I was in my backyard, surrounded by a six-foot-tall wooden fence, and I was hearing a strange scratching noise. Suddenly, a strange dog’s head and paws appeared over the top of the fence!
He was trying to jump the fence but didn’t quite make it… that time. But he kept trying (hence the scratching noise as he scrambled up). Eventually, this dog made it over the fence and was now stuck in my backyard, too tired to get back to the other side where he came from.
Long story short, I had to put a leash on the jumbo-jumper and bring him back to the neighbor’s house.
Luckily, he ended up in my yard and not out roaming free on the nearby busy road. Also luckily, my own dog wasn’t outside at the time as my pup probably wouldn’t have taken well to this intruder.
A dog jumping the fence can be dangerous to the dog as well as any people or animals in the area. To solve the problem, the best thing to do is to figure out why your dog is jumping the fence so that you can find the right solution.
Look for the Reasons Why Your Dog Is Jumping the Fence
Usually, dogs jump the fence for one of four reasons:
Dogs get bored and lonely, just like people do. If they aren’t getting enough physical and mental stimulation, they might get extra curious about what’s outside of the fence.
There are many ways to combat your dog’s boredom.
- You can give them new toys to play with. It can help to rotate toys in and out so that it stays interesting. Puzzle toys can give your dog mental exercise. I feed my dogs some of their meals in various puzzle toys, and they love it.
- Spreading tiny treats throughout your yard can make their domain a more interesting place and keep them busy sniffing and munching.
- Physical exercise can be a massive help — even short walks before and after work will make a difference. If you are unable to exercise your dog regularly, it is quite easy and inexpensive to hire someone to do it for you.
- While walking is best because it provides both physical and mental stimulation (all of the interesting smells in the neighborhood provide mental stimulation), you can also play fetch to tire your dog out.
Ok, so it’s a stretch to say that your dog is in love, but if there is a female dog in heat in the area, your male dog can go nutty trying to get to her so that they can mate. (This is mostly an issue with male dogs, but not always!)
This problem is often easily fixed by spaying or neutering your pup. The earlier done, the better. Your dog’s hormones may be causing them to want to jump over the fence, but if that behavior becomes a habit, they may keep doing it after the hormones have lowered.
3. In Body Guard Mode
Another reason a dog jumps is to protect the household from potential intruders. Things like loud neighbors, other dogs out on walks, and delivery trucks can all be seen as threats to your dog.
To keep your dog from climbing, you may need to invest in some fencing solutions so that your dog sees less (more on that in a minute) and/or dog training.
My dogs are extremely reactive to delivery truck noises, as well as seeing anyone walking by our house. Desensitization training has helped with these behavioral issues a lot, though it is not a fast solution.
Lastly, your dog may decide to escape so that it can chase other animals. If they started chasing a squirrel that was in the backyard, determined dogs might climb or jump out to continue the chase.
Out of these four reasons, why do you think your dog is jumping the fence? It could be more than one reason. Knowing why will help you choose the best solution.
Fencing Solutions for Dogs Jumping
Here are six ways you can adapt your fence to keep your dog’s escape antics from continuing:
Install Top Railings
Occasionally, chain link or wire fencing is used without installing a top railing. This makes the top of the dog fences quite weak. Your dog may be able to climb over this fence because it will bend or stretch a bit under its weight.
To fix this, you can install a top railing. It will give your chain link fence more strength so that your dog can’t escape your yard.
Extend the Fence Height
You may also be able to extend your existing fence to make it taller to keep your dog from jumping.
Many people add a one to two-foot trellis/lattice topper to solid wooden fences. It looks nice, adds more privacy, and can stop a dog from escaping. You won’t even have to replace your fence posts or panels to add this to your fence.
You can buy extender kits for chain link fences as well. Some of them even angle inward, which would make escape nearly impossible.
Strategic landscaping is another option that is easy on the eyes. Dense shrubs could keep your pup from getting a running start to leap out of the yard. Plant shrubs close to your existing fence to make this happen
Boxwood or Arborvitae shrubs would make a great choice to stop a dog because of how thick they are. You could choose a thorny bush as an added deterrent as well.
This has the added benefit of obscuring your dog’s view, which is handy if your dog is always in protection mode.
Rollers and Piping
Fence rollers, also known as coyote rollers, are quite effective and can be added to almost any type of fence.
Here’s how it works: at the top of the fence, you install a long piece of tubing that can spin around on interior support, like a cable or round PVC pipe.
Anytime your dog tries jumping the fence, it won’t be able to get a grip to escape because the PVC pipes will spin.
You can purchase kits for installing fence rollers. There are also many online tutorials to help you DIY a solution using PVC piping if you’re handy.
Add a Second Fence Line
Likely the most expensive option is to add a second fence. Another taller fence around the perimeter of your yard can help keep your dog from climbing out.
Many doggy daycares use this solution for extra peace of mind that they won’t lose an animal that they are caring for.
Install Invisible Fences
Consider using an invisible fence. Invisible fence technology has advanced to the point where you don’t need to bury any wires in the ground at all.
You can invest in a GPS collar (may I recommend our ultimate favorite Halo 2+) for your dog and map out the boundary lines of your yard on your phone. If they get too close to the fence, you will be able to customize the kind of feedback the dog receives from the collar.
The added benefit of a GPS collar is that if your dog does manage to escape, you can track them on your phone and get them back ASAP.
The downside of this kind of system is that you do need to teach your dog how the invisible fence works so that they are not confused or frustrated by the collar feedback.
Use an Enclosed Run
Lastly, you could put your dog in a dog run. This is an enclosed space usually made out of chain link. I don’t love this solution, mostly because I’ve seen dog owners keep their dogs out in a run for far too many hours a day when what the dog really just needs is more attention and exercise.
However, it can be a safe place for your doggo if you provide a comfy outdoor bed, shade from the sun, plenty of water, and toys.
Steps to Stop Jumping Over the Fence
Now that you know why your dog is jumping the fence and how you can adapt your fence to help, let’s look at some final tips.
Be Sure to Provide Enough Exercise to Your Dog
Very soon after we got our first puppy, I realized that a tired dog is a happy, well-behaved dog.
Dog owner needs to be ready to give their pups the right amount of physical exercise. Most dogs need at least one walk per day. Certain dog breeds need a whole lot more than that.
If you leave your dog outside when you leave for work in the morning, you’ll want to be sure to exercise your dog in the morning before you leave. Taking regular walks, visiting a dog park, or hiking can ensure their needs are met.
They’ll be much more likely to rest and relax in the yard once they’ve enjoyed some stimulation.
If you’re unable to do this, consider hiring a dog walker or taking your dog to doggy daycare, where they can play all day.
Block Outside View
If you notice that your dog is always patrolling the perimeter and looking outside of the fence, blocking the dog’s view can keep a dog from jumping out to investigate.
You can do this with landscaping plants or decorative screens that you attach to your current fence.
Remove Jumping Aids
Survey your yard for any “escape aids” — furniture, trash bins, compost piles, or kid’s playhouses that your dog may be used to give him a boost up and over.
Remove these from your yard to keep your pup’s paws on the ground and prevent escape.
Never Let Your Dog Alone
Leaving dogs outside alone for long periods of time is a recipe for disaster if you know that they are capable of getting over the fence.
Enjoy some fresh air and bonding time with your pooch by going out into the yard together. They’ll want to stick close to you.
You can keep your dog busy if you hide treats around the yard for them to find. My dogs absolutely love this game and it’s fun for me to watch!
Train Your Dog with Positive Reinforcement
Don’t forget to seek help from a professional dog trainer. They may have insights and ideas for how you can keep your dog busy and happy at home, eliminating their need to jump fences.
Positive reinforcement training can take some time to sink in, but will also likely reduce your and your pet’s stress.
It’s stressful worrying about your dog’s safety. The behavior of your dog climbing over the fence could be caused by them experiencing some stress as well, so training will benefit everyone.
If your dog is engaging in regular escape antics by jumping over the fence, the best place to start is by figuring out why they are doing it. Most of the time, it is because of boredom. Depending on why it is happening, you may or may not need to adjust your fencing situation to keep your doggo contained.
There are many fencing solutions out there, so you should be able to find something that works with your budget. If you rent and are unable to make permanent changes to the property, there are impermanent options listed in this article as well.