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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Adding a GSD to my family shortly and my smaller backyard doesn't have a fence. It would be nice to be able to use this space for quick potty breaks and/or short distance games of fetch and whatnot but is not intended to be the primary space for exercise.

The problem: I have a 2.5t - 3ft retaining wall along the entire back of my property. If I put a 6ft fence where my neighbors have placed theirs my future dog will only have to clear 3.5ft max to jump the fence.

The details: City regulations = max fence height 6ft. a few lovely trees would need to be cut down to put the fence up on the top of the retaining wall. If put it on top of the retaining wall I was told the 42" fence post depth requirement would be measured from the BOTTOM of the retaining wall yielding as much as 84" deep posts (8-10 of them) making it much more costly. With the roads and traffic in my area it is not safe for my dog to get loose.

Solutions I have considered:

  1. Getting an 8ft variance from the city -- IMO, unlikely as the city likes to be mindlessly inflexible on these kinds of issues.
  2. putting a physical fence on top of the retaining wall -- not preferred for reasons stated above (mostly the trees!)
  3. Getting a wireless fence
  4. going with a 6ft fence that is jumpable and attempt to train/discourage fence jumping.
Any thoughts, suggestions, comments, or other ideas are warmly welcomed. Thank you in advance.
 

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are your plans to have the dog outside unsupervised? although capable and with very little training in this department, my dogs have never attempted to jump my 5ft fence with me present.

I would opt for the last solution you mentioned.
 

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I would have a plan drawn up with the 8 foot variance and at least give it a try.

Can you bring the fence far enough inside the property line to still give you a potty-exercise area.

It seems the top of the wall option is the best and maybe you could get creative with fencing around the trees.

Not a fan of underground fence but a big fan of running hot wires (regular electric fence) along the TOP of a fence - may or may not be a code option for you if the city is that restrictive, but it works well and does not seem to have the issues with an underground fence. I have an azalea bed and a garden that is protected that way with a 4 foot high fence. [my yard fence is still 6']..between that and training.....
 

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Try for a variance for the 8' height below the retaining wall. Have an accurate plan drawn. Explain that this approach avoids the need to remove quality trees, as well as avoiding excavation behind (above) the retaining wall, which is typically something to avoid. Bring a picture/specs along of the fence style/material you have in mind. Brochure from the manufacturer is perfect. Often the zoning board will give approval when they see that you have a logical, well throught-out plan and it will look nice after completion...... not a crooked 8' junkyard fence ;)

I use this approach with client projects, and as long as we go in well prepared with plans and quality (attractive) materials, they're usually reasonable.

And I agree 100% with the above posters, train your dog that the fence is sacred and absolute. No climbing it, no jumping up/on it, wait at the gate.
 

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Computer just ate my carefully considered response.

Build your fence on top of the retaining wall, work around the trees (it can be done)
I've had four foot fencing on all or part of the yard in many houses. My dogs do not jump the fence. Even the current two who have been trained over jumps do not jump the fence.

Consistently work/play/walk your dog and your dog will be happy with your yard.
 

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A few sticks of dynamite and you shouldn't have any problems remaining. :D

A laborous option: destroy the wall, remove the earth/dirt and level things out, and then stick in your fence.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Dynamite and hot wire will be frowned on by my neighbors..

Training that the fence is sacred and to wait at the gate will be a priority. I'll go for an 8ft variance first and then move on to putting a 6ft fence on the top of the retaining wall.

Thanks for the comments..
 

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stepkau,
I think this will be easier than you expect. When I walk my dogs regularly, they respect the fence. In Wyoming, we went out 2 x a day. Once I had a bad day at work (really crappy day at work) and forgot to shut the gate when I came home. I let the dogs out and only discovered afterward that I had neglected to close the gate. The dogs stayed in the yard. It was like "We aren't leashed, we aren't with the horse, therefore we do not go out the gate" It was as though they did not realize it was open.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
stepkau,
I think this will be easier than you expect. When I walk my dogs regularly, they respect the fence. In Wyoming, we went out 2 x a day. Once I had a bad day at work (really crappy day at work) and forgot to shut the gate when I came home. I let the dogs out and only discovered afterward that I had neglected to close the gate. The dogs stayed in the yard. It was like "We aren't leashed, we aren't with the horse, therefore we do not go out the gate" It was as though they did not realize it was open.
middleofnowhere, thanks for sharing your experience. I'm sure you're right that I'm over thinking it a bit. I'm excited about bringing home GSD puppy. Trying to mentally gear up for a breed that is bigger, smarter, and more physically demanding than I have ever experienced before. :)
 

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Put up the tallest fence you can, then trans/plant tall hedge bushes that'll extend up beyond the top of the fence. The bylaws relating to bushes are frequently much more slack than for fences, frequently allowing you to go 8ft+. You can make a solid wall out of hedges alone, although it might take time for them to grow and "fill in."
 

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Discussion Starter #13
For anyone reading this thread in the future.. I got with a local fence company and they figured out a way to put the fence on top of the retaining wall without needing to remove the trees!!

 
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