Does your dog have a bit of mischief in him? Maybe he’s an escape artist who likes to climb fences and you’re at your wit’s end. The streets are a dangerous place for an unattended pet, so you’ve decided it’s time to learn how to stop a dog from climbing a fence. We don’t blame you; we don’t want to see your pet brought into the shelter—or worse, get run over—if it can be avoided.
So it’s our goal today to provide some tips and wisdom on how to stop a dog from climbing a fence and venturing out into dangerous territory.
It’s important to understand why your dog is playing Houdini and making his way out of your enclosed space. By understanding the whys, you may be able to prevent the problem without additional training or expense.
Let’s take a look at why your dog might be making a run for it, and provide some concrete ways to eliminate or modify the behavior or take proactive steps to correct the environment.
Often dogs are bored or they experience loneliness in the confines of a yard, if left too long. Is your dog getting enough family time? Enough exercise? Look at the regimen you have with your pet and see if this could be the problem.
If your dog is leaving the yard to explore, provide them with more stimulation and areas that they can call their own. This would include an outdoor bed, either on a patio or in an enclosed space (porch, dog house), and toys or balls to play with. Rotate the toys regularly so they don’t become bored.
You can also hire a dog walker to come in once or twice a day. While professionals are available, you can also employ a neighbor, either an older child/teen or adult, to complete the task. Doggie day care is also on the rise, and is an option for socialization as well as safety.
If they are lonely, make sure that they get family time in the morning before work and when you return home in the evening. Take regular walks, trips to the dog park, or do a bit of hiking on trails to ensure they are getting enough exercise. Talk to your pet, provide hugs, pets, and love when you are around. Make them feel secure in their place in the family.
It’s not unusual for dogs to want to play with other dogs, and hearing one nearby or sensing a dog in heat are both an impetus to escape and seek out other dogs. This is typically more common in male dogs that have not been neutered. Learning how to keep a dog from climbing a fence in these situations could also mean keeping more puppies from ending up in a shelter.
The obvious remedy is to either get another dog (not always a viable option) or to socialize your dog more with others, at a dog park, on walks, or just socializing with friends who have dogs.
In the case of unneutered male dogs, it’s wise to have them neutered to help nip the problem in the bud. Neutering provides benefits far beyond that of keeping your dog from climbing a fence and roaming. Neutered dogs live longer than their intact counterparts. There’s also a reduction in several serious (and costly) health issues, such as certain cancers and prostate problems.
Do you live in a busy neighborhood? Do you have neighbors that are loud or playing near fences or enclosures where your pet resides during the day? Delivery people coming and going?
If this is the case, they may be trying to protect their (and your) domain from intruders. Dogs will often make their way over a fence to chase people away or investigate sounds that are out of the ordinary or threatening. This is one of the most important reasons to learn how to stop a dog from climbing a fence, as a dog that feels threatened can become a danger to those it sees as a threat.
This issue can be a bit more difficult to deal with, as you can’t ask your neighbors to be quieter and to stop their children from playing nearby. You can try to relocate your pet to a part of the yard where there is less distraction or desensitize them to common noises. (Also see Fencing suggestion below.)
On the Hunt
Certain dog breeds have an instinct to hunt and chase. In suburban areas, this usually is manifested through chasing squirrels, cats, or birds that invade their territory. Dogs will often climb a fence to continue a chase, sure that they can catch the rascal if they do. Such is rarely the case, however.
Unfortunately, nature being what it is, you’ll have a hard time eradicating other animals from your dog’s environs. But you can eliminate birdhouses, lower branches on trees, and find a way to introduce cats to your dog, so that they are not seen as threatening.
If you can, try and see if any of these “whys” pertain to your dog. Modify their routine or environment as suggested, if possible, to eliminate any of the behavioral issues. If that fails, you’ll need to escalate to a more serious solution.
When it comes to “how” of how to keep a dog from climbing a fence, you’ll need to spare some time and/or expense. But remember, the safety of your dog (as well as neighborhood children, delivery people, and local animal population) is at stake, so it will be well worth it. Your fence (or lack of it) may be the issue.
Assess your current fencing situation. Was it adequate when your dog was a puppy, but now it’s just too easy to jump over? Is the dirt soft, so they can actually dig themselves under the fence (rather than over)?
You may need to erect a higher fence or reinforce the perimeter. If this is not practical because you rent, have an unwilling neighbor, or cannot afford to do so, consider an electronic fence.
If you have a wooden fence and you have a digger on your hands, consider purchasing some thick gauge hog wire. Dig a 1-foot trench along the perimeter of your fence, then bend the hog wire at the bottom into an L. Bury the L in the trench and staple or nail the hog wire to the existing wooden slats.
If your escape artist is managing to make it over your chain link fence, you might want to install a simple PVC pipe along the top of the fence (see image below). A few simple L-brackets, some wire, and two sizes of PVC piping added to the top of your chain link fence provides a rolling top to the fence. Dogs cannot get a grip on the pipe to jump over, and they literally slip right off as it rolls around.
There is also the option of electronic fences. Electronic fences are invisible fences that can provide an escape-proof zone for your dog. These are fairly affordable ($200-300 and up, depending on the size of your yard). This type of fence uses an electrical frequency. You install cable around the perimeter of your fence and combine it with a computer collar receiver, which acts like a radio, picking up the digital signal from the cable. When your dog goes beyond the buried cable, an audible (to your dog) alarm will sound and then they will receive a static correction (aka shock), which can be calibrated for your dog.
The downside is that initially the shock to the dog can be painful. But, as the dog learns not to venture near or over a fence, the shock can be reduced and you may be able to eliminate it altogether.
Perimeter landscaping can alleviate some of the problems that cause your dog to climb a fence. The added advantage is that they can spruce up a yard and help the environment at the same time by counteracting global warming, providing additional shade to you and your pet, and lowering your water consumption (and bill) by replacing a portion of your grass.
Certain dense shrubs, like boxwood, rhododendron, and certain junipers can keep the fence inaccessible to your dog. Many varieties are fast growing and drought-resistant and require little care.
Bamboo can form a dense screen, is fast growing (running types grow 3-5 feet/year), and produces new shoots each year, thickening and strengthening the screen it provides. Some species can be invasive, so do consult a master gardener or nursery prior to choosing.
Reed or bamboo rolls are an option for chain link fences or to achieve more height against an existing wood fence. This option measures in at 6 feet high, is available at any home improvement store and is very affordable. It will block the view that is afforded by the chain link, thereby removing visual temptations or irritants to your dog.
While this article focuses on how to stop a dog from climbing a fence, if you have a digger, rather than a climber, consider these simple modifications:
- Bricks, stepping stones, or large river rocks around the perimeter of the fence are not only a nice landscaping feature, but make it difficult for Rover to move them to dig.
- Chicken wire buried into the dirt can provide a barrier that your dog won’t be able to dig through.
- Install an L-footer. This is just wire fencing which you bend into a L shape. You staple 1-2 feet into your wooden fence and then stake 8-12 inches to the ground in front of the fence to form the L. This provides a barrier to digging.
This is one sure-fire way on how to stop a dog from climbing a fence! Dog runs are large pens dedicated to your dog. They can be configured in a variety of shapes and lengths to fit your yard and your dog’s needs. Typically made of chain link fencing, you can either build the sides high enough or go for something lower and add a roof of chain link on top.
What’s nice about dog runs is that they provide a safe, enclosed place for your dog that can accommodate a dog house, dog bed, water and/or food dishes, and can be partially covered to provide shade during the summer months that becomes a barrier to rain during winter.
Often this is a good option for anxious dogs and dogs who might be aggressive once they escape. It can also provide you with peace of mind, as a full enclosure is pretty much escape-proof!
Well, you wanted to know how to stop a dog from climbing a fence, and we’ve provided a number of ways for you to do just that. You’ll need to determine which is best for you—based on your dog, the reason for their escape antics, your living situation and budget—but you should be able to find some good options here that will work for you and your pet.