8 DIY Tips to Keep Your Dog Inside Your Fence

In our minds, dogs and fences go together.

After all, a good fence will keep your dog inside your yard and other dogs (and other dangers) out of your yard. Unfortunately, though, many dogs look at a fence as a challenge to surmount. They want to dig under it, go through it, or climb over it. Since the point of a fence is not to create a puzzle for your dog to solve, let’s look at some ways to keep your dog inside your fence.

Remove Aids to Escape

It’s amazing what dogs can use to their benefit when trying to escape from the yard. A garbage can stored next to the fence becomes a climbing aid; a step stool. Firewood piled next to a fence does the same thing; it’s easy to climb up on firewood then hop or climb the fence. A tree with a low limb hanging over the fence is also an avenue to escape.

Walk around your yard and look at everything from your dog’s point of view and then remove all of those climbing aids.

Restrict Your Dog’s View

Many times dogs try to escape from the yard because they have a clear view of the fun available outside the fence. If he can see the dogs in the yard next door, kids walking home from school, other dogs walking by the house, or squirrels playing out front; then he’s more apt to try and escape.

Depending on the type of fencing you have, there are several ways to limit your dog’s view through the fence. Reed fencing comes in rolls and is relatively inexpensive. You can attach this to the inside your existing fence to cut down visibility. Plastic slats can be woven through a chain link fence and although this won’t block all visibility, it will help. Many dog owners plant fast growing vines or climbing shrubs to grow on the fence. This is a pretty alternative but you’ll need to keep the dog away from these plants until they get established.

Stop Fence Tunnelers

Dogs who dig under a fence to escape can be persistent. Usually filling in each hole that is dug won’t stop these dogs and can be frustrating for you as it can become a never ending chore. Therefore a more permanent solution works better.

The best solution is to create a L-footer along the base of the fence. Take a roll of heavy garden fence or hardware cloth (wire fencing with wire squares) and unroll it alongside your fence. Bend the fencing so a foot of it can be attached to your fence and the remainder will lie flat on the ground at the base of the fence extending into your yard. The name, L-fence, describes the L shape of the fencing once it’s shaped. The base of the L can be staked to the ground, covered with dirt, gravel, rocks, or just let the grass grow up through it. If you let the grass grow, remember it and don’t mow over it; cut it using other, safer means.

Stop Fence Jumpers

If your dog likes to jump the fence, create a L-footer but turn it upside down so it’s at the top of your fence. Create that L-shape and fasten the short side to the top of your fence with the rest of the garden or hardware fencing angled into your yard at the top of the fence so when your dog looks up, fencing is above him. You’ll need to use some ingenuity to anchor this fencing though. You can use some lumber to create supports anchored to the top of your fence that will support the folded over garden fence or large angle irons or even metal shelf supports. Take a look at your fence and use your imagination.

Coyote Rollers Stop Climbers

Coyote rollers are designed to slow down or stop coyotes from climbing into your yard and are just as effective to stop a dog from climbing out. There are commercial coyote rollers set ups but if you’re handy you can create one.

Basically, these consist of a metal cable that is mounted at the top of the fence. The cable is run through the center of plastic pipe (usually three to four inch diameter pipe). The cable is mounted high enough above the fence so that the pipe is free moving on the cable but the dog or coyote cannot slip between the top of the fence and the cable. As a dog (or coyote) tries to climb the fence and tries to get a grip on the pipe, the pipe rolls and the dog or coyote falls back to the ground.

Double Gates Prevent Dashing

If your dog is a gate dasher or if people are always coming and going through the gate, a double gate can help prevent your dog from dashing through the fence. A double gate is like an airlock; go through one and close it behind you then open the other gate. The key is to always have one gate closed before opening the next gate.

A couple sections of fencing and a new gate are all it takes to create a double gate. You can build it inside the present fence or outside; it depends on how much room you have and your personal preference.

Put a Lock on the Gates

I have a padlock on my yard gate all the time. My dogs don’t dash the gate and are awesome about waiting for permission to go outside, but what if I’m not home? What if I’m busy? Plus, I don’t want a delivery person, a neighbor, and neighborhood kids to come in my gate. So a padlock is on the gate at all times.

Obviously, though, keys to the lock need to be easily accessible in case of an emergency. You’ll have to determine who needs keys and where they should be stored.

Make the Yard a Refuge

Ideally, your yard should be your dog’s refuge instead of his prison. Therefore help him to want to be there. Vary his hours in the yard alone as much as possible. Rather than leaving him alone in the yard all day every day, leave him in the house sometimes and in the yard other times. When you do leave him there, hide some treats or toys in the backyard so he needs to hunt for them. Or give him a food dispensing toy with some nice, tasty, good smelling treats in it.

Before leaving him in the yard, make sure he’s had some good vigorous exercise so he’s more apt to take a nap rather than try to escape. Do some training with him, too, so his brain is tired.

When you’re at home, spend time in the yard with him. Play with him, groom him, do some training, and sometimes just lie in the grass with him. Make the yard a great place to be.

Meet the Author: Liz Palika

Liz Palika is a Certified Dog Trainer, Certified Animal Behavior Consultant, and the co-owner of Kindred Spirits Dog Training in Vista, CA. Liz is also an award-winning author and writer specializing in pets. She writes about cats, cat behavior and health, dogs, dog behavior and health, living with pets, and pet nutrition. Liz’s works have been recognized with many awards, but her most recent book, “Idiot’s Guides: Dog Training” (Penguin Books, 2014) recently won the Best Nonfiction book category in the San Diego Book Writing competition. Liz shares her home with two dogs; Bashir, an Australian Shepherd, and Bones, an English Shepherd. Three cats, Spock, Scottie, and Kirk, provide motivation for her articles about cats. And yes, she is a Star Trek fan. For more information go to www.kindredspiritsk9.com.

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