How to dog-proof fencing – 6 ways to keep yours in and others out (2024)

To keep your pet safe and your boundary sound, knowing how to dog-proof a fence is vital. It can not only save you stress and heartache in the long run, avoiding any potential escape routes, but also ensure that neighbors' dogs are kept out, too.

So whether deciding on the best height of the posts to assessing the materials used, there are many factors to keep in mind. We’ve asked the experts for their pet-safe garden fence ideas and advice, whether you are looking to build a fence for your backyard or are looking to make repairs.

How to dog-proof a fence

There are many ways to dog-proof fencing, depending on which type of fence you have, and the breed of dog or the problem they are causing. Below, we investigate the most common problems.

1. Ensure your fence is high enough

Whilst the height of the fence is a valid consideration for a leaping dog, it is generally accepted that around 6ft is appropriate, and most dogs will not jump over it. However, all canines are different, so consider all your options before you embark on any project.

‘The first step in dog-proofing a fence is understanding your needs’, explains Liz Baessler from US-based gardening website, Gardening Know How.

If your fence is proving a little too short for a very adept-at-escaping dog, you could look at trellis ideas that can quickly and easily add a couple of feet to the height of your fence. Or, look to grow evergreen climbers that will add to the bulk of the fence, making it harder for the dog to jump over it.

2. Make sure there are no gaps between panels and posts

‘A Border Collie could jump a high fence, while a Chihuahua could squeeze through a narrow gap between slats, and the fence for each would have to be modified accordingly,’ Liz advises.

3. Stop the burrowers

Ever watched The Great Escape? If you have, you'll know that determined digging can get you past the most forbidding of fences. So, it’s more likely that a small dog, particularly terriers, who love to dig, will try to escape underneath the fence.

So-called ‘diggers’ aren't just endangering themselves, but can also be weakening posts and causing damage to the wooden panels. If that's the case, you'll soon find you have to fix a leaning fence, so it’s best to consider some tougher options.

The toughest, but hardest to install is a concrete footer instead of a wooden one at the base of the fence. Most likely this will need to be done by a professional, as it will require removing all your fencing minus the posts, pouring the concrete and once set, re-assembling all the fence panels on top of the new concrete base.

You could also try an L-shaped footer – wire fencing that sits at the base of the fence and then along the ground next to it, like you might find in a chicken coop to keep foxes out. To make it look more aesthetically pleasing, you can bury this fencing underground or grow plants over it to disguise the wire.

Or, look to a clever landscaping option, such as contained raised garden bed ideas or rock garden or even planting prickly evergreens, such as holly, to discourage the dog from going near the fence at all. Or try planting something dense like a yew or laurel hedge at the base of your boundary line.

If your pet loves digging, growing grass with dogs can also be problematic, so you might have to reconsider your lawn choices in certain areas too.

4. Choose the right fencing material

Firstly, consider that there are certain types of fence materials that would not be suitable, such as picket fences or barbed wire.

If you are considering a mesh fence, there are options which are stronger and more robust than you may think. Texas-based company Betafence provides mesh fencing which is composed of ‘durable welded wire mesh panels with rectangular meshes and horizontal reinforcement ribs’.

It may be a completely different, more utilitarian look, but as Chris Langwell from Betafence advises, ‘it guarantees strength and rigidity’ so it could be a good option for your dog.

Mesh fencing can be a great option for more security too. And there are bespoke options that can be extra tall or include a lean-in section, perfect to deter your dog from climbing.

Dogs with the heft to destroy wooden fences might be better contained if you install a chain link fence and grow climbers to disguise it; dogs that chew wooden fencing might be less tempted if you install a vinyl fence.

If you are considering a more cost-effective option, a wire or chain fence will allow you to have more flexibility. If you have a dog that likes to climb, you can build a leaning top section using the wire mesh, angling the top section inwards so it’s impossible for your dog to climb.

5. Consider an invisible dog fence system

If you have a real problem whereby your pet is endangering their own lives by persisting in trying to escape, you could consider invisible dog fence systems. These devices are installed around the perimeter of your yard, and the system sounds an alarm if your dog goes near the coded area, i.e. near the fence.

If your dog continues approaching the fence, a tone will correct your dog (though note that some can be programmed to give dogs a very small electrical shock, which we do not approve of). In time the system trains your dog about which areas to avoid in the yard.

Amazon sells this invisible dog fence system, which has a tone only mode.

5. Remove the temptation

It could be that your dog reacts to pets or children in the adjacent garden, if this is the case then avoid mesh, chain or wire fencing options that allow the dog optimum viability about what lies beyond.

‘The best catch-all dog proof fence is a solid, two-meter-high privacy fence,’ Liz Baessler from Gardening Know How advises.

6. Work on training

Above all of course, ensuring your dog is well trained will help prevent those naughty habits such as tunnel digging and fence climbing. Adding new fences, concrete footers or indeed a more complex system should only serve to help and support your dog as they learn. The ultimate goal, through training, is for your pet to avoid any of these behaviors so that everyone inside and outside your home can be kept happy and safe.

What can I put on a fence to stop my dog chewing?

Bodhi Dog Not Here! is Amazon's highly-rated, top-selling product to stop dogs chewing. You can also spray the areas they chew with apple cider vinegar, which they hate the strong smell and taste of. Note, each time it rains you will need to reapply both.

How to dog-proof fencing – 6 ways to keep yours in and others out (2024)


How to dog-proof fencing – 6 ways to keep yours in and others out? ›

Build a Buffer Zone

One of the best ways to build a buffer is through landscaping. You can plant thick shrubs along your dog fence to act as a natural border. A simpler method is to run chicken wire a few feet away and along the base of the fence.

What will keep dogs away from a fence? ›

Build a Buffer Zone

One of the best ways to build a buffer is through landscaping. You can plant thick shrubs along your dog fence to act as a natural border. A simpler method is to run chicken wire a few feet away and along the base of the fence.

What can I put on the bottom of my fence to keep my dog in? ›

Low-cost chicken wire or landscape fabric can be used to reinforce the base of the fence and make it more difficult for small dogs to dig through.

What can I put at the bottom of a fence to keep animals out? ›

Animals who take up residence under a deck, crawl space or shed are often capable diggers. If you put up a fence to keep them out, be sure to extend wire meshing out in an “L” shape at or beneath the ground. L–footer style fencing will also keep wildlife out of yards and gardens.

What is the cheapest way to make a dog proof fence? ›

Chicken wire and wooden pallets are among the most affordable materials. They are cost-effective and fairly easy to work with, making them great options for a budget-friendly dog fence.

How do you fence so dogs don't get out? ›

A concrete footer around the base of the entire fence might be your best option if you have a super digger. For dogs who love to climb, adding angled PVC pipes to the top of the fence can make it impossible for them to get over. Another fantastic option is using chicken wire to reinforce the bottom of the fence.

What scent will keep dogs away? ›

Strong citrus scents are unpleasant for your dog and may deter them from digging up your plants or specific areas in the yard. You can also use this tactic for indoor plants that your dog is digging around in. Citrus scents are excellent for deterring your dog from areas you don't want them to get into.

What kind of fence keeps dogs out? ›

Chain Link Fencing

A chain-link fence costs $10 to $20 per linear foot. Sure, it might not do much in the way of curb appeal, but it's affordable, easy to maintain, and an effective dog fencing option.

How do I stop my dog from running up and down a fence? ›

Try restricting your dog's access to the fence (particularly when you are not home). This can be done by erecting a temporary double fence, blocking your dog's access to the fence by keeping them in another part of the yard, or keeping your dog in a den or crate while you are out or can't supervise them.

How to stop a dog from destroying a fence? ›

Dense shrubs along the fence line provide a barrier – and a visual buffer – that make your dog less likely and able to chew the fence. You could also consider a “redundant fence.” For example, a chain-link fence inside a wooden fence will not be so appealing for the chewing canine.

How to dog proof your yard? ›

Puppy Proofing Your Back Yard
  1. Treat your yard for fleas and ticks. ...
  2. Avoid mouse/rat poison. ...
  3. Be cautious with fertilizers. ...
  4. Monitor your dog for signs of allergies. ...
  5. Ensure your yard has the appropriate pet fencing. ...
  6. Keeping pets away from gardens and plants. ...
  7. Put up a fence around your pool.

How to block a fence from dogs? ›

You can put gravel along your fence line, which may deter your dog. An effective solution will be to install a fence that extends below ground level (anywhere from 12-24 inches) so your dog won't even be able to dig under your fence.

How do you dog proof a low fence? ›

Use Chicken Wire

One of the best materials that you can use to dog-proof a fence is chicken wire. It's strong but not too strong, and it's easy to install. It's also inexpensive and relatively easy to cut and shape to make it work for your needs, and it doesn't matter if the chicken wire has been used before.

How to dog proof a fence from digging? ›

Install a Digging Barrier

Burying a digging barrier at the base of the fence is a really smart option when you can't always be outside with your dogs or you're struggling with training and redirection. It's labor-intensive, but it works. Barrier material (chicken wire, hardware cloth or concrete pavers);

How to fix a fence so a dog can't jump over it? ›

Install L-footers on your chain link fence.

If you want to cover all your bases, use L-footers. They act as angled extensions that form an “L” shape and attach to the top of the fence, making it extremely difficult for a dog to climb over.

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