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We are looking at buying a new house and would like a large yard for our dog to play in. I've never cared for most fences aesthetically, and they are extremely expensive/difficult to install. This morning I began wandering about a different possibility.

If a series of trellises were setup in a line around the yard (where the fence would go), and climbing roses planted all along, would the thorns act as sufficient deterrent for our dog? I understand this relies heavily on our dogs personality, and I believe she'd be susceptible to this sort of barrier, but I'm curious if it's ever been tried before or if studies have been done on it.

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No,

First hedges grow much denser than rose bushes, and thorns are not an effective deterrent for a dog. Even a fence is not always a good means of containing a dog, who is determined to leave. I have new neighbors who moved into house with a 40 year old hedge as a fence, it was about a week before the first dog went through the hedge, and their dogs are always supervised when they are outside.

These related questions discuss alternatives to fences

There are several options for using plants to disguise a fence, but these will require first a fence appropriate for containing your dog, and then years for the plants to grow sufficiently to cover the fence.

I looked for studies about containing dogs with plant growth and came up empty. I did find a 1845 work in Blackwood's Edinburgh magazine, Volume 57, that talks about dogs and hedges as fences, while it does not give much information about keeping a dog in, it does speak abut the years required to make a hedge to contain livestock (which is easier than containing a dog).

Digging dog

Climbing Dog

If you have a dog who is too timid to test boundaries. Who might possibly be contained by a minimalist boundary divider, and if that dog is EVER going to be unsupervised in the yard, than you need a fences capable of keeping out all of the neighborhood dogs and wild life that can harm your dog.

For small dogs see the related question https://pets.stackexchange.com/questions/6785

  • Thank you; that's great information (and I love the pictures :) ). You make references to a dog that is determined to leave. What if we have a dog who is a bit of a scaredy-cat and really doesn't push her bounds? Do you know of any research/anecdotes about using thorns as a way to show a dog who respects their boundaries their boundaries? – Nicholas Nov 16 '14 at 14:07
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    @Nicholas If your dog truly respects and understands the property boundaries, you don't need any fence (Not a Suggested solution). If your dog is always supervised and on a leash you don't need a fence. If your dog is ever outside alone, and is a "scaredy-cat" than you need a fence sufficient to keep other animals out. – James Jenkins Nov 16 '14 at 14:48
  • It could be used as a marker for an invisible fence line, but a fence also works better to keep things out of the yard. – Spidercat Nov 17 '14 at 0:05

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