For the first couple of months of living on our land I constantly had poison ivy on my arms, right on my elbows. I know, it’s a weird place to get it. I used to think I was immune to poison ivy but that thought quickly eroded as my entire arm would swell up. It turns out I’m extremely allergic to poison ivy. At first we couldn’t figure out why I kept getting it and why in the same place on my arms.
After a couple of months of misery we finally had a breakthrough. Our dog, Lucy, also happens to have allergy problems and she kept having problems with inflammation and irritation in her paws. We didn’t think much of it at first but then a light bulb turned on.
Our 5 acres is made up of about 3 acres of grass and 2 acres of thick woods. As I as mowing close to the tree line I realized that poison ivy is covering all the ground right where the trees start. There’s also a ton of poison ivy as you get deeper in the woods. We finally figured out that Lucy would run around back there and have the oil on her paws. She would then lovingly jump into my arms to greet me. What she meant as affection ended up being weeks of misery for me.
Once we figured out where the poison ivy was coming from the next step was to come up with a solution to keep Lucy out of it. We thought about putting up a chain link fence to keep her corralled but we decided against that for three reasons. 1) We just moved to all this land and we didn’t want to restrict her to a yard like in the city. 2) We wanted our dogs to freely run around the entire house and be able to protect us. 3) Chain link fences can be pretty expensive, especially when doing a large area.
We decided to install an underground dog fence. This is similar to a an electric fence but the wire is buried underground and the shocker is on the dog’s collar. When the dog gets close enough to the line, the collar give them a quick zap and they turn around. The collar also gives them an audible warning when they are in the danger zone, which allows them to stop before they get shocked.
All you need to install an underground dog fence is the copper wire, collar, and base unit. You can pick up a kit that’s adequate for a typical yard at any pet store but if you have a lot of land you are better off looking on Amazon. You can get a whole kit for about $200 and if you need more wire that’s easily and cheaply obtained.
It takes about 1,500 feet of wire to fence in 3 acres so it’s no small task. I could have rented a trencher but I figured I’d do it myself and save a few hundred dollars. Brother Joe and I spent about seven hours digging the trench and laying the wire on a sunny 90 degree day. Yes it was hot and tiring but we had a good sense of accomplishment after, and rewarded ourselves with a few cold brews 🙂
The real reward is that I’ve been poison ivy free ever since installing the fence!
All said and done, I would suggest using an underground fence if you need to keep an animal in a specific area. It’s cost effective, easy to install, zero maintenance, and very effective.