It can be distressing when dogs dig unsightly holes to escape from back yard fencing, and it can get your dog into trouble with the neighbors too. It can even get you in trouble with the city – in Waukesha, for example, dog ordinances specifically instruct homeowners to make absolutely sure that dogs stay on their own property.
Fortunately there are some easy, humane methods for solving this common pet owner problem.
Create a Barrier
One solution would be to create a barrier that your dog can’t get past. There are several ways to do this.
One way would be to line the bottom of your fence with large, decorative rocks. The dog can’t get past them and they’ll add a beautiful new feature to your lawn or garden.
Another way would be to use “Dig Defense.” Dig Defense is a product that was specially created for this problem.
You would simply install the Dig Defense barrier at a slight angle along the bottom of the fence line. It doesn’t detract from the fence’s aesthetic value and it penetrates deep into the ground to stop dogs.
Some people have used creative versions of this solution, like running harmless zip line from the farm supply store along the base of the fence, or burying cheap cement paving stones just under the soil, right around the bottom edge of the fence.
Address the Reason the Dog is Digging
Don’t assume a dog is digging “just because he’s a dog.” Dogs often have specific reasons for their digging behavior.
If the dog likes to lie inside of his hole that’s usually a sign that he’s cold or in need of comfort. Buying a simple dog house and lining it with a nice warm dog bed may be all it takes to end this behavior.
The dog could also be bored. Try installing a sandbox inside of your yard and lining it with lots of fun dog toys.
This is worth trying if the dog is outside alone for long periods of time. If you were stuck alone in the yard with nobody to talk to and nothing to do you’d try to entertain yourself too!
Solutions to Avoid
People have tried some very painful and dangerous methods to stop this problem in the past. Punishing a dog or harming a dog for following his natural instincts is not only ineffective, but it could result in injuries to the dog.
Running barbed wire or chicken wire beneath the fence is a common solution, for example, but it could result in the dog getting caught under the barbed wire. The dog might severely harm himself trying to pull free of the painful trap, a trap that could even be fatal.
Invisible fences and electric shocks may be effective, but they’re painful for the dog and not very kind when there are kinder solutions available.
Never use hot sauce or mothballs either. One could damage your dog’s throat, eyes, nose, and mouth – he can’t run to the bathroom to wash out the Tabasco when he gets that first nasty surprise. Your dog might eat the mothballs, which can make him seriously ill.
There is nothing more frustrating than having unsightly holes underneath your fence and having to chase Fido down in the neighborhood! By applying some of these tips, they should help stop a dog from digging under a fence so you don’t have to deal with the problem again.