Escape Artists 101: How To Outsmart Your Pup

is your dog licking or kissing
is your dog licking or kissing

There are some dogs that would give even Houdini a run for his money. These dogs are clever tricksters that constantly manage to escape the yard to go on “adventures.” And as frustrating as this tendency can be it is important to always remember that dogs descended from wolves, and wolves are free spirited roaming animals. Dogs may not seem like wolves on the surface,  but beneath their fluffy exterior, they still maintain some ancient wolf DNA. Escape artists can cause their owners lots of worry. From cars to wild animals, there are plenty of dangers out there that your dog can encounter after having escaped the yard. We believe that off-leash time is great, but escape time is not. Here are our tips to counteract even the cleverest escape artists.

Reasons That Dogs Escaped The Yard

They are left alone for long periods without any company, human or canine

Their environment lacks any enrichment

They are young and have an excessive amount of built-up energy

They are one of the more active breeds

They receive rewards from the places they visit after escaping, such as getting fed by neighbors or being pet by children.

Way To Curb Your Dog’s Wandering Ways

  • Take long walks daily. Taking walks not only physically exercises your dog but mentally exercises your dog. A tired dog won’t be an escaping dog.

  • Teach your dog how to play a game such as fetch, frisbee, or flyball, and play frequently.

  • Take obedience classes and learn some new tricks or polish up existing knowledge. Have practice sessions at home that last from 5 to 10 minutes each day.

  • Provide toys that are mentally stimulating such as puzzle and treat dispensing toys.

  • If possible,  keep your dog inside when you are unable to supervise them. It is much harder for a dog to escape a house than it is for a dog to escape the yard.

  • Consider having your dog spayed or neutered to help prevent sexual roaming.

  • Work on desensitizing your dog to any fears they may have while outside. Typically we see these fears manifest as noise phobias, common noise phobias include thunder and fireworks.

You know that your dogs are escaping the yard, but have you ever thought about how he escapes the yard? Knowing how your Houdini escapes will help you better prepare for the future. Below are the three most common ways that dogs escaped their yard. If your dog has a unique way of escaping, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Jumping and Climbing

More dogs actually climb the fence then jump,  but both ways of escaping are common problems. If possible, try the following techniques to deals with escape artists who jump or climb the fence. First, try making your fence taller; a few added inches may be all you need to keep your dog in your yard. Next, try adding an addition onto your fence that leans in towards your yard ever so slightly. By tilting your addition 45º, you may be able to keep your dog from leaping or climbing over the top of your fence. For a more aesthetically pleasing option, you could try to install a roll bar to the top of your fence. The benefit of a roll bar is that they will keep your dog in and predators, like coyotes, out. A roll bar makes it impossible for your pet to grab the top of your fence, keeping them from being able to pull themselves over.

If your dog is prompted to jump or climb the fence because he or she is reacting to something they see outside the yard, then these next two solutions may be best for you. First, try adding some bamboo or reed rolls to your fencing. This is an affordable way to block your pet’s line of sight. If you have a chain link fence, you can weave plastic slats through the links to create a semi to complete vision block for your dog.

Digging

What could have started as a few holes in your flower bed may now be functioning as your pet’s ticket to freedom. It should be noted that not all dogs dig to escape your yard; common causes of digging include digging to make a cool spot to lay in warmer temperatures, digging to find a buried toy or treat, digging to pursue underground animals or animal smells, or digging due to OCD. If your dog is digging with the expressed intention of escaping, or if he or she has previously escaped by digging under your fence here are a few ways to try to prevent further escapes. First, you can try burying chicken wire at the base of your fence. The sharp edges need to be rolled inward to prevent injury, but this solution may stop your pup once he tries to tunnels under your fence.

Another favorite countermeasure is to lay heavy rocks or stone along the perimeter of your fence. Some lay chain link fencing along the ground, as opposed to rocks, to keep dogs from digging. For a hardcore solution that is almost always foolproof, you could try laying a concrete footer around your fence. A concrete footer is poured into the ground 1-2 feet below the fence, and then the fence itself is embedded. This measure may be the most tedious of the three, but if you have a serious escape artist than this may be the solution that works best for you.

Stay Means Stay

Whether your pup jumps, climbs, or digs, it’s important to get to the bottom of his Houdini ways. Dogs very rarely will escape just to escape; as mentioned above there are quite a few reasons why your dog may feel the need to escape your back or front yard. Ideally, dog’s should not be left alone outside (tethered or otherwise). Digging should be seen as a symptom of a larger issue; try our online library of over 10,000 vet approved articles to determine why your dog is actually trying to leave the yard.