Peace in the Yard: 7 Ways To Dog Proof Your Fence (2024)

Oh sweet, sweet fences. How much do I love thee? Let me count ways:

  • Fences Keep Dogs Inside. Mydogs are off leash, safe, and free to roll in dead stuff without getting tangled in long leads.
  • Fences Keep Others Out. Except for a family ofWhistlePigs and one mole with a grudge, no one is cuttingthroughour yard.
  • Fences Provide Privacy.It is my right as an American to wear my pajamas all day and not have my neighbors see me slob out.

So clearly, fences are rad. They’re awesome management tools. Not only do they keep everyone safely contained, but they also allow you to do all kinds of fun stuff at home in your yard. Playing at home is super handy if you have a DINOS and need a break from walking your dog or you need to exercise them prior to a walk.

As you probably know, there are many different kinds of fences to choose from. Go check ’em out:

Solid Wood

Chain Link

Farm Fence

Iron or Aluminum

Invisible(I have some thoughts on those)


Plastic(affordable option alert!)

In the end, what you choose will come down to your personal needs in these areas:Privacy, Finances, Function, and Aesthetics.

As soon as we bought out first home last year, we hired some pros to install a fence. We have a few acres, but could only fence in part of the yard. We chose six foot, solid wood fencing for the portion of our yard that faces the street. The rest is six foot, 2”x4” galvanized, no climb, horse farm fencing from RedBrand. The majority of our fence is the wire farm fencing. This allowed us to save a ton of money, but also provides unobstructed views of the rest of our property. This is a good option if neighboring dogs/properties aren’t an issue.

No matter what type of fence you choose (or what you already have, thanks to your landlord or the person who lived there before you), you’ll probably have problems with it. That’s the way life rolls.

Maybe your dogs are fence fighting with the neighbor’s dogs or kids are sticking their hands through the fence and you’ve been finding tiny fingers in your lawn clippings. Or your dog is a jumper, a digger, or a Chris Angel impersonator. Maybe your dog screams at passing skateboarders or the ice cream truck.

Luckily, there are some ways to prevent these common dog-related fence problems (escaping, reacting, being tormented):

1. Landscaping:If you have a dog that is a jumper or likes to patrol the fence line, consider using landscaping as a way to keep your dogs away from the fence. By planting dense shrubs, like Boxwood, along the fence line, you’ll force your dogs to back up, making the jump further (aka harder). And if you have a patroller, the landscaping will make the buffer zone between the fence and your dog a few feet wider, which might help your dog take the day off from guard duty. Just remember to check in between the shrubs on the regular to make sure the dogs haven’t created a secret tunnel to Naughtyville.

2. Bamboo/Reed Rolls, Garden Fencing, and Slats: If you have a chain link fence and you find that your dog is reacting to stuff he sees on the other side of the fence, try zip-tying rolls of reed fencing onto the inside of your chain link fence. It looks nice, it’s cheap, and it’ll give you a lot more privacy (note: it’s not 100% opaque). The reed fencing comes in 4 or 6 foot high panels and can be cut easily. Bamboo looks nicer/is much sturdier, but is also more expensive.

Or, you can feed plastic slats through your chain link fence. They even come in “hedge”(!) style. Either option will also stop others from putting their hands/snouts through the fence.

If style isn’t your thing, but function is, you can try a black plastic construction fence as a visual block.

And if you have a fence that your dog is able to stick their head through, but you don’t care about privacy, try adding rolls of garden fencingto your fence to block ‘em in!

3. L-Footer: If you have a digger, consider an L-Footer. That’s wire fencing laid down against the base of your fence and bent perpendicular (90 degree angle) to it. You know, like an “L”.You can bury this fencing underground, but it doesn’t have to be buried to work. Some people just lay it on top of the grass and maybe add some rocks and garden gnomes to hold down the fort.This site explains it well (and has tons of other great tips). Also see Bad Rap’s rebar tip.

L Footer (source)

4. Concrete Footer: If you have a serious digger, consider pouring concrete along the perimeter of the fence line and sinking the bottom of the fence into the concrete before it dries. It’ll take some work, but this is super effective.

5. Coyote Rollers:If you have a jumper or climber, you can try these rollers, designed to make it impossible for coyotes to get a grip on the top of the fence (the bar spins). Think rolling pins at the top of your fence. You can DIY this with PVC pipe, if you’re handy.

6. Lean-Ins:Another option is to build lean-ins using farm fencing, so that the top of your fence is angled in a bit horizontal to the ground. It’s like adding a little awning of security. Here’s one to check out. It’s like a cat fence, only sturdier.

If your dog is a champion jumper, and none of this is enough, you may have to consider an expanded exercise area that is totally enclosed with a ceiling. Or a Bio-Dome (sans Pauly Shore, since you actually like your dog).

Peace in the Yard: 7 Ways To Dog Proof Your Fence (4)

You can score this lean-in kit here

7. Redundant fences: Redundant fences are the jam. I know of more than one family (mine included) whose backyard life got an extreme makeover when they put in one of these babies. So what is a redundant fence exactly?

It’s a fence within a fence. You can put up a secondary, internal fence on just one side of your yard – wherever the problems are occurring – or all four sides. Most people I know have it on just one side of their yard where they share a common fence with a troublesome neighbor, with a busy commercial building or street, or with a damaged or ineffective fence that can’t be changed for some reason (like when you rent or your neighbor owns the fence).

The idea is to manage the situation with a secondary internal fence, set back from the common fence line, thereby preventing your dog from making bad choices, rehearsing behaviors like fence fighting, or escaping easily. Plus it can help speed up training and will prevent other people/dogs from putting your dog in dangerous scenarios.

The redundant fence doesn’t need to be expensive. We used to rent a house that had a rickety old wood fence that belonged to the next door neighbors. Since we couldn’t do any repairs to the fence, we put up a roll of green plastic fencing about 3 feet back from the common fence line to keep our dogs from poking their heads through the broken fence. We also used a plastic, staked-in-the-ground, corner piece at one point. Could I have trained them not to poke their heads through the broken fence? Sure. But putting up the cheap redundantfence was easy, cheap, fast, always effective, and did I mention easy?

Depending on what issue you’re trying to prevent and your dog’s personal kung-fu skills, the redundant fence may need to be as strong as the outer fence. For some dogs, just having the visual of light pvc fencing will work, for others, they’ll need a solid wood fence to contain them safely.

One more thing about redundant fences: do it. I think people feel funny about a fence inside a fence. It seems silly to have two fences, especially if you just paid to put up the first one! But the families I know that went for it are enjoying their lives again. So if you think it could provide you with some peace at home, just do it.

For more on redundant fences, please check out Puddin’s Training Tips for ideas and some examples. She loves them so much, she wants to start a double fence movement!

BONUS: here are two more ways to keep your dogs inside and safe:

Airlocks: These are perfect for areas without a fence. You’ve probably seen airlocks at your local dog park or boarding facility. These handy gated areas are built in front of your main entrance, so that if the door opens and a dog escapes, they are still contained by the small gated area (the airlock) right outside the door. For some dogs, this may be as simple as adding a sturdy baby gate to the opening of your front porch. In other homes with other dogs, this may mean building a small fenced in area with a locking gate in front of your door. Grisha Stewart’s BAT book has some more tips, including adding a doorbell to the airlock, so that visitors have to wait outside the airlock (instead of at your front door) for you to let them in. We did something similar with our enclosed porch that leads to our front door (see here).

If you have kids, this one addition could mean the difference between being able to keep your dog and surrendering him to the shelter. I can’t tell you how many families brought in dogs to the shelter where I used to work because the dog was always escaping when the kids opened the door. If you have an escape artist or kids that let the dog out, add an airlock.

Peace in the Yard: 7 Ways To Dog Proof Your Fence (6)

Airlocks are commonly used at doggy day cares (like this one)

Locks: They keep your dogs in and other people out. We have 10’ swinging gates on our fence and after a few bad storms we discovered that the gates would sometimes blow open. We added a second lock (on the inside) to help keep those bad boys shut.

Depending on where you live, it’s not uncommon for people to let themselves into your fenced in yard. Maybe they wanted to cut through your yard and throw empty 40 bottles at your wind chimes (it happens). Whatever the reason, you don’t want people to be able to let themselves into your yard without your permission. So consider adding locks on the inside of your gates. It can be as simple as a big hook and eye.

All that being said, prevention is awesome, but supervision is always super important. Don’t leave your dogs unattended in your yard. Don’t. Especially if they fence fight or are canine Houdinis. Not only can they get into trouble sniffing snakes (I’m looking at you Boogie), but they’re likely to get bored. And bored dogs want to go on adventures. Give them a reason to stay inside the fence by hanging out with them and playing.

Of course, if nothing else, I’m a realist. So I know that most of us do leave our dogs unattended in the yard sometimes (even if it’s just for a minute) and that’s why all the above stuff should be considered. It’s our job to prevent, manage, supervise, and train…

So, training. Duh. Teach your dogs the skills they need to ignore dogs on the other side of the fence, to come when called, and to stop escaping. That’s really important too.

But all in all, training goes a lot faster when you can prevent your dogs from practicing naughty-pants behaviors like door dashing, tunnel crafting, and fence fighting. So no matter how much training you’re planning on doing, the solutions above will support your dog as they learn, keep them and others safe, and will only make things easier for you. And easy is my favorite.

Now go on and get! Hit the local hardware store and:Set your dogs up to succeed!

Peace in the Yard: 7 Ways To Dog Proof Your Fence (2024)


What is the best way to keep a dog in the yard without a fence? ›

If you don't have a fence or are looking for an economical way to keep your dog safe in the yard, you can buy an in-ground or wireless pet fence. They both work by creating a boundary that interacts with a receiver collar worn by your dog to let him know where the boundary is.

What can I put on my fence to stop dogs? ›

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.

How to stop a dog from getting out of a fence? ›

For digging dogs: Bury chicken wire at the base of your fence (with the sharp edges rolled inward), place large rocks at the base or lay chain-link fencing on the ground. Never chain or otherwise tether your dog to a stationary object as a means of keeping them confined.

What can I put on my yard to keep dogs away? ›

Keep Unwanted Dogs Off Your Property
  • Plant lavender. ...
  • Spray vinegar. ...
  • Use a motion-activated sprinkler. ...
  • Build a fence.To keep animals like dogs from constantly coming in and out of your lawn, surround it with a sturdy fence.
  • Plant spiky shrubs.

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

Cost Effective and Budget-Friendly Options
  1. Chicken Wire: Chicken wire is an affordable and readily available material. ...
  2. Wooden Pallets: Reusing wooden pallets can be an eco-friendly and economical option. ...
  3. Recycled Materials: Think outside the box with recycled materials.
Jun 10, 2024

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 stop a dog from destroying a fence? ›

Build a Better Fence

Some people try to build an airlock space of six to 12 inches, so if you have room to build another fence in front of the current one, you can put a layer of air between the two. You might also consider some sort of garden, or installing plants that buffer your dog from getting up to the fence.

What dog breed escapes the most? ›

These 15 dog breeds are the most likely to run away from home
  • #8: Belgian Malinois. ...
  • #7: Black and Tan Coonhound. ...
  • #6: Pit Bull Mix. Dave Mosher. ...
  • #5: Bluetick Coonhound. Shutterstock. ...
  • #4: Catahoula Leopard Dog. Shutterstock. ...
  • #3: Great Pyrenees. Shutterstock. ...
  • #2: Bloodhound. Shutterstock. ...
  • #1: Anatolian Shepherd. Shutterstock.
Oct 7, 2016

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.

How do I stop my dog from attacking the fence? ›

Install a fence (or modify an existing one) that blocks the dog's visual access to what's on the other side (i.e., a visual barrier) Add an additional barrier between the current fence and the outside world (i.e., a buffer zone) Replace your chain link fence with a wooden or vinyl fence. Keep your dog inside.

What can I use to keep dogs away from my fence? ›

Spray the edge of your yard with a suitable dog repellent

All you need to do is walk the perimeter of your yard and spray the grass as you go. The smell of Nature MACE dog repellent will effectively keep them out without harming them.

What is the best DIY fence for dogs? ›

The hog wire panel fence is a classic when it comes to DIY dog fences. This one requires a lot of materials and tools, but it's super rigid and looks great once you complete the project. It's also easy to build and is reasonably flexible for both irregular and symmetrical yards.

What can I put under my fence so my dog doesn't get out? ›

Bury chicken wire under your fence to make it uncomfortable for your dog to dig. Measure the total length of your fence with a tape measure so you know how much chicken wire to buy. Use a shovel to dig a trench that's 1–2 ft (30–61 cm) deep and 1 ft (30 cm) wide around the bottom of your fence.

How do I keep my dog from running off my property? ›

Although some dogs have a natural tendency to roam, there are many precautions you can take to prevent your furry friend from fleeing.
  1. Spay or neuter your pet.
  2. Build a fence around your yard.
  3. Teach your dog basic commands.
  4. Provide adequate exercise opportunities.
  5. Keep your pet safe from loud noises.

How do I make my backyard safe for my dog? ›

Read on for some amazing backyard ideas for dogs.
  1. Fence Off Key Areas. Even if you're keen to let your dog have as much space as possible, it's good to cordon off sections of your backyard. ...
  2. Replace Hard Surfaces. ...
  3. Add Obstacles. ...
  4. Add a Sandbox. ...
  5. Use Pet-Safe Plants. ...
  6. Add a Water Feature. ...
  7. Add Shade. ...
  8. Change Up the Grass.
Jul 28, 2022

How to block off part of yard for dog? ›

Traditional Fencing

Traditional fences are a great choice to escape-proof your backyard. With various materials and styles available, such as chain link fencing, wooden, vinyl, and steel fencing, homeowners can find the perfect solution to suit their property's look and their pets' needs.

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