How To Keep a Dog From Jumping the Fence

There is no denying it. Some dogs will always think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence and may pose a perpetual problem for their owners. The safest place for your dog, however, is generally in their own backyard, so the challenge becomes how to keep your Houdini at home, safe and amused in their yard without feeling the need to jump the fence.

Reasons For Escaping

Jumping a fence is just the end result of an underlying problem. Dogs love company, and if left alone for long periods will become bored and may look for some social interaction. Maybe they have found a little treasure to amuse them such as a new friend or, for intact dogs, a new female friend they have carefully sniffed out. More highly-strung dogs and those with a strong attachment to their owners may seek comfort away from the house.

Some dogs develop fears when exposed to loud noises like thunderstorms and firecrackers, which may cause them to seek refuge elsewhere (though often there is no plan to their escape) – they just jump the fence to get away). Territorial canines are just driven to investigate something outside their boundary, especially if they think it may pose a threat to their home. The trick is to find a fence that satisfies your budget while containing your dog in their backyard.

Escape Methods Used

Agile dogs, with long legs and a propensity to jump, may be able to scale the fence. In many instances, though, dogs jump (or crawl under) the fence to escape. They may be able to use something left nearby to push off or may be able to get a foothold in the actual fence. Smaller dogs and those less agile will push out wire or palings to escape or may even chew through a section of the fence. Where the ground is soft enough, some dogs will dig a hole right under the fence. Those more astute or cunning canines may have mastered the knack of opening the gate.  

Preventative Measures

Early Training

As with all pets, getting to know your dog early on your journey helps avoid unwanted habits from forming. Puppy training is effective and worthwhile not only to keep your animal safe but also to ensure there is harmony in the home. An untrained dog may jump over a fence for a sense of freedom or to play. Having a fenced-in yard will help to keep your dog safe as they explore their surroundings. Introduce the puppy to the yard and establish acceptable habits with explicit instructions.

Reward good behavior and develop good routines early. Discourage jumping on furniture and people. Call the pup away from the fence if you think he may be considering jumping. It is possible to teach your dog the skills to ignore dogs on the other side of the fence, to come when called, and to stop escaping. Creating a dog-friendly yard with challenging toys and feeders, combined with lots of company will mean that jumping and escaping are not priorities for your dog.

Exercise

A very effective way of preventing jumping and keeping your dog in its own yard is to take your pet for a walk every day. The physical and mental exercise helps your pooch use up some of their energy and keeps them from being bored when out in the yard. Playing games in the fenced yard also allow your dog to associate fond memories with the area and tires him out so he won’t feel inclined to leave this happy place.

Limit Alone Time

A bored dog is generally a recipe for problems. Dogs that receive plenty of playtime and stimulation will be less likely to seek out trouble. Making pooches work for their food with tricky containers and limiting their alone time all help to keep trouble to a minimum. Interesting toys filled with treats will help stop your dog from becoming bored. Try rotating the dog’s toys regularly. Several busy toys can be found on Amazon.com. 

Fence Ideas For Dogs

The fence for a dog will depend on your dog’s interest in jumping the fence and the yard available to provide a fenced-in option where necessary.

Existing Fence

If you are new to a property, always check the fence to ensure there are no obvious escape routes and decide whether this fence suits your dog’s history.  

Hidden Fence

Electric pet containment fences or Hidden fences work well in areas where there is a large area to fence, dangerous parts of the property to secure from the pet, or where perhaps the property is being rented by the pet owners. Electric dog fences deliver a radio signal to your dog’s collar, giving them a gentle static pulse that reminds them to stay within specific boundaries. The consequences of approaching the boundary give a clear message, and the dog remains safe in their yard.

Material Choice

Fortunately, there are many fencing materials that will adequately contain your dog if you have to install a fence. You can make a choice that will ultimately add value to your home. Choose from a range of solid wood, brick, iron or aluminum, chain link, vinyl, or plastic. 

If you have a patroller dog consider zip-tying rolls of reed fencing onto the inside of a chain-link fence, jumpers and climbers can be thwarted relatively simply by installing a fence that is too tall for the dog to clear and having a smooth surface will prove more effective in containing climbers. More durable materials like wrought iron, brick, and properly sealed hardwoods are often the best choice for canines who are adept at slipping through gaps or gnawing at a fence until they create an opening.

A solid fence has the bonus of providing privacy and, at the same time, prevents your dog from seeing what’s on the other side, which could provide an incentive for jumping. If your dog can’t actually see squirrels and other dogs and people, he’ll be a lot calmer. Chain-link fences are also extremely durable and are probably one of the more affordable options. However, they can provide your dog with easy footholds and do not offer much privacy.

Fence Adaptation

Sometimes it may be worthwhile to add a section to the top of the fence that tilts inwards, creating a sort of awning on the inside. You can also install rollers at the top of the fence to help keep your dog from escaping. Rollers are generally made of PVC pipe, and they’re mounted around metal pipes that hold them in place. The roller spins towards the dog when he puts his front paws on it and prevents him from getting a grip.

It is also useful to plant a hedge of dense shrubs along the inside of the fence line making it more difficult for your pet to take a running jump or gain any leverage from the ground. An excellent way to contain diggers is to put down a gravel barrier at the base of the fence. 

It is also important to make sure that there’s nothing that your dog can use to give himself a boost to climb over the fence. Don’t place a planter, birdbath, or bin, for example, near the fence that your dog could use as a stepping stone clearing the way for jumping the fence.  

A lot of dogs can jump over high fences because they get a really good running start. If momentum is enabling your dog to soar over the fence, even though you have a purpose-built dog’s fence, it may be necessary to erect a shorter, interior fence two or three feet from the outside fence to prevent your dog jumping the fence.  

Further Recommendations

Ensure that your pet always has a collar with address and contact details clearly readable. Thanks to technology, some devices assist in continuous tracking of your dog, including when escapes occur.  

If there are external gates to the fenced area, it is a good idea to keep these gates locked. Latches on gates sometimes fail when the gates contract or expand with different weather conditions, and this means the gate may fly open when you are absent. Tradespeople or service technicians may visit the home and forget to close the door after them.  

There are good reasons to vary the dog’s environment. Bring the dog inside with you at night when you are home, or if you must be away from home for extended periods, consider taking the dog or leaving him at doggie daycare.

Having your male dog neutered and your female dog spayed will decrease sexual roaming and prevent unwanted pregnancies.

If you have exhausted all possibilities and your dog is still jumping the fence, you may lock your dog in a high-quality crate while you are away for short periods. While a quality crate can be expensive, it is best to look at it as a long term investment to get an escape-proof dog kennel.