How to Stop a Dog from Digging Under a Fence
In this article, we’re going to take a look at how to stop a dog from digging under a fence.
Even a well-trained dog can exhibit this problematic behavior. If a dog gets anxious he may dig under the fence to get out. Your dog may try to escape by digging under a fence when he is bored. Or, if it is a male dog, he may smell the scent of a female dog and dig his way out under the fence to find a mate. Regardless of the reason your dog is digging, it is a very bad thing because when the dog escapes from the yard he can get lost or get hit by a car. That’s why it’s so important to know how to stop a dog from digging under a fence.
Why Do Dogs Dig?
Your dog may be digging for a variety of reasons. If your dog is digging because of boredom, make sure that he gets enough exercise every day. Your dog may be digging to hunt down burrowing animals or insects. If so, you need to find safe ways to eradicate them. (Remember that toxic or harmful chemicals can hurt your dog.) If your dog is digging for comfort or protection from the elements, your dog may be too hot and perhaps he is seeking water. Make sure that you provide adequate shelter and shady areas in your yard, in addition to plenty of water and see if the digging stops.
Digging for Escape
If your dog digs under or along the fence, he may be digging for escape. A dog may try to escape something, to get somewhere, or to get away from something. Regardless of the reason, escape can be dangerous – your dog may get lost or injured when he escapes from your yard. Try to figure out why your dog is trying to escape and remove those incentives. Make sure that your outdoor environment is a safe and happy place for your dog.
Let’s look at how to stop a dog from digging under a fence. Here are some ways to help keep your dog from escaping:
- Supervise your dog. Many times your dog will not engage in digging if you are around. If your dog starts digging while you’re in the yard, use training techniques to stop the behavior as soon as you see it. Try teaching your dog the command, “Leave it!”
- Make a safe digging pit in your yard where your dog is allowed to dig. If he has a designated area where digging is permitted, he may stop digging under the fence.
- Use a deterrent spray. Try sprinkling capsicum pepper, black pepper or Tabasco sauce around the perimeter of your fence, especially on the digging spots. While this will not work for all dogs, it may stop your dog from digging. Re-apply the deterrent every two weeks and after rainfalls.
- Bury chicken wire at the base of the fence, with the shard edges pointed away from your yard. The chicken wire should stop your dog’s digging attempts.
- Bury the bottom of the fence 1 to 2 feet below the surface of the ground.
- Try installing reinforced ground fencing. This bottom fence includes upright rods that are spaced out according to your dog’s size. These prefab pieces are perfect for fencing that may have gaps at the bottom.
- Place large rocks or cinder blocks that are partially buried along the bottom of the fence.
- Place chain-link fencing on the ground anchored to the bottom of the fence.
- Add shrubbery like roses to your fence line (thorns will deter your dog’s digging).
- If you have a chain link fence, your dog can see through it and he might spot something outside of the fence that grabs his attention, causing him to dig. Put up a barrier that will block your dog’s view. You can buy rolls of plastic or other materials that can be threaded through the fence so that it will not longer be see-through.
- An electric fence (also called an invisible fence) in another good digging solution. The electric fence will either employ a light shock to your pet’s collar or emit a high pitched sound that can only be heard by your pet. Usually the shock or the noise will cause enough discomfort to discourage your pet from going near it. While an electric fence is meant to cause some discomfort to deter your pet, it will not harm your pet.
- Use an exercise playpen or dog gate to keep your dog safely contained in your yard.
Redundant fencing may be used as a last resort. The double fencing creates an additional barrier for your pet.
If you must leave your dog outside, try installing a small kennel in the yard that is dig-proof. It may have buried fencing or concrete under the fence perimeter. To give your dog privacy, surround the kennel with shrubs and trees. This will help your dog to feel safe because he cannot see or be seen by passersby. To keep your dog entertained while inside the outdoor kennel, provide him with plenty of chew toys or food puzzles.
To learn more about digging behavior in dogs, go to How to Stop a Dog from Digging.