Do you have a digger? Some dogs just can’t get enough of it. They find a spot and dig and dig and soon enough, in the right spot, the dog tunnels out of the fencing securing it to the yard. Now free, the dog is on the run. Too many dogs that get out are at risk of getting hit by a car, attacked by another animal, or scared and becoming a danger to others. Sometimes, even humans can become a danger to an animal that’s escaped.
In August, a trained police dog dug a hole and escaped his fenced yard. The K-9 officer was found later with a gunshot wound and had to be euthanized due to the extent of the injuries. It’s unknown why someone shot him, but it’s a reminder that there are so many different kinds of danger for a loose dog.
Confining a dog that loves to dig is challenging. What can you do to make sure that your dog’s passion for digging doesn’t lead to an escape? Here are some of our best tips for stopping your dog from digging under a fence.
Figure Out Why Your Dog Is Digging
Take some time and figure out why your dog is digging. When your dog escapes the fence, where does he go? If he heads to the stream or pond in the backyard, look at his fenced area. Does he have a pool to cool off in, plenty of water to drink, and a shady place to cool off? If not, he could be digging to find a cooler area.
Does the dog dig and wait for your attention? If your dog is digging a hole and then waiting for your reaction, the dog could be looking for your attention. Make sure your dog gets one-on-one attention throughout the day. To a dog that wants attention from his owner, even negative attention counts. Take time throughout the day to throw a ball around, take your dog for a walk, or curl up together for belly scratches.
Your dog digs a hole and goes to play with neighborhood dogs. If your dog does this, he’s looking for a playmate. Arrange to have a neighbor’s or friend’s dog come over from time to time for playdates.
A bigger challenge is if your dog is digging to get to prey. Breeds like rat terriers or Jack Russell terriers are known for digging to catch moles, rats, mice, etc. Digging is instinctive to them. It’s important to keep those animals out of your yard as much as you can. Bird seed at bird feeders will draw these rodents to your yard. If you need to have bird feeders for the birds, locate them far away from your dog’s play area.
Don’t Let Your Dog Get Bored
Is your dog digging because he’s bored? This is pretty common. Take him for several walks a day to tire him out. Play with balls, Frisbees, or other toys you can throw and get your dog to fetch. Consider putting in toys that encourage activity in your dog’s yard. Jumps, tunnels, and ramps can all help your dog stay engaged, which prevents boredom.
Create an Appropriate Area for Digging
An expert tip is to create an area where digging is encouraged. If the dog is trained to dig in that area and is excited to dig in that area, it’s unlikely the dog will go to other areas to start digging. How do you do this?
Dig up the grass in an area of the yard that’s out of the way. You could build a wooden frame if needed, but a dog that chews might be tempted to chew at the framing and that can be a choking hazard or lead to splinters getting stuck in the mouth.
Use playground sand to create a sandbox-style play area. You want to create a section that has about a foot of sand for your dog to dig in. Hide durable toys, hard treats, and other items and encourage him to find them while digging. As treats get eaten or toys wear out, make sure you replace them with new toys. Mix up the toys from time to time to keep it interesting.
Supervise Your Dog While Outside
When your dog is outside, make sure you’re outside too. If he starts digging, a firm “no” should stop the behavior. If it doesn’t, put your dog on a leash and move the dog back inside. Make sure your dog knows that the behavior will not be tolerated by immediately moving him from the area.
If your dog does stop digging as soon as you say “no,” give lots of praise as a reward. The more the dog is rewarded, the less likely it is that the dog will stop the digging behavior.
Don’t leave your dog outside when you’re not also outside. If you have to go inside, bring your dog inside with you. Make it a point that your dog isn’t allowed outside unless someone is outside too.
Keep Your Dog Away From the Edge of the Fence
If your dog can’t get close to the fence, he won’t dig a hole there. Make the ground leading up to the fence uncomfortable for him. Your dog hates walking on crushed stone or gravel, so use that to your advantage. Put down crushed stone and create a two-foot perimeter before the fence to keep your dog away from the bottom of the fence.
You could use planter boxes along the fence to keep your dog from reaching the fence. If you do this, make sure your dog doesn’t use the planter boxes as a step to jumping over the fence.
Get a Dig-Proof Fence
What if you can’t always have your dog inside or be outside with him? He doesn’t mind crushed stone or can jump a fence if you add planters along the border. But, you can’t keep him inside all of the time. You have a daily meeting and need to have a quiet home, so putting your dog outside for the meeting is important. Our best tip is to make sure your fence is dig-proof.
An unbreakable mesh guard that forms a barrier along the ground is essential. Your dog will go to the edge of the fence and try to dig a hole, but the dig-proof barrier prevents digging.
All Pet Playgrounds fences come with dig guards. There’s a second of extended fencing that covers the ground and is secured in place using stakes until plants grow around the durable mesh. Depending on the fence you choose, either the polypropylene mesh (1,100-pound break strength) or rubber-coated steel mesh (1,800-pound break strength) will prevent your dog from digging through it.
With Pet Playgrounds’ durable, DIY dog fences, you choose the size you need. You can secure the fencing to existing trees or use the posts that do not require a post-hole digger. Our easy-to-install dog fence kits included everything you need. It’s easy to install these fences and is much kinder to your budget than chain link, underground, or vinyl fencing. Fill out the online Build-Your-Kit form to get pricing before you place an order.