The importance of having fencing for your backyard or patio is twofold: to keep your Chihuahua in your yard and to keep other dogs, large predatory critters, and even a would-be Chihuahua burglar out. As you might have guessed, the Chihuahua can be a challenging dog breed to keep fenced in.
Choosing the Right Fence
Six-foot privacy fences will work (in wood or plastic). If the slats are staggered to allow air to flow through them, make sure there's not such a wide gap that your Chi can wriggle through. A good guide to figuring out if a fence is escapable is by looking at your dog's head. If your Chihuahua might be able to squeeze his head through the gap, the rest of his body is likely to be able to follow.
When looking at chainlink fences and wrought iron, the same theory applies. If it might be possible for the Chi to get his head through any portion of the fence — whether the fence itself or a hinged gate — it's likely not to contain your Chi.
Why would someone want to steal my dog?
The answer is simple: money. Unaltered Chihuahuas — particularly females of breeding age — are common targets because they can be used as brood bitches. Since the Chihuahua is small, she is an easier dog to steal, too.
You can make any type of existing fencing work if you are willing to invest in a secondary fence. For example, you might consider putting up three- to four-foot high chicken-wire fencing against an existing chainlink or wrought iron fence to provide a safe area of containment for your Chi. For a wooden fence with staggered gaps that could become escape hatches, perhaps the addition of a wooden lattice secured to the bottom half of the fence might work.
In addition to making sure that your fence doesn't have any gaps in it that might allow your Chi to escape, take a close look at the fence's condition. Protruding nails need to be removed or hammered back in. Sharp, exposed wires on a chainlink fence should be twisted in the opposite direction or removed.
Of course, if your yard is too big to fence, a fence is out of your budget, or you can't fence your yard because of subdivision or condominium rules, you might consider making an enclosed area just for your Chihuahua. If you have a deck outside your back door, you could put a low fence here with a gate for your dog. You can also set up a puppy playpen in a shady spot in your yard for playtime — as long as you're able to watch your Chi.
There's a solution to virtually every fencing quandary. You just need to remember that Chihuahuas can be quite deft at squeezing through small places, digging under things, and jumping over low barriers. With a little foresight and some creative thinking, you can make your backyard a safe environment for your new dog.