Let’s start this week with a few irrefutable facts:
- Americans keep more than 70 million dogs as pets, according to the American Pet Products Association.
- Between 37 and 47 percent of American households include a dog.
- Dogs dig. And chew. And jump.
- One hundred percent of our customers don’t want their dogs chewing on the fence. Or digging under it. Or jumping over.
So how do you, the dog-loving homeowner, go about containing your dog humanely? Let’s face these issues one at a time.
Let’s put on our dog psychiatrist hat here. Dogs are not little excavating machines, mindlessly digging holes. No, they have a purpose. According to the Humane Society, here are some of the reasons dog dig:
- They’re bored.
- They’re hunting prey, such as burrowing critters and insects.
- They feel vulnerable, and crave a nice, sheltering hole.
- They want to escape.
- They’re trying to get your attention – even if it’s negative.
- They’re terriers, and digging is in their blood.
As you can see, these are very different motivations, so call for different strategies.
The bored dog needs toys, playmates, and/or more walks. Try teaching this dog to catch a Frisbee, and be sure to rotate toys.
If your dog is concentrating all her efforts in one area of the yard, she might be hunting. Look for signs of burrowing animals, and find humane methods to exclude them or make your garden less attractive. Don’t use poison, as this will poison your dog, too.
If your dog digs a hole and lies in it, he probably seeks comfort. Does he have a nice doghouse to protect him from the elements? If you have a terrier or other dedicated digger – who prefers holes to doghouses – can you compromise, and set up a designated digging zone?
Dissuade canine escape artists from digging under your fence by placing large, partially buried rocks along your fence line. Or you can bury chicken wire at the bottom of the fence. Just be sure the sharp edges face away so they don’t hurt Fido. And try to make your yard more fun and comfortable, so he doesn’t want to escape.
Some dogs chew fences, both for entertainment and escape. If you have a serious chewer, you’ll need to reevaluate your fencing strategy.
Landscaping could solve the problem. Dense shrubs along the fence line provide a barrier – and a visual buffer – that make your dog less likely and able to chew the fence.
You could also consider a “redundant fence.” For example, a chain-link fence inside a wooden fence will not be so appealing for the chewing canine.
According to famous dog whisperer Cesar Millan, your dog might be trying to chew through the fence to get into a neighbor’s yard. Is there a dog there that your pet wants to play with? Does something smell really good in the yard? Perhaps you could take your dog on a play date with your neighbor’s dog, or recreate the good smell on your own property.
Dogs jump fences for many reasons – to mate, hunt prey, look for you, seek new friends, out of loneliness, boredom or anxiety, or just for the adventure of the open road.
The obvious fix is a taller fence. But you can also do other things to keep your dog in the yard. Here are a few strategies:
- Make sure your dog is getting enough physical exercise. Walking is good for you, too!
- Training is crucial. Verbal commands like “sit,” “stay” and “come” can halt Spot when he’s about to make for the fence. Learn these commands and more at doggy obedience school.
- Minimize unsupervised time in the yard.
- Instead of a dog door, hire a neighbor or pet walker to give your dog a midday break if you work long hours.
Remember to reward your dog for good behavior, rather than punishing him after he jumps the fence and goes for a doggy crime spree in the neighborhood. Your dog doesn’t have a good memory, and won’t understand why he got that smack on the nose. He’ll just think you’re mean.
Fortify Your Fence
Need help fortifying your fence so Rover roves no more? Call your friends at Buzz and we can talk about building higher or reinforcing lower via puppy pickets. And try not to get too frustrated with your furry friend. Keep the benefits of dog ownership in mind – companionship, motivation to walk in every weather, and a way to make friends with other dog lovers.