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Stop Your Dog Fence Jumping & Escaping Now!

So you've got a dog who likes to jump the fence?

Many dogs consider themselves to be escape artists - lets see what we can do to put a stop to the fence jumping. I should say right up front that fence jumping can be a difficult behavior problem to extinguish - not impossible though!

The reason for this is that fence jumping is what's called a "self rewarding" behavior to your dog. Basically what this means is that in your dog's mind when he/she jumps the fence he gets what he wants (much the same as if your dog steals a cookie from your kitchen bench) - he is rewarded for his actions. So each time your dog jumps the fence the behavior is being strengthened and reinforced which means that it is highly likely to occur again.

Stop Fence Jumping Dog

The following four steps need to be addressed. Start out by determining the reason or trigger for your dog leaping over the fence and then tailor a suitable program to put a stop to it.

1. Why Does Your Dog Jump The Fence?

2. What Can You Do To The Fence To Prevent Jumping?

3. Can You Control The Environment Around Your Yard?

4. What About The Dog??

1. Why Does Your Dog Jump The Fence?

The reason for your dog's jumping behavior may be blatantly obvious to you or it may be due to one or more of the following reasons:

Boredom, Separation Anxiety, Sex Drive, Fear, Lack Of Exercise, To Get To Other Dogs, Seeking Attention From You, Something Or Someone Exciting On Other Side Of The Fence, Following Another Dog In Your Yard and maybe even because your dog hasn't bonded with you and family.

2. What Can You Do To The Fence To Prevent Jumping?

Having a safe, secure, jump and escape proof fence is an essential part of owning a dog. Taking away the temptation or even the possibility of your dog jumping the fence is always the best course of action - for you and your dog.

  • Extend the height of your existing fence. You can buy some cheap and fairly good looking kits at any local hardware store.

  • Block all holes in your fence. This includes blocking your dog's vision to temptations outside of your yard. Also fill in any gaps that may be squeezed through or used as a foot hold to aid an escape.

  • If your dog doesn't jump straight over the fence but climbs all or part of the way, try these tips. Nail some sheets of chicken or aviary wire to the yard side of your fence to prevent climbing. You could also try some clear plastic sheeting which serves the same purpose as the wire but may look better, depending on your fence.

  • Place an obstruction a couple of feet in front of the existing fence. This could be a line of plants or another smaller fence. This method prevents your dog from getting a "run up" to the perimeter fence and therefore takes away his/her momentum. I have personally had great success with this method.

  • Another popular method is to add an invisible or wireless dog fence to your existing fence. With some of these systems you can bury the wires or staple them to the fence.

Dog Jumping Fence

  • Lay sheets of chicken wire down around the perimeter of your fence. Many dogs hate the feeling of wire under foot and will not launch skywards from it.

3. Can You Control The Environment Around Your Yard?

  • Be sure to provide everything your dog needs to be comfortable and happy inside the yard. Make sure your dog has warm, dry and comfortable bedding, fresh water and some dog toys to play with. Your goal is to make your yard a more attractive place to be than on the other side of your fence.

  • Block outside stimulus. Block out the thing that may be inciting your dog's fence jumping habit. Cover the fence.

  • Think about whatever it is that is triggering your dog and consider whether you can modify or change it in any way. Say your dog jumps the fence every time the postman or a delivery man visits your home - is it possible to change the location of your letter box or block the view to your front door?

  • Build a separate pen area or kennel run within your yard to confine your dog. This takes your perimeter fence out of the equation. You can purchase some cheap kennel run kits at most good pet stores. It's worth noting that a dog should never be confined to a kennel run or crate for long periods day in day out - it's no way for a dog to live.

  • If stray dogs are a problem in your area call in animal control.

4. What About The Dog?

Pick out one or more of the tips listed below that suit your individual dog. Put an ID tag on your dog just in case, but be careful not to use a collar that could strangle your dog if it becomes snagged on something.

  • Neuter or spay your dog if you believe sex drive is a contributing factor to your dog's fence jumping behavior.

  • Burn up your dog's energy. Energy (both physical and mental) has to come out in one way or another so why not use it up through obedience training, walks, fun games and at the off leash dog park? Even consider getting a dog walker to come in if you are away from home for long periods. Why wouldn't a lonely, bored and frustrated dog try to escape your yard??

  • Obedience training is a vital for all dogs. Obedience training will help in dealing with problem behaviors such as fence jumping and will also improve the bond you share with your dog. Important commands to work on are "come", "stay" and also ensure that your dog understands what "no" means.

  • You can set up a "booby trap" which will catch your dog in the act of jumping the fence and deliver an unpleasant consequence to him/her. Timing is crucial when setting up such a sting - you must deliver the aversive or the unpleasant consequence at the exact moment your dog is in the act of jumping the fence. The unpleasant consequence you provide could be a squirt with the hose or a startling loud noise. This method does work but does have limitations. Firstly you must be present at all times to deliver the aversive and you must be consistent for it to achieve the desired result.

  • I don't advise tying your dog up to prevent fence jumping - why have a dog if it is going to spend its life tied up? You may need to consider putting your dog inside the house if he/she continues to escape while you are away from home.

Good luck trying to keep your dog on the right side of the fence.

One last thing - if you do see your dog jumping the fence do not chase after him and make a big fuss. This is probably the reaction he/she is seeking from you and will only compound the problem. Also do not punish your dog when you catch up with him or when he does comes home.

Some other pages you may be interested in:

Is your dog running away because you are feeding the wrong dog food? Which dog food is best?.

Learn how to teach your dog to walk nicely on a loose leash.

Put a stop to puppy whining problems now.

Please consult the services of a Professional Dog Trainer, Behaviorist or Veterinarian before implementing any of the advice contained on this site.