How to Control a Dog Digging Under a Fence

Prevent your dog from escaping under the fence.

Prevent your dog from escaping under the fence.

Your fence can be your dog's friend: It keeps him contained and out of trouble. Sometimes a dog digs under the fence even though this act of rebellion is not in his best interest. Take steps to ensure that your dog can't dig his way to an escape.

Behavioral Solutions

Address the reasons for your dog's digging; consult with a certified professional dog trainer if needed. Is your husky digging a trench along the fence to escape the summer heat? Give him a wading pool or bring him into the cool house, and keep outdoor breaks short during the hottest part of the day.

Breeds such as terriers and dachshunds dig to follow their prey drive and may be telling you that you have a mole infestation in your yard. Working breeds, such as border collies, need "jobs." Provide toys to engage your dog if he suffers from boredom, the most common reason dogs dig. Use food puzzles to feed your dog and challenge his mind at the same time. Sports such as tunnel training or agility can help satisfy a working breed's need to work. Tired dogs are less likely to dig out of boredom.

Spend more time with him if he is lonely and seeking attention; play with your dog every day and bring him into the house to be with his "pack." Exercise him, with walks, hikes or games of fetch, if he has pent up energy that he needs to release. Give him something to do other than dig.

Offer Alternate Digging

If your dog is still focused on digging, distract him from your fence with an alternate digging area. Mark the area with a visual border using wood or stone.

Mix sand and loose soil together to create an appealing digging mixture. Place the mixture within the border you created.

Teach your dog to dig in this area by burying toys such as dog balls or edible treats and showing him how to find them. Continuously replenish the treat and toy supply to maintain your dog's interest in his allowed digging zone.

Create Fence Obstacles

Make it difficult for your dog to dig under your fence. Dig a trench one to two feet deep in which to bury vertical planks of wood below the fence.

If your fence is made of diamond wire, add more wire at the bottom extending down into the trench. Use wood staples or nails to attach the bottom end of the wire to sections of logs lying in the trench. Bury the logs and the newly added area of diamond wire.

If extending your fence into the ground is not an option, try digging a shallow trench and filling it with concrete or loose gravel. Paving stones or lava rocks also make excellent digging deterrents. Plant a row of dense shrubs along the fence to restrict your dog's access to it.

Items you will need

  • Dog toys
  • Dog biscuits
  • Shovel
  • Wooden planks
  • Diamond wire
  • Logs
  • Stapler
  • Hammer and nails
  • Rocks
  • Concrete or asphalt
  • Shrubs

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About the Author

Nancy Lovering is a writer, photographer and teaching assistant. She took novel writing at Langara College and photography at British Columbia Institute of Technology. She obtained her teaching assistant certificate through Delta School District Continuing Education. She previously worked as an assistant controller while in the Certified General Accountants program, and has training in dog psychology through Custom Canine Teaching Ltd. in Vancouver, BC.

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