How to Keep Dog in Yard Without a Fence


What can you do if you’re lucky enough to have a yard for your dog to play in but there’s no fence in place?

Well, you’ll rapidly discover that keeping your furballs contained without the benefits of a physical fence is challenging. As well as outlining your alternatives to a fence today, we’ll also be exploring some of the many ways your pooch could come to grief if he ends up roaming the neighborhood after escaping from the yard.

So, a brief look at some of these consequence of not creating and maintaining a secure environment for your pup before we show you what you can do to avoid these problems.

Read our related article, What Are the Best Ways to Keep a Dog in the Yard? for more unique ideas to keep your dog home!

I. What Are The Consequences for Dog Owners Without a Fence in Place?

It’s no secret dogs love to roam, and if left unattended and unsecured in your yard, there’s every chance they’ll take advantage and go on an adventure.

Unrestrained dogs out on the street can easily find themselves involved in an accident. Even if you live in the country and you don’t see what harm your dog will get into, you should still consider pedestrians, especially if your dog is aggressive around strangers.

Now, we’ll be doubling down on these reasons and more down below, but we’ll get right down to business now.

Read our related article on How to Keep a Dog Outside Without a Fence for more ideas on keeping your dog safe!

II. How To Keep Your Dog in the Yard If You Don’t Have a Fence

Consider the following options if your property does not have a secure boundary fence:

  1. Manual Boundary Training
  2. Consider Using a Long Line
  3. Utilize a Tie-Out System
  4. Build an Exercise Pen For Your Dog
  5. Explore Invisible Fences

1) Manual Boundary Training

While boundary training might be time-intensive, it’s also one of the cheapest alternatives to installing a new fence.

The premise is simple: you train your dog not to leave the yard.

Putting this into practice, of course, is where the hard work and effort comes in.

You can take various approaches to boundary training. There’s no right or wrong method and all that counts is finding what works for your dog.

If your yard already has some form of boundary in place, even if this is just a strip along the border or some gravel demarcating the boundary, this will make instructing your dog a little easier.

If there is absolutely no form of boundary in place, you might need to use some rope or flags during the initial stages of training.

Start by simply walking your dog around the yard on a leash. As with all dog training, positive reinforcement is key. Reward your pooch when he stays within the boundaries of your yard. If he breaches the boundary, quickly walk them back into the yard. Reward your dog for coming home.

Start gradually walking closer to the edge of your yard and, as always, reward your pup for staying where he belongs.

The final stage of training involves you walking outside your yard’s perimeter while urging your pooch to be good and stay inside. Throw treats into the yard rewarding compliance.

Now, this form of manual training is far from a quick fix. Also, depending on the temperament of your dog, it could be difficult to achieve results. The good news is, you have nothing to lose by giving it a go.

2) Consider Using a Long Line

A long line is any form of leash, tether, or rope that gives your dog some freedom to explore the yard while still ensuring he can’t escape.

This will be attached to you, so the method is contingent on your presence in the yard. That said, if you just want to relax in your chair with a good book without endlessly looking up to monitor your dog, this could be a worthwhile option to explore.

3) Utilize a Tie-Out System

A tie-out system utilizes a chain or rope to keep your dog where you want him even if you’re not in the yard.

This method gives your dog the freedom he would get from a long line, but it doesn’t require you to be out in the yard with him.

Some of these systems are designed to be permanently staked down, and others offer a more temporary solution by being attached to a tree or pole.

If the system anchors to a fixed point, your dog will benefit from a modest amount of room to stretch his legs. If it boasts a mobile anchor, your canine will enjoy unfettered access to the whole yard without any chance of escaping.

4) Build an Exercise Pen For Your Dog

If you’re looking for a quick and easy fix that doesn’t call for any training, building an exercise pen could be worth pursuing.

All that you need is a small enclosed area, so this solution is far cheaper than installing a fence around the perimeter of your yard.

The drawback, of course, is that your dog will have more limited access to the yard. If you have a puppy or a small breed, though, a pen is a neat solution to the headache of your dog escaping from the yard.

5) Explore Invisible Fences


If you don’t like the idea of a physical fence, you could investigate invisible fences.

An invisible fence is an electric device that dispenses mild static shocks if your dog goes beyond the boundary.

This type of electric dog fence is much easier to maintain than a physical fence. Also, your dog is highly unlikely to tunnel under these fences.

Cost-wise, you should make savings over installing a physical fence, too.

With some of these fences, you’ll need to bury some cable around the yard’s perimeter. Some function with no wires whatsoever. With these fences, a GPS signal will monitor your dog’s whereabouts.

Although they are commonly called electric dog fences, it’s a mild static shock rather than an electric shock delivered. Your dog will be surprised and shocked rather than hurt, so you shouldn’t let the idea of these fences put you off. Having said that, if you don’t feel comfortable and don’t find the concept of this form of repulsion training to be humane, you should not use one.

The downside of these fences are that you will need to train your dog. Most bad experiences with these fences stem from the dog receiving insufficient training.

OK, now you have a handful of options that will guarantee your dog stays in the yard even if you don’t have a fence so which ones seems like the smoothest fit?

Read our related articles, How Deep Do You Bury Invisible Fence Wire? and How to Bury Dog Fence Wire Under Your Driveway for a quick look at the installation process!

III. More Reasons Why You Need to Keep Your Dog Safely Contained

If you’re still unconvinced and you’re tempted to risk leaving things to chance, here are some more solid reasons why you should consider your options if you don’t have a fence.

  • Cars
  • Getting Lost
  • Biting People
  • Issues With Other Dogs
  • Your Dog Could Eat Something Bad
  • Interaction with Other Animals
  • Your Dog Could Be Stolen
  • It Can Be Illegal For Dogs To Roam

Read our related article, How Do I Teach My Dog to Stay in the Yard? Whether you have no fence or an invisible fence, training is key to keeping your dog home.


Passing traffic is one of the principal reasons for keeping your dog from roaming outside alone.

Dogs die after being hit by cars every day, and even if your dog survives being hit by a car, the chances of sustaining an injury is high.

Even if you feel your dog is trained enough not to run into traffic, you just can’t predict what will happen out on the highway and an accident could happen at any moment. Why take the chance with your precious furball’s life?

Getting Lost

Now, there’s obviously very little chance your dog will deliberately run away. The thing is, many dogs can wander off and lose their bearings. Just because dogs appear to have an innate homing instinct and seemingly first-class navigation skills, they can always end up lost.

The chances of this happening are greater if you live in a hectic city environment, or if you have just moved to a new area.

Even dogs not prone to running off at all can be easily spooked by a noise or being chased by another dog and then end up completely lost.

Again, is it worth taking this chance when you could very easily beef up security in your yard?

Biting People

The majority of dog owners don’t perceive their dog as a threat in terms of biting.

The reality is, dogs bite people every day, and the dog clearly belongs to someone.

Well-trained dogs could still end up biting someone depending on how that person interacts with them.

The repercussions of your dog biting someone can be severe and could even result in your dog being euthanized.

Issues With Other Dogs

If your dog gets out and about outside your yard, there’s every chance he’ll encounter other dogs.

Not all dogs get along, and they are also, of course, highly territorial. So, there’s every chance another dog could chase your pup and leave him stranded. He could also end up injuring another dog and getting your embroiled in a lawsuit.

You could also find your dog ends up pregnant if she isn’t spayed and ends up meeting other dogs.

Do the right thing and make sure you dog stays inside the boundaries of your yard.

Your Dog Could Eat Something Bad

Another possible concern if your dog wanders off is what he might eat on his travels.

Half-eaten scraps of food, pieces of plastic, and even medications could end up causing all sorts of problems.

Since you won’t know what he’s consumed, this will also make treatment more difficult if he ends up sick.

Interaction with Other Animals

If your dog roams off, there’s a strong probability he will encounter other forms of wildlife. Depending on where you live and what sort of animals you find there, this could be potentially dangerous.

Even small animals such as raccoons can be dangerous to dogs, and they also carry rabies. Birds of prey can be a surprise hazard for smaller dogs, swooping down from nowhere. More obvious threats like coyotes and wolves can end up killing dogs.

Conversely, your dog could kill birds or other small animals.

Your Dog Could Be Stolen

You might think the chance of your dog being stolen is remarkably slim, but many owners of purebred dogs have been devastated to find their pride and joy has been dog-napped.

Not only do you run the risk of losing your precious pooch, there’s also a more sinister underbelly to dog theft. Many kidnappers will use stolen dogs as bait in dog fights.

As with all of these potential complications if your dog wanders off, following one of the methods above can prevent it from happening in the first place.

It Can Be Illegal For Dogs To Roam

In many places, it’s against the law for dogs to roam alone in public. You could be fined if your dog is caught in breach of these laws, and you could even end up with your dog confiscated. Fines will increase if your dog is involved in any kind of biting incident, and the process of retrieving your dog can sometimes be quite lengthy.

Read More: Is an Invisible Fence Cheaper Than a Regular Dog Fence? We share everything you need to know about cost, benefits, and downsides to these fence types!

IV. Conclusion

Well, we hope by now you have a clear idea of how you can keep your dog contained in your yard even if you don’t have a fence.

You should also have a thorough understanding of the many reasons making it necessary to prioritize security if you have an outside space that’s not enclosed by a permanent boundary fence.

Before you head off, we’d urge you to bookmark BarkVA. Unlike many pet sites that concentrate on every animal under the sun, here we are focused only on all things canine. So, if you’re a committed dog lover, consider us your go-to resource. We’ll see you soon!

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Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

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