Is your dog a Houdini-like escape artist? Many crafty pets find their way out of the yard by jumping over fences, chewing holes in wood slats, or even learning to open gates. As pet owners, we must keep our fluffy friends safe, which gets easier when you have the right fence strategy in place. In a securely fenced-in yard, your dog can spend time safely roaming, playing, and relaxing in the great outdoors.
Yard time can’t fully replace walks, though, and leaving your pup unattended for hours in the yard could be a contributor to fence jumping. Instead of scouring the internet for “how to keep a dog from jumping fence,” the following ideas can help you enhance your yard and fencing to keep your beloved Fido safe and preserve your peace of mind.
Install Coyote Rollers on Top of Your Fence
Originally, people used fence rollers to keep coyotes from jumping the fence into their yards, but the coyote roller method also works great to keep dogs from jumping out. You can find kits online and other DIY dog fence ideas that use PVC pipe for the rollers, or have metal rollers installed for a more heavy-duty solution.
When your dog tries to jump over the fence, his paws hit the roller and make it impossible for him to get a foothold on the top of the fence. It’s kind of like a rolling pin, and it keeps your canine safe in his yard.
Surround Your Yard With an Invisible Fence
Many dog owners love invisible fences and wireless fences. Today’s best wireless dog fence options make a great solution for pet owners with large yards bordered by woodlands or water, uneven terrain, or other conditions that make traditional fencing installations a challenge. Fido won’t be able to jump over or dig under this type of fence, and some people also use these as secondary fences for dogs that like to dig, chew on fence boards, or otherwise try to destroy the existing fence and get out.
Some invisible fences are called in-ground dog fences. They use a wire, buried underground around the perimeter of your yard, to keep your pup contained. Other systems don’t require any wire because they operate using a radio signal or radio waves like the best GPS dog fence. For both types of systems, your dog must wear a special collar that communicates with the fence system. Your pet receives a mild vibration or shock warning if it tries to cross the invisible barrier.
Both types of invisible fences are cost-effective ways to help your dog enjoy the yard and stay safe. One note about invisible fences—while they can keep your dog in your yard, they don’t keep other animals out. If you live in an area with coyotes, mountain lions, or other predatory animals, these fences offer no protection for your beloved pet.
Training Your Dog to Stay In the Yard
You can otherwise learn how to train your dog to stay in the yard, but this may only work with certain dog breeds. In some types of dogs, the drive to chase prey or go after perceived intruders will always override their desire to obey their training.
One way you can increase your success is to train them to stay in the yard while also using an invisible fence, as described above. For some dogs, the following techniques could work, even without an invisible fence, if your yard is not surrounded by distracting cars, people, or animals, or your dog has no instinctive prey or guarding behaviors.
Start by walking your dog around the perimeter of your yard several times each day to establish the location of the fence line. Reward with treats if your dog stays within the boundary and correct them if they step outside of it.
You can also train using boundary flags, by placing them in the ground around the perimeter line of your yard. Walk your dog around several times a day and reward them for staying inside the bounds. The final phase of training should include you stepping out of the fence line or throwing toys outside of it and rewarding your dog for not following.
Use Perimeter Landscaping to Your Advantage
Along the inside of your fence, plant a row or hedge of dense shrubbery. This enhances the look of your yard while creating a useful way to block your dog’s view and access to the fence. While you are walking around your yard, noting places to enhance your shrubbery, take a few extra minutes to remove anything that sits close to the fence. Your dog can use benches, chairs, trash cans, a woodpile, playground equipment, and many other things to climb up and escape over the fence.
If you decide to plant new shrubs, choose plants like rhododendron, boxwood, or certain species of juniper that have very dense, thick growth. These plants often require very little care and are also resistant to drought.
You can plant bamboo if you want to create a tall, thick screen to block your pup’s view of things that happen outside of your yard. Bamboo grows fast, from three to five feet each year, and produces new shoots continually, making the screen even thicker. Some bamboo can invade the rest of your yard though, so check with your local nursery to choose the right species for your garden.
Enhance Your Fence with an Angled Top
If you already have a sturdy chain link fence or another fencing in place, consider adding an angled piece to the top. You can borrow ideas from farm-type methods, which means using barbed wire fencing, cables, woven wire, board, mesh, or some combo of these materials.
The top piece should be angled inward at about 45 degrees.
This add-on acts like a little awning at the top of your fence, and if your dog tries jumping the fence, they’ll probably fall back down and find it much harder to get over, even if they do get a paw-hold on the top of the fence. They won’t have any fence directly underneath their hind feet to help them climb over the top, which will keep them safely in the yard.
Install a Secondary Fence
A secondary fence is just what it sounds like—another fence installed parallel to your existing fence. The key is the distance apart. You want to install the new fence in such a way that it leaves enough room for your dog to jump over and land on the ground, but not enough room for Fido to get a running start and jump over the second fence. Having another fence set back from the original can also prevent your pup from repeating learned behaviors such as escaping or fighting with other dogs at the fence.
The new fence can be low enough for your dog to jump over and doesn’t need to incorporate expensive or heavy-duty materials. It can even add a decorative element to your yard, with attractive plantings added in between the two fences, depending on what fencing type you choose. You might not need to build the secondary fence around your whole yard. Some dog owners only put a secondary fence in front of the sections that their dog likes to jump over, such as the fenced area facing a busy street or bothersome neighbor.
This is also a splendid solution if you live in a rented home with shabby fencing and your landlord has no desire to fix up the fences. It could even save your relationship with a neighbor who owns the fence and doesn’t have any plans to repair holes or other issues.
Install a Privacy Fence
A privacy fence is any type of fence that obscures the view of your yard so that your dog can’t see out and other people and animals can’t see in. Privacy fences can be made of wood, vinyl, metal, or any other solid materials. These types of fences can also enhance the look of your yard and add curb appeal to your home. You can turn existing chain link fences into more private fencing by adding bamboo or reed fencing covers, or by inserting privacy slats into the chain link fence rows.
Plan on building a privacy fence to at least four or six feet in height, depending on your dog’s size and jumping or climbing ability. Some communities have rules or limits on fence heights so check your local regulations before starting your project.
Address the Root Cause
As much as your dog might scratch at the door, begging to go outside, they do get lonely when they spend a lot of time in the yard with no company. Some pups might try to get out of the yard because they’re looking for a doggy friend or other stimulation, or they’re defending their property from a perceived intruder.
You might have the good fortune of living on a property with a nice stream or forest nearby that tempts your dog. Rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, and other animals of prey have been known to lure dogs out of their yards many times. Puppies, especially, might have a huge buildup of energy and feel anxious or agitated if they can’t run and be active, which drives them to start scaling fences.
Whatever drives your dog to jump the fence, take steps to remedy the issue so that your pup not only stays in the yard but does so happily . Try to spend time daily playing ball, training, brushing, chasing, or just hanging out with Fido. This can give your dog a feeling of security and happiness that makes him want to stay in the yard.
When dogs get bored, they often engage in chewing, jumping, climbing, and other activities. This is especially true if their human isn’t around to catch them in the act and teach them good behaviors while distracting them from bad behaviors. If you leave your home, keep your canine in the house so they don’t have unsupervised time to figure out how to jump the fence, or get taken from your yard by someone unscrupulous.
When All Else Fails
Sometimes nothing works and determined dogs keep finding new ways to escape and explore the world. If this is your pooch, you might need to consider keeping your dog inside and only allowing them outside if they’re on a leash. You could also install a dog run in your yard that is completely enclosed with a chain-link fence on the sides and top.
If you have kids or a fast-running dog, you can also install an “airlock,” which is a double-gate system. If your dog gets through one gate, he only makes it into the airlock area. You might have seen this in use at your local dog park. You can also set this up in your home by using doggy gates to block off an area in front of each door to detain your canine before he can make it to the door and run outside.
If you do find that your dog has found a way to escape your yard, avoid doling out any punishment when they return, or when you find them. This could make your pet afraid to return to the yard in the future, and it won’t do a thing to reduce their desire to jump the fence again.
In any case, you can invest in the best dog GPS tracker collars to locate your dog if they’re on the run. Most of these collars use an app on your phone to show real-time data on your dog’s location. This can give you the peace of mind that, if other measures don’t work, you can still find your pup quickly and get him back home safely.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)
How do you train a dog to stay in the yard?
You can train your dog to stay in the yard in a few different ways. However, if your dog’s drive to get out is strong, be aware that training may have no effect. You can walk your pup around the boundary of your yard several times a day and reward him for staying within the boundary. You can also set up boundary flags and again, practice walking with your dog and showing them the line while giving rewards.
Unfortunately, though, most dogs need the further protection and reinforcement of a fence to keep them safe. You can install an invisible fence to use with boundary training, or a more traditional fence solution. Some dogs have such a strong desire to chase rabbits, squirrels, and other animals, or go after perceived intruders to their property, that a fence becomes essential to keep them from running away and into potential danger.