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How to stop your dog from jumping the fence

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  • RSPCA Australia
  • Monday, 20 March 2017

RSPCA Australia’s most popular Facebook post of all time is not about fighting animal cruelty, an adoption success story or even a funny cat meme. It’s about stopping your dog from jumping over your fence.  

The 2014 post has been shared more than 193,000 times and still receives new likes and comments every few days, suggesting this must be a problem faced by many pet owners.

Dogs jump fences for many different reasons. Figuring out why your furry friend is trying to Houdini their way out of the backyard is the first step to addressing the issue.

 Your pup might be jumping because:

-       They see something they want to chase

-       They see someone (human or animal) they’d like to meet

-       They’ve heard something they simply must investigate

-       They’re bored, anxious or lonely and looking for something to do

-       They’re looking for a mate (in which case, talk to your vet ASAP about desexing).

A great first step in stopping your dog from wanting to jump the fence is to make sure all their physical, social and behavioural needs are being met. Do they have food, water, shelter and a place to sleep? Are they getting enough exercise? Do they have safe toys to play with and enough attention during the day?

If your dog is left alone for long periods of time, it’s possible that boredom is the main reason they’re trying to escape the yard. Organising a walk in the middle of the day is one of the ways you can minimise their boredom.  If you can’t be there yourself, consider finding a trusted friend or hiring a dog walker to help out. For other tips on how to help your dog become comfortable on their own, check out this video from Dr Katrina Warren.

 Once you’ve got these bases covered, you might like to try some of these suggestions as an extra precaution:    

- Place PVC plastic piping (or large rubber tubes cut lengthwise down the centre) along the top of your fence. This will create a curved, slippery surface that your dog won’t be able to get a grip on when they’re trying to climb over the fence.

- Set up a shorter, interior fence two or three feet from the outside fence, preventing your pet from getting a running start. Planting shrubs near the inside of the fence can help with this too.  

- Place "cat netting" along the fence at an angle so that your dog won’t be able to get a foothold on the fence.

We hope these tips are helpful! If you’re interested in learning more about managing your canine companion’s behavioural quirks, we have some great articles over on the RSPCA Knowledgebase, so be sure to check those out. 

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