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? ›

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.

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.

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

Reinforcing the base of the fence with additional materials such as chicken wire or landscape fabric can also be effective in preventing small dogs from digging under it. You can use the wire to create a DIY footer along the entire fence perimeter or only in problem areas.

What will keep dogs away from a fence? ›

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 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 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.

How to stop a dog from escaping a fence? ›

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. This creates a block that your dog cannot tunnel through.

How to stop a dog from destroying a fence? ›

Use slats to block their curiosity

This also has the added benefit of blocking all of the visual stimulations your dog might see. Solid fences, such as wooden privacy fences, also do the trick. They'll be less likely to dig to try and protect you from that friendly grandma passing by your home.

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 to stop a dog from jumping a fence? ›

Increasing the fence height: A simple yet effective way to stop your dog from jumping over the fence is to make it taller. Adding a few more feet can create a physical barrier that's difficult for your dog to overcome.

How to train a dog not to leave the yard? ›

Make the yard their happy place.

Rotate your dog's toys to keep them interested. Don't leave dogs alone out there for long periods of time or any time when you can't supervise them. The very best way to keep them in the yard is to be there with them. Play fetch, brush them, have training time, or just hang out.

How to keep dogs from fighting through 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 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 repels dogs from the yard? ›

Coffee grounds – There are several ways to use coffee-grounds in gardens, one of which is Sprinkling coffee grounds around your garden to repel dogs with the robust and bitter fragrance. Baking soda – Mix a cup of baking soda with a gallon of water and spray on areas where dogs are urinating.

How do I fix my fence so my dog doesn't get out? ›

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.

How to build a fence on a budget? ›

If you can find a good source of free pallets, a DIY wood pallet fence can be one of the cheapest options for a privacy fence. Pallets come in a few sizes, but the most common standard dimension is 48 inches by 40 inches, which means it can be on the short side for a fence.

How can I keep my 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 is the cheapest fencing right now? ›

PVC fencing. The cheapest way to create a fence for your home is by getting one made from PVC. Such fences substitute wooden pickets and stakes to offer your protection from the outside world. PVC sleeves improve the stability of wooden posts used as a fence, reducing the cost of material and the labor used.


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