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Dog Behavior: How to Stop Dog From Jumping Over the Fence

Updated on March 5, 2012
Fence jumping is quite a challenging behavior!
Fence jumping is quite a challenging behavior! | Source

Why Do Dogs Like to Jump Over Fences?

Why did your four-legged friend jump over your fence? Very likely to get to something enticing found at the other side! While this may sound similar to a famous riddle, truth is, fence jumping is far from being a joke and can be quite a frustrating ordeal to deal with. But why do dogs seem so fond of jumping over fences? The answer is simple, because it is reinforcing!

Just imagine being a dog closed up in the fence for a good part of the day. You may perhaps enjoy the yard the very first days, but after a while it may become boring. Add on top of that the fact that you may also feel lonely and frustrated and you will end up with the perfect recipe for a fence jumper. The typical fence jumping dog is usually a dog with lots of pent-up energy, eager to find a way to keep its mind stimulated. If the owners fail to provide that, the dog will take itself for a pleasant stroll around the neighborhood.

The act of jumping the fence per se, is already quite an exhilarating experience for dogs as a world of stimuli awaits them on the other side. Urine left from a female in heat, an abandoned McDonald wrapper, squirrels to chase, or attention from a friendly person walking by are irresistible as cherries on top of an ice-cream. There are so many fun things to do outdoors for dogs and they don't even have to worry about being scolding for doing them!

On the other hand, there are dogs who escape fences in hopes to reach their owner when left alone. This can be a form of separation anxiety where the dog will dig and scratch the fence until they are free. Then, once free, they will look for any hints suggesting the whereabouts of their owners. The marvelous movie "Hachiko" depicts the real story of an Akita who escaped his fence each day to meet the owner at the train station. Unfortunately, one day the owner suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and never came back to meet his loyal companion at the station. Hachiko, however, every day for the next nine years waited for his owner at the station. A statue of this loyal dog has been erected at the Shibuya Station in the city of Ōdate, in Japan.

Whether your dog escapes the fence because of loyalty or other less noble causes such as territoriality, frustration,curiosity, pent-up energy, prey drive or reproductive needs, the solution remains the same: ensuring your dog's exercise and mental stimulation needs are met and fixing up the fence as best as you can. Truth is, every time your dog is out of your fence he becomes a big liability and may also risk his life. He may bite someone, cause a car accident, get impounded, ingest something toxic or get run of a car. There are thankfully a few tricks and tips of the trade to reduce fence jumping.

How to Reduce Fence Jumping in Dogs

The first question to ask is why is the dog jumping in the first place? If he is left out in the yard all day, he may be seeking companionship. Dogs are pack animals that thrive on human companionship. Many dogs may have some fun outdoors but then their desire is to re-unite with their family. While it is true there are some independent breeds, the majority of dogs thrive indoors. Indoor dogs are less likely to engage in problem barking, digging and other unwanted behaviors such as fence jumping once their exercise and mental stimulation needs are met.

It also true though that dogs who are provided sufficient exercise and mental stimulation are more likely to behave both inside the home and out. The saying " a tired dog is a good dog" is true, but once your dog has tasted the exhilarating sensation of jumping over, chances are high he will repeat the action regardless if he is tired or not. Therefore, the best course of action in case of fence jumping would be to keep the dog indoors or in a secure dog run. However, if this is not a choice or if the dog needs to be sent temporarily out, erecting a sturdier fence or fixing any existent gaps are a must. Following are some tips to reduce fence jumping in dogs:

  • Repair any gaps where through which your dog squeezes through
  • Replace your fence if it too low or beyond repair
  • Place some smooth plywood over existent ''toe holds'' which allow your dog to grasp and climb
  • Invest in "Coyote Roller" an innovative solution to stop fence jumping.
  • Fortify you chain link fence with chicken wire.
  • Supervise your dog when in the yard and invest in a long line to use when you are with him.

*Note: electronic fences may be effective but they still allow wild animals and stray dogs to enter your dog's territory. They may also increase territoriality, fear and anxiety in certain dogs. There are reports of dogs afraid to go out into the yard after being exposed to an electronic fence.

Fence jumping may be fun for the dog, but it is not fun for the owner, especially when neighbors complain about damages left behind from your four-legged friend. Keep your dog securely in and worries out by erecting a jump-less fence or finding alternative ways to keep your friend safe anf out of trouble.


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    • BluesLady8 profile image

      BluesLady8 6 years ago from Little Rock, AR

      I had problem with my male dog, Sam, back in North Carolina trying to get out from going under the fence. My husband and I had to pour concert down in the major weak areas along our fence line. Sam was trying to get out because of a female that lived in the neighborhood that was not spayed, so when she was in season I was outside with him, leash in hand.

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 6 years ago from USA

      I did address on several occasions the needs for exercise and mental stimulation.

    • bilghi profile image

      bilghi 6 years ago from Samsun, Turkey

      Great hub... It's a difficult issue. No miracles... Still, I would expect to hear more advice on keeping him/her "busy" within the fence boarders... Exercise him enough daily, providing him mental challenges etc... Of course at the end, some physical reinforcement to the fence may be also a good advice...

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 6 years ago

      Much ado about nothing-many dogs do not jump fences that are 6-7Ft tall, in fact, few dogs could in reality unless they launch from a table.