How to Train Your Dog to Stay Off the Fence

A new puppy in the home can be a wonderful, yet challenging time. If you have begun this adventure, you have probably done your research to see not only the most compatible puppy for your home, but also have looked into the joys and challenges that lie ahead of you.

Yes, having a new puppy is going to be a great thing, and they will bring so much joy to your life. However, they are still just that: Puppies. And one of those challenges that you may come across is: Jumping on and over fences.

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Joker sits nicely outside


Reasons For Jumping

When my puppy, Joker, tends to jump aggressively on the fence, I have noticed it usually is because of two reasons:

  • Other dog(s) walking by– A natural excitement for many puppies. Dogs often want to be playing with other dogs, and the fact that a large fence object is in there way will cause the puppy to try and “get” to that passing dog.
  • When a person is coming up to the fence: whether it be a stranger or neighbor/friend- Many dogs react based on if they know they are about to get attention, a pet on the head, or if it is just an “intruder” to them that they may not know.

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Joker looks through his favorite chain linked fence

Other reasons for Jumping

On top of the reasons that I see most from my own puppy, other reasons may include:

  • Dogs love to seek out the outside world, and are more interested in the adventure outside of their fenced in yard.
  • When the dog accomplishes jumping over the fence, they feel rewarded. They feel like they have accomplished a feat that humans may not have thought they could do.
  • You may not have enough interesting things in the yard: Often, owners put their dogs outside for long periods of time, and give them little options within the yard to keep them entertained, as well as little attention.
  • If you own more than one dog (like myself), the dog may follow their sibling to see how they act. When a new dog comes into the family, they learn the “ropes” from their sibling that has been around for some time. If that dog jumps on the fence, then the puppy will most likely follow suit.
  • It’s possible they may be frightened: Storms, fireworks, or sudden loud noises that recur may cause your dog panic. Observing how they are around these ideas will help you determine if any of these are the root cause.

Digging and Going Low

Not every dog has a habit of jumping on and over fences. Some dogs are determined to dig below the fence and look to find a path to go under.

Digging is usually a habit that many dogs enjoy doing. While my two dogs primarily dig in the dirt to make themselves a place to lay and cool off, some digging can be more nerve wracking for us owners.

When looking to prevent digging under the fence, the most common idea is to lay some kind of fencing on the ground around the fence area to prevent digging. Unfortunately, this can be a lot of work for us owners as we may have to avoid the barrier when doing lawn work.

A more simple solution may be to check for holes, and if you notice your dog digging near the fence, go into the alternative solutions that we will read about it the next section.

What You Can Do To Try To Prevent Jumping

There are many things you can try in order to prevent your puppy from attempting to jump the fence and/or climb the fence:

  • Give them a call back and divert the attention: When your dog starts to run towards the fence to see what’s going on, quickly do a callback: “Joker! Here boy.” When they turn back around and run to you, toss a treat into the grass/yard away from the distraction to get them to focus on something else.
  • Compliment them: Along with the above, always compliment them with a job well done. The more this is done, the more the dog gets used to the gesture. If a dog does something once, but then realizes he/she never gets positive reinforcement, they may not break that habit.
    • Place a barrier by the area of concern: If part of the fence seems to be the go to jumping spot for your puppy, putting an interference by that location may help. These may include a bush or shrub placement, some type of smaller garden fence or even chicken wire. If there is something in the way of the dog, they may grow frustrated with trying to avoid the interference, and stop jumping on the fence over time.
  • Spend time with them: Yes, it sounds so easy, right? But Dog owners can get busy, and we may not have time every day to spend hours with our puppies. However, shaving out dedicated time to spend with your dog(s) can show them the attention they may need.

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Joker and Sadie play with their outdoor toys

The Importance of Toys

Let’s face it. We as humans cannot be outside day and night with our dogs. A huge part of dogs being entertained is what objects are in their “zone.” Access to toys such as frisbees, tennis balls, and outdoor chew toys are essential to keeping dogs entertained in event their owner isn’t outside with them.

My favorite go to bone for the dogs to play with is: Peanut Butter Filled Bone. Joker can easily spend hours with this.

Some of the best outdoor toys also include Kong Frisbees, Nylabones, and the Chuckit Ball Launcher.

Get That Energy Out

  • Run/walk that dog! Research shows that making your puppy run or walk out that energy helps immensely. If you are unable to walk your dog daily, look to throw a ball or get them exercise in the backyard in order to wear off excessive energy.
  • Take them for a car ride: You’d be surprised what this does for dogs. Getting them excited to go for an adventure can get them focused on other things besides escaping the backyard.
  • Set up a water area: For our dogs, we have a kiddie pool that we setup from time to time on hot days. The dogs jump in and splash around for a bit, which seems to relax them and cool them off at the same time!
  • Setup play dates: If your dog is lonely, look to other friends and family that may have dogs that your furry can burn energy up with.
  • Day care: Puppy day care can be a really great thing. Even with a half day of daycare, our older dog Sadie comes exhausted and heads straight to bed. It is a good opportunity to mingle with a large amount of other dogs.

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A simple game of catch can do wonders when it comes to burning off your dog’s energy

Training Your Dog

On the chance that none of the above items work, than professional and obedience training may be the step to take. Every dog should have some kind of obedience training at some point in their lives.

Many training professionals are reasonably affordable, with some of them willing to come to your home to train with your puppy. I would recommend using Google or asking you local Veterinarian  about dog trainers in your area.

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Joker and Sadie on their training mat

What Not To Do

Some ideas that will not work during this training include but are not limited to:

  • Ignoring the problem: Often, owners get the “They will eventually grow out of it,” mentality. Unfortunately, this usually does not work. Ignoring the issue at hand will only allow the dog to realize that jumping on the fence has not got me in trouble yet, why would I stop?
  • Punishing the Behavior: If the result is tying up your dog to a leash, punishing them once, it may put more fear into the dog. They may look to rebel against you. They may be terrified that if they do it again, they will know that they will be leashed or punished.
  • Caging your dog: The dog is immediately going to think that if they did something wrong, to the cage they go. Crate training is a good thing for other reasons for dogs, but you don’t want them to be terrified of entering their crate. If they associate the crate with them doing something bad, they may never be willing to go to the cage again.

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Joker in his cage

Finally, Be Patient

If there is anything history has proven with dogs, it is to STAY PATIENT and keep working at it! Most puppies are a lot to care for, but they do get it! Training and habit breaking will take time, but rest assured, your puppy can and will overcome this habit. Sticking with constant training and reinforcement with positive vibes towards your furry one will bring results.

What other trainings work for you? Please leave some comments below!

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