How to keep dog from digging under fence

Dogs like to dig in the ground, and since it is a natural instinct, it may not be easy to handle. If you only reinforce the fence but ignore the reasons, the dog will still dig, even though he won’t be able to get out.

So you need to figure out the cause of the digging, eliminate it, and train your dog to behave properly. I’ll talk about all of this. Together, these methods will help you.

10 Ways to Stop Your Dog from Digging Under the Fence

Here I have gathered all the possible tricks you can use to stop your dog from digging under the fence. I recommend using them all together.

1️⃣ Train your dog

The task of a dog owner is to teach his pet what behavior is considered good and bad. This is the key to success because you can eliminate the root of the problem.

woman training her dog

Try learning one of the basic commands, such as “No” or “Place.” When your dog is digging, say the command in a loud and confident enough voice to draw attention to yourself. As soon as your dog looks at you, show him a treat and give it to him. 

👉 You can use a clicker, vibrating collar, or ultrasonic training device for extra stimulation.

The key to success in this area is regularity. The command should be repeated every day (several times a day if possible). It may take more than a week to learn the command. In the meantime, use the other methods described in this article.

2️⃣Redirect the dog’s energy in a different direction

If your dog is constantly digging in the yard, he probably has a lot of unspent energy. If you keep your dog busy, he won’t have the energy to dig.

When you’re home, you can engage him in training or games. Take your dog for walks to new places, let him socialize with other animals, or start running around together. Keep in mind that some breeds need to be active all the time to feel normal.

But how do you keep your dog busy when you’re not home? Here are some ideas:

  • buy special toys, such as puzzles with food or lickimat;
  • get a second pet. They’ll have more fun together;
  • hire a dog sitter who can walk your dog while you are away.

Here’s another original tip from a dog owner from Reddit:

3️⃣Provide another place for digging

Provide a place for your dog to dig, and he won’t touch your fence. You can make a sandbox in your yard and bury some treats there to attract your dog.

dog in the sandbox

Of course, getting your pet used to digging in a designated area will take some time. Don’t expect instant results.

By the way, there are special toys for digging besides that. Here’s an example:

Last update on 2024-06-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

4️⃣Use repellent sprays

Such sprays can be purchased at a pet store. For example, you can choose pepper sprays that leave an unpleasant smell. It will make your dog sneeze and run away. Spray it on the fence and the ground around it.

Last update on 2024-06-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

You can also make a homemade repellent spray from vinegar and water (in a 1 to 1 ratio).

It may help, but it is not a very reliable way because no odor will stop a persistent dog. It should only be used in conjunction with the other methods.

5️⃣Cover the fence to block the view

If the dog is trying to get out because he is attracted to something outside the fence, you may need to block his view. You can do this with a tarp or other outdoor-appropriate material.

6️⃣Manage your dog’s anxiety

You can tell your dog is experiencing separation anxiety if he takes your absence hard. Such dogs may chew and destroy different things when the owner is not home. They may also howl and bark or pee in inappropriate places out of excitement.

If you recognize your dog in this, research more information on treating separation anxiety, and you can use soothing treats or a pheromone diffuser as quick help.

Last update on 2024-06-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

❗️Excessive digging can indicate a medical problem. Observe your dog to determine if he has any other signs of anxiety. These include excessive scratching, licking, and destroying things. In such cases, you need veterinarian help.

7️⃣Help your dog cool down

Dogs may dig into the ground to cool off on a hot day. Observe your dog to see if this is the case. 

If so, you need to help your pet cool down. You can do this with a cooling bed and a canopy. A pool also helps. However, you must still teach your dog commands so he no longer digs the ground. 

8️⃣Consider neutering

What if your dog tries to escape because he “hears nature’s call.” Unspayed bitches and males may have a strong desire to get out to satisfy their instincts. In that case, you should consider neutering or spaying.

9️⃣Reinforce the fence

If your dog lives in a dog kennel in your yard, you’ll likely need to reinforce the fence to prevent escape. How can you do this?

📌 Cover a piece of ground along the fence with something. You can drape the area with mesh or other material to prevent digging, as shown on this pictures from dogproofer.com:

Dig Proofer Kit ⏤ No-Dig Dog Fence

📌 You can also line the area near the fence with tile, faux stone or just fill it with gravel. If you add rocks, plants and be imaginative, you can make everything look like part of a landscape design. 

the fence is blocked from the dog digging

📌 You can also bury a security fence half a meter deep under your fence or bury large stones along the fence line. It will certainly stop your dog from escaping but won’t save your lawn. 

📌 If your dog lives in a dog kennel, you might consider concreted flooring in the kennel.

🔟Make a special place for your dog in the backyard

If your dog spends much time in the backyard, you can make that space more interesting. First, you can fence off just the part of the yard that will be safe for the dog. You can even put a special fence around the perimeter of your patio.

You can also install different elements for playing, including slides, tunnels, a mini-pool, or other water games for the dog. Also, plant various plants to make a sensory garden. Make a potty place separately.

If you like this idea, read more about how to create a dog-friendly backyard.

Should you use an invisible fence?

Invisible fences are advertised as reliable escape prevention. It may seem like this is the solution to the problem. But don’t rush to spend the money.

I did some research on the subject, and here’s what I learned about invisible fences:

  1. First, they don’t respond 100% of the time. Sometimes the signal is delayed, and the dog gets hit when it’s already outside the fence. I’ve also heard that the collars have been activated when the dog is just sitting in the house.
  2. Second, these devices use an electric shock. This can be described as “static feedback,” which seems less frightening. But that kind of exposure can still hurt your dog. Read more about this in my article on the dangers of electric shocks for dogs.

If your dog is prone to running away, you need to have a GPS tracker more than anyone else. With this device, you can find your pet if he gets lost. By the way, I have a review of the best GPS trackers.

FAQ

Why does my dog crawl under the fence?

It may be due to boredom or hunting instinct. Some dogs just like to dig; others want to get out because of their breeding instinct or separation anxiety.

How to block under fence?

You can use rocks or cover the ground near the fence with mesh or other material. The most radical way is to pour concrete half a meter deep into the base of the fence or put tiles around the perimeter.

Conclusions

You must engage in training to cope with a dog that likes to dig under the fence. At the same time, you need to provide the dog with enough other physical activity and mental stimulation. You can also use deterrent sprays and reinforce your fence to prevent escape.

If your dog’s behavior is worrying, it is worth seeking help from your veterinarian.

Sources:

https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/stop-dogs-digging#:~:text=If%20you%20catch%20your%20dog,or%20chicken%20wire%20over%20them.

https://www.k9ofmine.com/solutions-for-dogs-who-dig-under-fences/
Anastasia
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