How to Stop a Dog from Digging Under a Fence

how to stop a dog from digging under a fenceIt 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.


  1. Andrew Ruffing says:

    I live in the southern midwest. I have a black lab/ blood hound mix that is the most energetic and almost smartest dog I’ve ever owned. The only smarter was a german shepherd. I made the mistake of letting my wife order a 10*10*6 or 15*5*6 CHEAPO kit for around 250$ from Home Depot. So for starters the screws were VERY sub par (not through drilled the metal piping at corners/”T” pieces etc. Cool, off to the hardware store for some self tapping screws with rubber gaskets. Then they gave us 75 (lmao) tie downs. All of which were too short (like the screws) and wouldn’t stop a determined 20 lb dog.
    So, my solution was to buy a roll of (somewhat malleable) electrified chicken wire. WE USED THIS FOR WIRING THE FENCE TO THE CAGE PROVIDED. It will not be electrified, or the entire cage would.
    Anyway long story short I plan to tie the four corner “aluminum” (read: chinesium) posts into some good ol 4″x4″ at the corner and maybe T posts. Foot those in cement. Then use a bench grinder and sharpen pieces of rebar and drive em every 8-10 inches around the entire perimeter of the dog enclosure. Sink the rebar like this. First off wet the ground. Will make things a lot easier. After you’ve sharpened the rebar use a hammer to sink them or use a jackhammer with a flat/cupped attachment to drive em home.

    Another idea that occured to me is just wiring chicken fence along the bottom of the cage and burying it in a couple inches of soil. Probably be cheaper. But I’m all about over engineering.

  2. Dogdom says:

    What’s the cheapest option? I don’t want an electric fence, but all these choices (especially the fence barriers) seem quite expensive. Could stakes of PBC pipe work?

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