Have you ever answered the front door to find a neighbor escorting your dog home? Worse yet, have you ever received a phone call from total strangers who found your dog wandering around their neighborhood or dodging cars in the street?
As much as dogs love their owners and want to please them, they often act impulsively. Fencing your yard is an excellent first step to prevent them from escaping. It gives your pet a visual barrier and makes leaving the yard more difficult. However, even a 6-foot privacy fence does not guarantee they won’t try to leave when the opportunity presents itself.
Training your pet to overcome their natural curiosity or instincts to defend their property and behave correctly can be challenging. In addition to training, there are steps that you can take to make unwanted behaviors like jumping the fence less attractive or impossible, even for the cleverest pets.
Upgrading Your Fence
After fencing your yard, you may have assumed that your dog could no longer get out, only to be proven wrong. Don’t despair, though. With a bit of ingenuity and effort, you can make your fence a more formidable barrier.
1. Coyote Roller – For those dogs that are climbers, a coyote roller should do the trick. Designed to keep coyotes out of your yard, these 4-foot aluminum tubes can be installed on the top of your fence. When an animal tries to climb the fence and reaches the roller, it spins, keeping them from getting a sound footing on the top of the fence. If you live in a rural area, this solution may keep your dog in and other animals out as well, making your yard safer for your dog.
If you are working on a tight budget, you can build your own coyote roller using PVC piping. Use L-brackets to mount a metal cable along the top of the fence. Thread the cable through a small diameter PVC pipe and surround that with a larger 5-inch PVC pipe. This arrangement should allow the outer pipe to roll if your dog makes it to the top of the fence, denying her exit.
2. Attach an L-Footer – An L-footer is wire fencing that you can attach to your fence and bend so that it extends the fence barrier into the yard. While these are often used at the base of the fence to keep pets from tunneling out, you can also attach them at the top of the fence. In this configuration, it sticks out over the ground at the base of the fence. When your dog looks up, she will not see open sky leading to escape but fencing blocking the way out. It acts as a visual deterrent as well as a physical barrier.
3. Fence it Again – Dogs can jump higher than you might think when they get a running head start. With the whole yard to run across leading up to their leap, a 6-foot privacy fence may not pose much of a problem. However, adding a second lower fence about three feet inside the perimeter of the outer fence makes the jump much more difficult. This second fence extends the width of the jump, making it impossible for most dogs to escape.
While you may not like the idea of having two fences or making the yard smaller, this could be an opportunity to add decorative features to your yard. This second fence could incorporate trellis with flowering vines. You could also use shrubs to create a hedge instead of a fence, depending on your personal preference.
4. Block the View – Dogs are often motivated to leave the yard by what they see outside of it. Squirrels, other dogs, or even neighborhood children may inadvertently lure them out to play. If your fence is chain link or lattice instead of a solid cedar wood fence, you may want to consider ways to cover gaps in the fence to remove the temptation. You can place slats in your chain link fence or plant vegetation in front of it to further obstruct the view of the outside world.
5. Reorganize the Yard – Have you ever watched your dog escape? You might be surprised to learn that they are using ordinary objects in the yard to get a boost up and over. Intelligent dogs will use whatever they can find to help them escape. A backyard storage box, a lawnmower, or a stack of firewood could all be the culprit. Taking an inventory of your backyard and moving objects away from the fence may help solve your problem without taking drastic measures.
Installing proper fencing around your property when you own a dog is essential. Fencing provides a safe environment in which your pet can play. If the fence you installed isn’t working for you, you may need to dig deeper to figure out why and make some additional changes to your fence or the yard. Be sure not to overlook your pet’s need for exercise and mental stimulation. A happy dog that gets plenty of exercise is less likely to go looking for adventure when she gets home. These small steps will make your job a lot easier and your pet a lot safer.