5 Best Portable Dog Fence Reviews (Including Fences for Camping, Indoor Training and Outdoor Fun)

Written By: Gemma Johnstone | Last Updated: June 8, 2020

Portable dog fences can provide your pet with a secure indoor or outdoor space. Here’s our guide to choosing one, along with five of the best portable dog fence reviews.

A portable dog fence can be a convenient tool for keeping your dog safe and secure. These fences are great for camping, unfenced gardens, or for puppy management and house training.

Not all portable fences are equal though. While there are high-quality options available, the cheapest fences are often weak, heavy, and difficult to construct. Some may even be dangerous if they topple onto your pet.

In this guide, we’ll discuss how to choose the best portable dog fence for your pooch. I’ve also recommended five fences to help you make a decision.

Our #1 Pick

MidWest Wire Dog Exercise Pen

MidWest Wire Dog Exercise Pen

A simple fence that does a great job

If you’re looking for a versatile portable fence, the MidWest Wire is our top pick. It features a durable design that’s suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, due to the e-coat finish. It also comes with ground anchors, stabilisers, and is available in a variety of sizes.

Why Buy a Movable or Temporary Dog Fence?

A portable dog fence creates a safe and enclosed space for your dog. The best fences are easy to assemble, have a folding design, and come in a variety of sizes to suit different breeds.

Some examples of when portable fences can be useful include:

  • Camping. A portable fence means your dog might not need to be tethered or shut in the tent on a campsite. Fences can also offer peace of mind when wild camping, as your dog won’t be able to run off. You shouldn’t leave a dog unattended inside a portable fence when camping though.
  • Unfenced garden. If your garden is unfenced, or you want to keep your dog away from potential hazards, a portable fence can be helpful. Fenced areas allow your dog the opportunity to be in fresh air, with different sights and scents, while keeping them enclosed.  
  • Secure puppy space. Puppies need a lot of supervision. It’s useful to have a safe space to put them for short periods when you can’t supervise. Fences are bigger than a crate, but can still stop your puppy accessing dangerous cables or other objects.
  • House training aid. Your puppy is less likely to have an accident in an enclosed space that they perceive as ‘theirs.’ Also, if they are prone to accidents, it’s easier to cover a fenced floor space with puppy pads.
  • Recuperation for injury/operation. If your dog has had an operation, they may need to rest with minimal exercise for several weeks. A portable fence can offer more space and freedom than a crate, without full access to the rest of the house. You should always consult your vet on whether this type of space is suitable for your dog’s recovery though. You may also need to spend time getting your dog used to the fence before his operation, as a fearful response could cause them to re-injure themselves.
  • General management tool. A portable fence can limit the areas of the house your dog can access. Most fences allow your dog to still see what’s going on, while keeping them out of mischief. Fences are also great for keeping two pets separate, particularly when they are first being introduced. You can also use a dog gate for this.

Portable fences aren’t suitable for all dogs though. Anxious or excitable dogs may try to escape, and this could be dangerous for them. If you have a giant breed, the fence may also need to be impractically tall – especially if you want it to be portable.

Putting your dog in a fenced area should also never be a substitute for proper outdoor physical exercise and enrichment. They are only designed to be used for short periods.

Tip: You shouldn’t expect your dog to instantly enjoy spending time inside a fence. Make sure you offer fun toys, yummy chews, food dispensing puzzles, and other things that create positive associations with the space. It’s also essential to introduce the fence with small sessions.

Why Supervision is Important

You shouldn’t leave your dog unsupervised behind a fence for long periods. These fences are not escape-proof, so some dogs may attempt to jump, climb, or dig to get out. Even if your pet doesn’t escape, he could injure himself in the attempt, especially if the fence tips over.

5 Best Portable Dog Fences

Listed below are five of the best portable dog fences. It’s worth reading the details in each review, as the one that’ll work best for you and your dog will depend on a variety of factors.

RankNameTypeWhy Choose It...
#1MidWest Wire Dog Exercise PenWire/MetalDurable, easy to assemble, and suitable for outdoor use
#2Precision Pet Products Soft-Sided Dog PlaypenSoft-SidedGreat for puppies due to the popup design
#3Frisco 8-Panel Plastic Dog Exercise PenPlasticPlastic makes it less likely to scratch hard floors
#4Frisco Wire Dog Exercise PenWire/MeshRelatively compact wire fence for outdoor or indoor use
#5Yaheetech Heavy Duty Foldable FenceMetalLarge fence that's great for creating big enclosed spaces

1. MidWest Wire Dog Exercise Pen with Step-Thru Door (Top Pick for Camping)

MidWest Wire Dog Exercise Pen

The MidWest Wire Dog Exercise Pen is my top pick for a portable dog fence. The durable design is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, so it’s a versatile option. It’s also available in a range of sizes, making it a good choice for most breeds.

As you would expect from a portable fence, the MidWest is easy to assemble. Once put together, it doesn’t require tools to erect and folds flat for transportation. The secure double latch door provides quick access for both you and your dog, while keeping him secure when shut.

The MidWest is suitable for outdoor use due to the black e-coat finish. It’s not designed to be left outside all the time, but the pen should last a long time without rusting. The MidWest also comes with ground anchors to secure the fence when outdoors, which are important for safety, and stabilisers to prevent the fence tipping over.

There are five heights available. The tallest is a generous 48 inches, making it a good choice for larger breeds, or smaller dogs with impressive jumping skills. All heights provide a floor space of 16 square feet, which is decent for a basic pen, but not big enough to be used for long periods.

Perhaps the biggest drawback is that the metal design could scratch hard floors if you’re not careful. Weighing in at 29 pounds for the 48 inch version, this also isn’t the lightest dog fence. Taking it camping could be a pain!

Overall, the MidWest Exercise Pen is a versatile fence that can be used both at home and outdoors. The various heights also mean it’ll work for dogs of most sizes. It’s probably not the best option for hardwood floors though.

2. Precision Pet Products Soft-Sided Dog Playpen (Great for Puppies)

Precision Pet Products Soft-Sided Dog Playpen

The soft-sided Precision Pet Playpen is lightweight, easy to assemble, and highly portable. While it’s not as secure as metal pens, it’s great for providing puppies with a den-like space.

One of the great things about the Precision Pet is that it has a popup design. It’s easy to fold down when not in use and weighs just over 10 pounds, making it a convenient choice for travelling. Precision Pets has also included a removable mesh roof for extra protection against a jumping dog.

A potential drawback of soft-sided pens is the lack of air circulation. To minimise this problem, the Precision Pet has ventilated mesh panels to help keep your pet cool. The non-metal sides also mean the pen doesn’t make much noise when bumped, which is great for nervous dogs.

There are a few drawbacks to this design though. The biggest issue is size. The largest option is only 28 inches tall and not that spacious compared to the MidWest. For this reason, it’s only suitable for small dogs or puppies.

The fabric design also has several downsides compared to metal or plastic. The polyester mesh isn’t as durable, so it’s not a good choice if your dog is a chewer. It’s also not designed to be left outside in all weather conditions. If it gets damp, make sure the pen is fully dried out before folding it up, otherwise you could have issues with mold.

Of course, accidents on the fabric pen floor are also more difficult to clean. You’ll need a strong stain and odor remover to get rid of any traces of urine on the base.

In conclusion, the Precision Pet Soft-Sided Dog Fence is great for small dogs and puppies that need a secure and easily transportable space. Just be aware of the limitations for large dogs and those that like to chew.

3. Frisco 8-Panel Plastic Dog Exercise Pen (Best Playpen for Indoors)

Frisco 8-Panel Plastic Dog Exercise Pen

If the clattering noise and potential of scratches on your floors puts you off a metal pen, then the Frisco 8-Plastic Exercise Dog Pen could be a suitable alternative. 

Offering up to 21 square foot of floor space, this pen provides your dog with more room than the MidWest and Precision Pet designs. The non-skid rubber feet also help to keep the pen from sliding around the way the MidWest design can.

Because it’s made from plastic, rather than metal, it doesn’t make the same noise if your dog bumps the walls. Also, if the dog does manage to move it around the floor a bit, you won’t have to worry about it causing scratches on wooden flooring.

The door makes it easy to get your dog in and out. It’s an enclosed door, however, so it’s not as easy for humans to access the pen. If you don’t want to step over the sides, the MidWest is a better option. 

The design is only available in one panel height (34 inches), which is a shame. It’s fairly tall, but probably isn’t enough for giant breeds. On the upside, Frisco offers this design in four and eight-panel options, depending on how much space you have or need.

While the plastic design is lightweight, it isn’t as durable or sturdy as metal fences. You’ll need to watch out for your dog chewing it, and it’s easier to tip over if your dog is determined.

Overall, the Frisco Plastic Exercise Pet Pen could be a good choice if you want to protect your floors and are looking for something lighter than metal dog fences. Just don’t expect it to be quite as durable.

4. Frisco Wire Dog Exercise Pen with Step-Through Door

Frisco Wire Dog Exercise Pen

If you’re looking for a tall metal pen that doesn’t take up as much floor space as the MidWest, the Frisco Wire Dog Exercise Pen may appeal.

Like the MidWest, it’s available in sizes up to 48”, but the enclosed floor space is smaller. A reduced area can be useful if you have limited space, but also means the pen isn’t suitable for leaving your dog for longer than short periods.

Other features include a step-in door, double-latch design, and e-coat finish. The Frisco Wire Pen also has metal anchors to secure it outdoors and an easy-to-fold design.

Sadly, the Frisco metal pen isn’t quite as durable as the MidWest. The trigger hooks that hold the shape of the pen can break with rough treatment. It’s also prone to sliding around if your dog pushes the sides, although this is an issue with most metal fences.

5. Yaheetech Heavy Duty Foldable Metal Pet Fence

5. Yaheetech Heavy Duty Foldable Metal Pet FenceVIEW PRICE

If you’re looking for a pen that’s more spacious and versatile than the others on this list, then the Yaheetech Heavy Duty Foldable Metal Pet Fence is worth considering. 

The 16 panel version can provide a massive 66 square feet of space. This makes it perfect for keeping your dog safe in a garden or large camping site, while still providing space for exercise. You can also split up the panels to create smaller spaces if needed.

The panels are made from powder e-coated iron, making them hard-wearing and suitable for outdoor use. It only has a single latch door, but this is well-made and has a step-through design to make it easy to enter the pen. The pins can also be pushed into the ground to keep it stable.

Keep in mind that the pins can bend if you have to push them into hard ground. It’s also not the most portable option, as the large number of panels makes it heavy and time-consuming to assemble (the 40” 16 panel version weighs 82 pounds!) It’s a good choice if you’re driving to a campsite and staying in the same spot for a week, for example, but probably not the best option if you’re moving each night.

To summarise, the Yaheetech is brilliant if you need a large portable dog fence for your dog. It’s less convenient to move than other options, but the trade-off is that your dog gets much more space.

VIEW PRICE

How to Choose a Portable Dog Fence

Aside from selecting a durable design, there are several other considerations when choosing a portable dog fence. I’ve outlined the most important below.

Internal Area

Pay close attention to the internal area measurements. You want enough room for your dog to be comfortable, but the fence also needs to fit the available space. Unfortunately, some supposed “exercise pens” are barely big enough for a dog to turn around!

Regardless of the size, your dog shouldn’t be left in a pen all day. However, if you want to leave them for longer than just ten or fifteen minutes, they’ll need enough space to move freely.

Some portable fences are modular and can be expanded with extra panels. These are great for providing more space and can sometimes be arranged in different shapes, but the joints aren’t as strong as those with fixed panels.

Note: Having a large fenced play area isn’t enough for a dog. It’s also important to provide mental enrichment, lots of human interaction, and daily walks.

Folded Size, Portability and Weight

If you plan to take the fence camping or want to use it outside, it’s important to check the folded size and weight. As a general rule, metal panels are the heaviest, and larger pens are more cumbersome to transport.

You’ll also want to look for a fence with easy assembly. If it’s tricky and you have to dismantle and re-erect it regularly, this could quickly become tiresome.

Fence Height and Door Size

The height of the fence panels is important. If they’re too short, large breeds or agile small dogs could jump or even climb out the pen.

You should also consider how your dog can get in and out of the pen. If there isn’t a door, you’ll need to lift your dog in and out. This could be tricky if the sides are high or your dog is heavy. In most cases, an easy-access gate is the most convenient option, as long as it has a secure lock.

Stability and Durability

The type of material used will impact on the durability of the pen. There’s no “best” option here – the right choice depends on your requirements.

Soft-sided crates are lighter, quieter, and less likely to scratch the floor. They aren’t as durable, however, and sometimes may not be as stable. They also tend to be smaller, and so are only suitable for puppies or small breed dogs.

Metal fences last longer and are often more stable. The fence will, however, be heavier and less portable as a result. You’ll also have to watch that it doesn’t scratch hard floors if you’re using it inside.

Opting for a plastic fence offers a middle ground. These are lighter than metal fences, but are usually more durable and bigger than a soft-sided pen. They are also less likely to damage flooring during indoor use compared to a metal fence. A downside is that plastic isn’t chew-proof and is less stable than metal.

For outdoor use, a weatherproof metal dog fence is nearly always the best choice. These typically come with ground stabilizers to prevent the fence from tipping over. Most outdoor fences also have e-coating to prevent rust.

Note: Despite having weather proof coating, metal fences are not designed to be left outside permanently.

Why “Invisible” Dog Fences Should be Avoided

Invisible fences rely on your dog receiving a shock or uncomfortable vibration when they move beyond a certain point. The Dog Clinic is an advocate of positive training methods. This type of “fence” relies on fear and pain, which is why we don’t recommend them.

Apart from causing pain to your dog, invisible fences have other undesirable effects. These include:

  • An over-aroused dog may run through the boundary when their adrenaline is up. As you can imagine, a dog that wants to get to a squirrel or a bitch in heat might not notice the pain until he’s outside the perimeter, at which point it’s impossible for him to know how to stop the shocks.
  • Invisible fences don’t stop other dogs or wild animals entering. They provide a false sense of security for dog owners.
  • These fences can also give your dog a negative association with their own garden. This can cause them to become afraid of going outside.

Summary

A portable dog fence provides your pet with a safe space to relax. They are great for camping trips, securing a garden without a fence, or for assisting with indoor management (particularly for puppies!)

My top pick is the MidWest Wire Dog Exercise Pen. It’s a durable fence that provides a decent amount of space for your pup. It’s also available in a variety of heights and is suitable for outdoor use. 

Whichever fence you choose, it’s important not to leave your dog unattended for long periods. Portable fences aren’t escape-proof and shouldn’t be used to confine your dog for prolonged periods each day. All dogs need plenty of human interaction, outdoor physical exercise, and other enrichment.  

I hope this article has helped you choose a portable dog fence for your pet. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments section below.

Image of Gemma Johnstone

About The Author: Gemma Johnstone

Gemma is a freelance writer and official dog nut. With 15 years of experience in the pet industry, she is a passionate animal welfare advocate. She has worked for the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, ran her own specialist dog shop for ten years, has volunteered for her local rescue shelter, and is studying towards completing an Advanced Diploma in Canine Behaviour. Gemma is currently travelling around Europe with her wonderful rescue dog, Annie.