no way going to replace any walking, running or biking that we do for exercise.

I was really bummed out last night after thinking about all this as I was so excited to get the fence up. The future is unknown we don't know how long we will be anywhere. You can't live always thinking, 'what if I move, what if this or that.' Unfortunately, we do need to plan for some things though. Like when the furnace breaks and you need a new one, which mine has been going for about 10 years longer than expected so we are on borrowed time.

The thing I want the most though if I am honest with myself is to have a dog that is reliable off leash. So that we can go on hikes off leash and go to parks whether dog specific or not and play and run. I want my dog to be a dog. I grew up with leash laws in the city and always having dogs attached to you in some way.  Having seen the other side now, where dogs can run and play off leash it really makes me think that those dogs really do have a better life. They get to be dogs! I want that for my dog too. So we will keep working towards that goal. 

But I still want a fence.

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