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How to Stop a Dog From Jumping Fences

Updated on April 19, 2013
How to stop fence jumping in dogs
How to stop fence jumping in dogs | Source

Why did the dog jump over the fence? Well, to get to the other side of course! As much as this sounds like a joke, in reality fence jumping can be a frustrating ordeal for most dog owners, and there is little to laugh about. Once over the fence, the dog may be exposed to all the troubles and dangers of the outside world. Cars, exposure to poisons, traps, and other perils may await a dog venturing alone.

Causes of Fence Jumping in Dogs

But what causes a dog to jump out in the first place? There are several causes, but some of the most common are: boredom, lack of exercise and mental stimulation, search for a mate, separation anxiety, aggression, fear, prey drive or simply, curiosity. In order to reduce fence jumping, you may therefore want to evaluate some of the potential causes for jumping and try to work on the problem.

An intact male, for instance may detect a female in heat several miles away and neutering may significantly reduce his tendency to roam. A bored dog may feel less tempted to jump over if it is provided with daily walks, fun games, and positive interactions so happenings over the fence appear to be less entertaining. A tired dog is usually a good dog, if you fulfill your dog's exercise needs indeed, he may no longer need to jump over the fence to walk himself. Aggressive dogs should never be allowed to jump over the fence so better solutions must be sought to properly contain this dog.

It is important to point out that jumping over the fence is often very self-rewarding. The dog may feel an exhilarating sense of freedom upon jumping over and may be rewarded by what it finds on the other side. A leftover fast-food meal abandoned on the curb, access to a female in heat, or some attention by some strangers passing by, may ultimately be causing the fence jumping activity to be an extremely rewarding experience. And the more rewarding the behavior, the more the dog will engage in it. So the ultimate solution to stop fence jumping in the first place, is to extinguish the behavior by limiting its chances to go over the fence.

How to Reduce Fence Jumping in Dogs

While it is true that a dog owner may train a dog to not jump over the fence by reprimanding the dog for every attempt it makes, this is usually not a permanent solution. Indeed, as opportunistic creatures, canines will likely try to jump over the fence when the owner is not there. This leads to the infamous sneaky fence jumping behavior many dog owners report.

Your best bet to halt fence jumping therefore is to address the problem using different strategies. You want to implement a mix of solutions to ensure your dog will be less tempted to jump over the fence. If you only take care of the fence by making it impossible for your dog to jump over, you may not be addressing the underlying problem, and your dog may no longer escape the fence, but may find other outlets for its frustration. Digging, barking, or other unpleasant behavior issues may therefore arise. You want to avoid this. Following are some tips to help dogs stop climbing fences that go to the root of the problem.

  1. Bond with your dog. A strong bond with the owner will cause a dog to feel more compelled to stay within the boundaries.
  2. Make the yard a fun place. Fill it with chew toys, areas where the dog may dig, and entertain your dog with fun games.
  3. Provide exercise. Take your dog on long walks, enroll him in agility, or organize play dates. A tired dog is a good dog.
  4. Keep him at home. If you work long hours, keep your dog safely home and have a pet sitter stop by, or take your dog to doggie day care.
  5. Enforce commands. Your dog should have a flawless recall and respond well to commands such as stay, no and ''leave it''.
  6. Put him up for success. Never leave your dog unattended rather, always be with him to discourage fence jumping and praise for staying in.
  7. Spay or neuter your dog. If your dog is escaping due to raging hormones, altering him or her will reduce tendencies to roam for a mate.

How to Stop Fence Jumping in Dogs

As already mentioned, you can reduce fence jumping but you may not be able to totally eliminate the behavior since most dogs guilty of fence jumping cannot be trusted when left alone in the yard. So the ultimate solution is to adjust the fence in such a way that is is impossible for the dog to jump over it. While these tips work most of the time, play it safe and put tags on your dog's collar or get him microchipped just in case he would figure out a way to escape. Following are some adjustements and add-ons that will make fence jumping more diffcult, if not impossbile.

  1. If your fence has ''toe holds'' you must invest in a smooth, flat surface such as plywood or vertical boards to make it hard to jump over.
  2. Bury chicken wire at the bottom of the fence and roll the sharp edges inward in case your dog tries to dig its way out.
  3. Invest in a privacy fence. Blocking outdoor view of temptations at the other side of the fence may reduce fence jumping.
  4. If your dog effortlessly jumps over high heights, and he is put in danger once outside, consider adding an electronic fence for dogs for extreme cases.

As seen, there are several tips to help dogs stop climbing fences. It is in your best interest to make sure your dog is contained properly since you may be liable for any damage your dog does to people, other animals, or things while venturing in the great outdoors. So keep your dog properly inside the fence, and all your worries out by working on the underlying problem and ultimately making your fence jump-proof.


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    • Nature by Dawn profile image

      Dawn Ross 6 years ago

      Very good information. This issue can be a tough one to overcome because as you said, jumping the fence is rewarding. I like your phrase, "A tired dog is a good dog". My mentor who helped me establish my dog training skills used to say that. Making sure your dog gets plenty of exercise is a good tip to help a variety of behavior problems.