Looking to build a DIY dog fence? In this article we’ll cover some of the more common options, the equipment you need, and how to do it.
Styles of Fence Covered
- Wood Frame Wire Fence
- Full Wood Privacy Dog Fence
- Welded Wire Fence (Budget Option)
- Chain Link Fence (1980s Option)
- Movable Travel Fence
- Underground Fences and GPS Fences Using E-Collars
- Adding a Jumping Deterrent
Note: If you click some of the links in this article we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.
How to Build a Wood Frame Wire Dog Fence
- How to Build a Wood Frame Wire Dog Fence
- How to Build a Wood Privacy Dog Fence
- How to Build a Welded Wire Fence (Budget and Easy Install Extreme)
- How to Install a Chain Link Fence
- Movable Travel Fence for Indoors or Outdoors – The InstaFence?
- Underground Fences and GPS Fences Using E-Collars
- How To Add A Containment System To Prevent Dogs From Jumping the Fence
We chose this style to highlight first since it’s relatively simple and low cost yet still looks great.
It doesn’t have the classic look of a full wooden fence (covered below) but’s it’s a nice blend between ultra cheap wire fences and more expensive full wood options.
- 4×4 inch posts for the corners and supports
- Horse wire
- 2x4s for the gate and to connect the posts
- 2×4 brackets
- Wood Screws
- Measuring tape
- Saw to cut the final sections to fit and to cut the angled 2x4s for the gate. A circular table saw works great for this but you can do it with any saw as long as you measure the cross beam angles for the gate carefully and use an angle guide.
- 2 hinges for the gate and a lock system
- Measure out the area to be fenced and use this to count how many 4x4s and 2x4s you’ll need
- You’ll place one 4×4 at each corner
- You’ll space out 4x4s eight feet apart (the length of the 2×4)
- Measure how many linear feet you intend to cover then use the rules of thumb above to estimate how much to buy.
- For example, say you have a space you want to fence that is 10 feet wide by 25 feet long.
- That’s 250 linear feet total.
- 250/8 = 31.25. You’ll need roughly 31 2x4s. Next let’s calculate in the extra widths of the 4x4s.
- 31 lengths of 2×4 * 4 inches = 124 inches / 12 = 10.3 feet
- Did the math work? 31 sections of 8 foot long 2×4 = 31 * 8 = 248 feet. With the extra 10 feet of 4×4 it’s too long. Our max is 250 feet.
- Dial it down to 30 lengths of 2×4. That’s 30 * 8 = 240 feet of 2x4s plus the extra 10 feet or so of 4x4s makes just about 250 feet.
- Don’t forget the gate! Let’s say the gate is roughly 4-5 feet across. Let’s dial it down again to 29 to make up for that.
- 29 * 8 = 232 linear feet. Add in 29 * 4 = 116 inches / 12 = 9.6 feet. Still almost 10 feet of posts. That gives us 242 linear feet plus 5 feet for the gate makes 247 plus an extra 8 inches for the two 4x4s around the gate equals almost 250 total.
- Make it easy on yourself and go back to the original 30 sections. You can cut as needed.
- The final stretch will be slightly less than 8 feet but you can measure that at the end.
- This is what we call winging it.
- Choose where you want the gate. Mark that space out.
- Use string to lay out the entire fence. Place our 2x4s and 4x4s along the string to double check that everything fits together.
- Build the gate. See video example below. It’ll be a simple rectangle with one solid cross beam and two smaller cross beams to make the other side. Hold all pieces together using 2×4 brackets. If you can draw this out in canva.com or a similar program. You can scale it to full inches. This will help you calculate the angles and angle cuts for the inner pieces. Angle cuts will vary greatly depending on the size of the outer frame.
- Start at one side to the fence. Add a 4×4 post. Measure 8 feet over. Add another 4×4 post. Connect both using 2x4s and the brackets. You’ll need two 2x4s between each set of 4×4 posts. See video thumbnail below to see what that looks like.
- Rinse and repeat till the fence is completed. For the gate you’ll need to attach it using the two hinges. Both sides of the gate should be bordered by 2x4s.
How to Build a Wood Privacy Dog Fence
Next up we have ye standard wood picket fence. See full equipment list and instructions in the video below.
We chose this style of full wood fence for it’s easy of construction.
Similar to the wood frame wire fence above, you’ll measure your linear feet of fence. Then you’ll calculate the width of the corners and supporting posts in relation to the length of the 1x6s you’ll use to space the support posts.
Lastly, you’ll nail or screw in the panel pieces. If desired you’ll paint or stain it at the end.
Not so easy or quick. However, these fences give maximum privacy. Plus, if built high enough it will be nearly impossible for your dog to jump.
How to Build a Welded Wire Fence (Budget and Easy Install Extreme)
The next option is your standard welded wire fence. You’ll simply measure the linear feet of the perimeter you need to enclose. Then buy a roll of welded wire fence long enough to span that length. Then buy wire fence posts and space them out every six to eight feet.
Use a post driver to push the fence posts into the ground.
Then starting at one side, attach the wire fence to the first post. Continue unrolling the mesh fence and attaching it to new posts as you go.
Note that you don’t have to hammer in all of the posts in the beginning.
We recommend using a chalk line to just a taught string to lay out the path of the fence first. This will make sure it’s straight.
Nothing’s worse than a new fence that weaves back and forth along the perimeter.
Watch the video below for a full demo.
How to Install a Chain Link Fence
Oh, the classic chain link fence. We couldn’t have a DIY dog fence article unless this was included.
Fun fact – the original chain link fence technology was developed by Charles Barnard in 1844 in the UK (source). It used textile machinery to speed up the process. Go industrial revolution!
What does your HOA say? We’ve included a ton of options in this article originally to give you choices. We wanted you to see what was possible and the amount of work involved. You might fall in love with one of these options then jump right in and build it. Later you could find out it’s not HOA approved. Just a friendly warning to check the HOA regs before you build. Measure twice, cut once (and check your HOA).
As the chain link fence is one of our personal least favorites, we’ll leave the full instructions and equipment list to the video below.
Movable Travel Fence for Indoors or Outdoors – The InstaFence?
Next up we have very basic manufactured fences. These were orinally designed to make small pens for RV camping. However, they make great instant fences for small back yards.
The install super fast. Each segment connects to the next using an long thin stake. The stake also serves as a support beam.
You may be thinking to yourself, this fence is ridiculous. It’s only 2 feet high! You would be right. It is very short. Like the other options below this fence requires training.
Of course, you can get slightly taller models (see second picture below).
Small dogs though can easily be trained to stay in these fences. You could even train a german shepherd dog (GSD). It just takes more patience (and a lack of squirrels outside the fence).
Underground Fences and GPS Fences Using E-Collars
Rather than explain it in full here we’ll point you out to our complete articles on these topics.
Underground fences involve burying a wire around the edge of your property. That wire is charged and paired with an e-collar.
As your dog gets close to the wire the collar begins to beep. If they get too close it provides a static correction reminding them to back away. These are also known as shock collars.
This type of fence is cheap (just takes wire and collars), easy to install, and can easily match a variety of yard shapes.
Another type of “fence” is one that uses GPS systems or wireless systems to keep your dog in the yard. Again, we have tons of articles on how to install and use these.
GPS systems have larger ranges than typical wireless fences. GPS also make great systems for traveling with your dog as you can recalibrate them to new areas.
Keep in mind that all of these underground, GPS, or wireless systems require dog training. Normal fences don’t require training.
It’s up to you if the cost of a standard 6 foot fence without training is worth it compared to a wireless or underground fence where you have to spend a few weeks training your dog to understand the boundaries.
Here’s our complete list of articles:
- How To Train A Dog With An Electric, Wireless, or Underground Fence
- How To Train and Keep Your Dog In Your Yard Without A Fence
- Easy Installation Instructions of Underground Dog Fence
- How To Find Break In Invisible Fence
- Top 5 GPS Wireless Dog Fences
- The Best Wireless Dog Fence Reviews (w/ Focuser and Petsafe Systems)
- The 5 Best Wireless Fences For Sloped Yards
- The Top 5 Long Range Wireless Dog Fences for Dogs of All Sizes
- The Top 10 Wireless Dog Fences for Large Acreage and 3 Acre Yards
How To Add A Containment System To Prevent Dogs From Jumping the Fence
Our final fence isn’t a fence. This is for the worst of the worst jumpers. The kind of dog (or cat) that you just can’t keep in the yard no matter how hard you try.
While you can buy these systems on Amazon (see example below) you can also build them on your own. Scroll down and watch the video below to see how it’s done.
The DIY setup requires chicken wire, PVC electrical conduit (straight lengths and pre-bent legths), brackets, screws and zip ties.
Example kit from Amazon: