Poodle mix walking fence line

How To Dog-Proof A Fence?
Including Puppy Fencing Ideas

Having a dog as a member of your family comes with a fairly long list of needs and responsibilities. Some of them we expect and plan for, while others can come as a surprise. Like your fence doing nothing to keep your dog in the yard.

No matter if you are thinking ahead and trying to prepare your yard for a new canine companion or you have an escape artist on your hands, this guide on how to dog-proof a fence is here to help.

Dog digging under fence

Puppy-Proofing Fences: The Basics

Some dogs are very keen on running away every chance they get, while others aren’t. In any case, you’ll never know whether jumping the fence will be a problem with your dog until it happens.

“It's important to put a stop to your dog's wanderings. Roaming is one of the most dangerous behaviour a dog can exhibit. Dogs who roam are more likely to get hit by cars or to be injured in a dogfight.” - Arden Moore [1]

In any case, having a fence that will prevent your dog from getting out on their own if they ever try to is a matter of safety and can save you a lot of trouble later on. But how does one know if a fence is dog-proof? Here is what to consider:

Start With An Inspection

If you are about to get a puppy and want to know whether your fence is up to the task, we recommend taking a close look at your existing fence. Even if it seems completely fine, take a walk around and inspect every detail. What you’d be looking for are any possible weaknesses.

Is the fence dense enough? If the gaps on your fence are large enough for a dog to pull through, that is an obvious weakness. You’ll also want to look at the part where the fence touches the ground. Is there a large opening between the ground and the fence? Dogs can squeeze through surprisingly small openings, and can also dig to make the space larger. Other than that, just look for any weak points where the fence could be easily broken or jumped over (or under) by a dog.

All good? Then your fence might be dog-proof. Not happy with how things are looking, or you have a dog that keeps getting out? Check out our dog-proof fencing ideas below to help you upgrade your fence.

Related: The Best Electric Dog Fence Options.


Dog-Proof Fencing Ideas

#1 ‘Coyote Rollers’

This simple solution is one of the easiest hacks you can add to your fence. It will not solve all your problems, but if your main problem is your dog jumping over the fence, this can be just what you are looking for - a dog-proof fence top.

The name ‘coyote rollers’ comes from the US where this type of fencing is commonly used to keep coyotes out from the areas where livestock is kept, or they are otherwise not wanted. Of course, coyotes aren’t an issue in Australia, but the coyote rollers can be just as effective for keeping pets inside the fence. Often also called ‘roller bars’, this fence hack is popular with dog and cat owners alike.

So what’s the trick? Well, it’s adding a pipe that spins, a roller, on top of your fence. If a dog (or anything else) manages to climb to the top of the fence, they will need to grab the roller. As the roller will spin, the dog won’t be able to get a grip and will simply fall down.

Roller bars can be purchased or easily made at home. All you need is some PVC pipes and some sort of mechanism to mount the pipes on so they can spin.

A more primitive version of this system involves simply cutting a PVC pipe in half and placing that on top of the fence. This version does not spin, but it is slippery, which might be all that you need to stop some dogs from jumping the fence (2)

#2 Lean-Ins

A lean-in part on top of your fence is another way to prevent persistent jumpers from getting out. The ‘lean-in’ is also commonly referred to as ‘cat netting’, and that’s because it’s pretty much the only way to prevent cats from getting over a fence.

The trick is very simple. All you need is a part on the top of your fence that pivots inwards. The additional lean-in can be made of any material, but what is typically used is wire mesh or chain-link fence material due to the fact that it’s lightweight and simple to install.

Provided that the fence is high enough so that your dog can’t jump over the whole contraption, a fairly small lean-in section should be enough to stop any dog from climbing over.

Will your fence look a bit like a prison fence? Well, yes, a little bit. But it’s a small price to pay to keep your pets safely contained within your yard.

#3 L-Footer

While one of the two ideas above might help you get in the way of dogs trying to jump over the fence, this is not the only thing you need to worry about if you have a real escape artist on your hands. In fact, digging under the fence is just as common as jumping over it.

Na L-footer is similar to a lean-in, just for the bottom of your fence. It is simply a piece of the fence that is bent at 90 degrees so it extends on the ground. Just like a letter “L” at the bottom of your fence. If you are building a new fence, you can have the “L” built-in as a part of it, but you can also add it later. The bottom part can be buried underground (prettier), but it might as well just stay on top. Either way, it will prevent your dog from digging under the fence.

#4 Concrete Footer

A concrete footer works on the same principle as the L-footer, but you’d be using concrete instead of fence netting. It refers to simply adding a layer of concrete at the bottom of your fence. As you lay the concrete, you can put the fence in place, so the concrete will act as an extra-stable base for your fence.

If you are looking for a quick fix, this is probably not going to be your favourite solution. Setting up a concrete footer for your fence can get quite time-consuming and require some serious planning - depending on the size of your yard. On the upside, the concrete will be stronger than any dog. Still, you have to make sure that the concrete footer is wide and deep enough. You don’t want the dog to simply dig under it.

#5 Reed Rolls

This idea is great for pet parents that are dealing with a dog that reacts to the things it sees on the other side of the fence. Sometimes, simply eliminating the visibility of things outside can stop the dog from even trying to jump the fence (or barking at everyone and everything that passes by).

If you have a chain-link fence or some other kind of transparent fence, reed or bamboo rolls can offer an easy solution. All you need to do is buy the rolls in the desired length and attach them to the inside of your fence. They are fairly cheap and look quite nice. Plus, setting them up is easy to do on your own. Just use zip ties, rope, or anything else that comes to your mind to attach the rolls to your existing fence.

Reed rolls are our favourite, but you can use anything else you like to obscure the view. Plastic faux ivy or faux hedge rolls are an easy and affordable option too, for example.

#6 Utilise Plants and Landscaping

If you like gardening and don’t mind getting creative, you can also utilise plants to help dog-proof your fence. For example, if you want to obscure the view through the fence, you can utilise ivy or another type of climbing plant and let it climb along the fence.

To prevent a dog from jumping over the fence, you can use some dense shrubs, like box hedges. Plant the hedge along your fence on the inside. By doing this, you can make jumping over the fence much more difficult as the dog would have to jump over the shrub and the fence. This should also make it more difficult (although not impossible) for the dogs to dig their way out.

#7 An Additional Fence

How to make a fence dog-proof? Build another fence in front of it. While this might seem a bit impractical, it can work quite well provided that you have enough space available. You’ll simply want another fence a few feet away from your actual fence. The additional buffer space can help with reactive dogs who are easily disturbed by the stuff happening outside your yard. If you have a dog that likes to jump over the fence, adding another layer makes the endeavour much more difficult and gives you more time to react.


Final Thoughts

Having a dog-proof garden fencing is important for the safety of your dog. However, if your dog keeps trying to jump the fence (no matter if they succeed or not) it’s important to look for any possible underlying issues. Your yard should be safe for a dog, but it should not feel like a prison. What is it that your canine companion is looking beyond the fence? Is it a mate, some entertainment, or something else? Is it possible that some of their needs are not being met?

That being said, some dogs simply love roaming and there is no amount of training and attention that can stop them from trying. In that case, just give your best to make your fence as dog-proof as possible.

FAQ

Can you use chicken wire for a dog fence?

Yes, chicken wire can be a good option for a dog fence. It’s relatively cheap, easy to work with, and dense enough not to let a dog through the gaps. The issue with chicken wire is that it will not stand on its own, and your fence will be only as strong as you make it with the help of supports.

Will a privacy fence stop a dog from barking?

While it will depend on the dog, a privacy fence (that is, a fence you cannot see through) can often have a calming effect on dogs - especially those that react strongly to passerby’s on the other side of the fence. As a plus, a solid fence is much more difficult to climb over than other types of fencing.

Can you train a dog to stay in an unfenced yard?

Training a dog to stay within the yard without a fence is often called boundary training and it’s possible. However, it is not an easy feat and it will take time and patience. With some stubborn dogs, though, it might never work even if you do everything right.

References

  1. Moore, A. January 28, 2013. “Why Does My Dog... Roam?”. Vet Street. Retrieved February 21, 2022. http://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/why-does-my-dog-roam
  2. Diaz, A. March 20, 2017. “How to stop your dog from jumping the fence”. RSPCA. Retrieved February 21, 2022. https://www.rspca.org.au/blog/2017/how-stop-your-dog-jumping-fence
Vedrana Nikolic

Vedrana Nikolić is a professional writer, anthropologist & dog lover with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology. Currently pursuing a Masters degree in Semiotics studying the communication between animals and humans. Vedrana is able to use her expertise to analyse and review dog products and write informative posts on canine behaviour and training.

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