If your dog spends considerable time out in the yard, you might want to ensure that his stay there is a pleasant one. You will be surprised to know how many owners leave their dogs in yards with nothing there but gravel. Boredom is the worst enemy of a young dog and it can encourage bad behaviors like chewing furniture, barking, digging under the fence and even running away. Male dogs are often tempted to jump over the fence when there is a female dog in heat in the neighborhood. Needles to say, your dog can be in danger if your house is located in a busy area with heavy traffic. Dogs can also get lost in heavy forested areas if the rain wipes away the scents. So let us study some easy remedies to dog proof a fence and stop your dog from climbing over it.
Reasons why your dog is tempted to jump over the fence (or dig under it)
Fence jumping is a hard habit to break. Dogs feel a sense of accomplishment once they reach their goal of climbing the top of the fence. Your dog might spend hours trying to accomplish this goal until it succeeds. Since practice makes perfect, your dog might even continue jumping again and again until it becomes a hassle to keep him in the yard. Here are some reasons why your dog runs out of the yard or jumps over the fence:
- It wants to show aggression to a neighbor’s dog
- Lack of exercise
- Chasing small animals/cats
- Loneliness/separation anxiety
- Sexual drive
Security measures to take in order to keep your dog from escaping
Secure the yard
As soon as you make a decision to adopt a puppy, you must secure your yard. A fence needs to be at least 6 feet high and it should reach the ground without any gaps. If your dog is a jumper and you already have a fence, you need to raise the existing fence’s height. Remove jumping aids your dog may be using such as tables or benches from the yard.
Leash or crate your pet
Ensure that your dog is well secured at all times. Even the best trained dogs will make a run for it when they see a cat running or hear the aggressive dog next door. Dogs can also get disoriented due to sickness or age and make a run. So do ensure that your yard is fenced or your pet is crated or leashed.
ID your dog
There is nothing like the sense of panic and fear that can accompany a lost dog. You can always take steps to stop your dog from climbing the fence but you also need to prepare yourself for the worst case scenario. If your dog is a jumper and has escaped on more than one occasion, then you must ID it. Microchipping and tagging will help in quicker recovery.
Spay/neuter your pet
Your dog is more likely to jump over the fence or dig under it if there is sexual frustration. So spay or neuter your pet as soon as your vet allows it. Spaying and neutering can also prevent other health problems.
Teach your dog recall
Training is an important tool to prevent such mishaps. Teach your dog a recall command. This should not be a casual, come-back-at-your-convenience-kind of command; rather it should be a ‘drop-everything-and come-back’ command. Seek help of an obedience trainer and practice this command several times until your dog understands and obeys.
Inspect the perimeter of your home regularly
Whether you have a large or small property, you must inspect it regularly. Check to ensure there are no gaps or holes in the fence. An intrepid dog is likely to be on the lookout for nooks and crannies to escape from. If there is a gap under the fence, you may want to pour concrete under it to prevent unwanted digging. You can also use bricks or heavy stones to cover up gaps and prevent under-the-fence digging by your dog.
Build a dog run
Consider building a dog run in the yard. If pets are confined to one area of the yard and cannot get out, then the fence is no longer an issue. Make sure you let your dog out of the run; most dogs don’t like long periods of confinement and need room to roam.
If you see your dog trying to jump the fence, teach it the ‘stay’ or ‘stop’ command. This will be more helpful if your pet has been to some form of puppy obedience or training school. A command followed by reward and praise after your pet obeys it can help him/her understand that jumping or digging is unwanted behavior.
Plant bushes and trees near the fence
You could also plant some tall bushes and trees that obstruct your dog’s running jump pathway over the fence. Your dog will not get enough momentum to make the jump.
Take precautions when leaving your dog with a friend
No matter how much you trust someone, your dog is never completely secure in an unfamiliar area. If your pet is not used to your friends’ home, it might try to escape. Take a walk around your friend’s property and ensure there are no gaps from which your pet could escape. Ask your friend to keep your pet leashed or crated as far as possible.
Solutions that prevent your dog from escaping your yard
Dog proof fence extension
These are ideal to extend the height of your fence. Local hardware stores sell them. Many are also decorative in nature.
These wires can be easily stapled to the fence. In case your fence is too long or you do not want to staple the wire to the fence, simply place the chicken wire near the edges of the yard. Your dog will be reluctant to step on it and he will stop going to the area after trying a couple of attempts.
This isn’t one of the direct ‘dog jumping fence’ solutions, but it works. Buy several chew toys to keep your pet occupied in the yard so that it is not interested in things happening on the other side of the fence.
Prevention is better than cure when it comes to solutions for dogs jumping the fence. Use dog proof fence panels, training and other tips mentioned above to prevent your dog from running away.