It’s a wonderful thing to have a pet dog, but with pet ownership comes responsibilities, and one of those is keeping your dog within the confines of your home’s boundaries. The bigger the dog, the bigger the challenge this may be.
The Easy Way Out Of This Problem
There is a straightforward solution - own a small dog. The shorter the dog’s legs are, the less its chances of being able to jump any fence. But clearly, not everyone wants to own a Daschund (also known as a sausage dog) or a Corgi - and when it comes to Corgis, I don’t blame you - so other steps must be taken. Some breeds are naturally more exuberant types of dogs, just like some are by nature short and stubby. Keeping a boisterous breed of dog will always be more of a challenge when it comes to restraining it. A social dog is fun, but will often want to live life on the other side, despite the dangers.
The Cause Of The Problem
Dogs tend to climb fences in combination with a jump. This means the type of fencing you use can be a big factor in prevention. More typically, the height of the fence will be what needs adjusting and any footholds they can find on the way.
But why does your dog want to jump?
Curiosity killed the… cat? No, more commonly, the dog. There’s a big world out there waiting to be explored, and if the only way of getting there is to jump, then that is what has to be done. The problem is that the curious dog is often a younger dog who has not learned the dangers of traffic or what to do when you can’t see home anymore. We will discuss stopping this in a minute.
- Lack of stimulation is often a problem for active dogs left at home while everyone goes off to work and school. Life is no fun when there’s no-one to play with, and animals, particularly “man’s best friend” feel this very keenly. Your dog may need a new toy or two to use up some time before everyone comes home. Changing the toys up frequently will give your dog variety and keep it interested in playing with them. Playing with your dog will also make that toy seem brand new as well.
- Your dog wants to play. If it can see over the top of the fence, it can see that outside the yard are other dogs and people. So your dog will try to get to them, and a little fence isn’t going to stop it giving it a red-hot go.
- It is important to ensure you do give your dog sufficient exercise outside the yard. Taking it to a dog park is a great way of doing this - as well as providing your dog with an ideal environment to socialize with other people and animals. Recognizing other people will help stop your dog from jumping at everyone who walks past (especially if accompanied by another dog).
- Dogs have a very strong sense of protecting their people. If there are people walking past, your dog will probably try to see them, just to check it’s not you, and if it is someone else, take action. This could be jumping up at the fence to see, or it could include barking at a stranger. If your dog takes it into its head to investigate, or that your yard needs actively defending, it may jump the fence to attempt to do this.
- Dogs can also head over the fence to try to find a mate if the time is right. This can be prevented by neutering/spaying your dog, which has the added benefit of not contributing to unwanted puppies in the neighborhood. Although they are cute, they need to be looked after, which can prove expensive. You also may not have room for a litter of puppies in your yard. It may not stop the problem of jumping and boredom, but it’s always wise to take precautions.
Fixing The Fence
There are a few measures you can take to create a yard fence, which is more difficult to jump.
Make It Higher
The simplest is to build it higher. This can be with new fencing panels or garden latticing. Even an extra foot is going to make it more challenging for your dog to get over. Every inch counts in this game.
Make It Slippery
If you put something on the top of the fence to make it more difficult for your dog’s paws to get traction, this may start to take some of the fun out of escaping from the yard. Effective materials to use are PVC pipe or coyote rollers. Your dog may look like Wile E Coyote trying to better the rollers, but it will have the required result. PVC piping does not have to have a large diameter, but it does need to be mounted, usually on a spindle, so that it will spin when a doggy paw makes contact.
Make It Skinny
Getting a foothold on the fence is the key to the success of your dog climbing to ‘freedom.’ If your fence is a chain link style, rather than slats, this will make life more difficult for your dog.
Fixing A Chain Link Fence.
Some people choose to weave plastic slats through the chain links to help block visibility and prevent the temptation by removing the opportunity to see what is happening out there.
Plant a barrier
If there is a barrier, such as a hedge or even something more uncomfortable, like climbing, rose bushes planted along with your fencing, it will be harder for dogs to jump the fence. If your dog is a quick learner, a few falls into the prickly plant will act as an effective deterrent. But like many of us, dogs don’t always learn the first time, so be patient.
It will take time to establish a garden barrier, but some extra greenery is good for us humans too, so it’s well worth the effort. It will also need protection while it is getting established, so keep some covering over it in that time.
Install a barrier
Secondary fencing also acts as a barrier, limiting access to your external fence. It does reduce the amount of space you can use in your yard, which isn’t ideal. But it does keep your dog well away from the fence. You could try making barriers like this more functional by planting plants that can be trained to grow along trellises. Think espalier fruit trees, for example.
A cat fence can also work quite well in deterring a dog from jumping. The inward sloping line of this type of fence means the top of the fence is difficult to reach. Make sure this meets any local government bylaws and is agreeable to neighbors before installing. Most neighbors will probably be happier with a not-so aesthetic fence if your dog is no longer climbing fences.
As your dog gets older, many of these adjustments to your fence can be taken away. Older dogs stop climbing the fence because they suffer from various health conditions, like arthritis, or they stop finding it fun. They start to feel more protected when staying in their yard instead.
When it comes to dogs and your fence, there are various factors to consider when making changes to stop your dog from escaping from your yard. The yard size, the type of fence, and what the top of it looks like all need careful thought.
If you use something along the top of the fence, you need to ensure it meets local bylaws and, importantly, get your neighbors onside with your aims. Life is a lot easier if the neighbors understand you’re trying your best with your dogs - it’s just their excitement about life that makes keeping them in the yard a bit tricky. But if you can get it right, your dogs will be safe, and you will be fulfilling your role as a responsible pet owner. These can only be good things for both your pet and everyone around it.