6 Easy Ways to Stop Your Dog from Digging Under a Fence

Is your dog proving to be quite the escape artist and likes to dig under the fence to explore the neighborhood? Learn why your dog digs and how you can discourage him from doing it in the future.

Why Dogs Dig under Fences

The best way to discourage your dog from digging in the future is to have an understanding of why he is doing it in the first place. First off, it’s important to understand that digging is part of a dog’s natural behavior so it’s unfair to prevent them from doing it at all.

1. Your Dog is Bored
Are you giving your dog enough exercise both physically and mentally? Your dog might be digging under the fence because he’s bored and he is willing to go pass any obstacle to have the opportunity to explore the outside world. A dog that’s given plenty of exercise won’t feel the same urge.

Make sure your dog is being given an appropriate amount of exercise in accordance to his breed profile. For example, golden retrievers are large balls of energy so they’ll need at minimum a solid hour of exercise per day if you don’t want them to engage in an undesirable behavior.

2. Something Caught Your Dog’s Attention
Something or someone beyond the fence is catching your dog’s attention. It could be something as innocent as a squirrel or something that your dog perceives as an incoming threat to his territory.

Spend some time observing your dog’s behavior when he spends time in the backyard. Setting up an outdoor camera may also help you identify the thing that is triggering your dog to dig under the fence (please check your state’s camera surveillance law before you do this).

3. Marking his Territory
While small, there is also a possibility that digging is a way for your dog to mark his territory, especially if neighborhood dogs regularly pass by the fence. It’s a fairly common behavior for dogs to kick the ground after they urinate or defecate.

Stopping a Dog from Digging under the Fence

Here are certain steps you can take to discourage your dog from digging in the future.

Chicken Wire along the Fence

1. Talk with Your Neighbor
In some cases, it’s not your dog that’s the problem. It could be your neighbor’s. Reach out to them directly and determine how you can resolve the issue of the dogs digging a shared fence. Try and document as much of the communication as possible in case there are legal repercussions down the road.

2. Lay Chicken Wire along the Fence
This is an affordable solution that doesn’t require too much labor. Dig a shallow trench along the inside of the fence then place the chicken wire inside it. Some dogs may stop digging because they can’t tolerate the feeling of the chicken wire on their paws.

3. Cover Existing Holes with Brick
Has your dog already created a few holes underneath the fence? Fill it with bricks or cinder blocks. Your dog will just create the same hole again if you cover it with the same dirt the dog just dug out.

4. Offer an Alternative Digging Spot
Create a space in an isolated corner of the yard where your dog is free to dig and fulfill his natural instincts. You could create your own inexpensive digging pit by filling a kiddie pool with sand and dead grass. Make sure you poke a few holes on the bottom of the kiddie pool so water can easily drain out.

5. Apply Red Pepper Powder
Sprinkle a generous amount of red pepper powder along the perimeter of the fence. Re-apply the pepper powder once every two or three weeks. Your dog will want to stay away from the fence once he gets a good sniff of the powder.

6. Bury Some Dog Poop
Don’t throw away the dog poop! Bury some of it along the perimeter of the fence. You can also fill existing holes with dog poop before they are re-filled with dirt. Dogs just don’t like to dig up their own feces.

Types of Dog Fences

In some situations, you may need to replace your existing fence with another fence that’s taller, sturdier, or deeper into the ground. Here are the most common types of fences that dog owners deal with.

Invisible Dog Fences
Also known as underground fences or electric fences, invisible dog fences are essentially cables that are installed underground along the boundary of the yard.

When a dog gets too close to the boundary, the invisible fence collar the dog wears will deliver a warning sound or a tiny electric shock to deter the dog from going beyond the yard. You may need to train your dog for invisible fences to work effectively.

Chain-Link Dog Fences
Chain-link fences are affordable and easy to install. They, however, aren’t suitable for homeowners with large dogs or dogs that love to climb or dig frequently. Some people have had success dog-proofing their chain-link fences by burying chicken-wire along the base of the fence.

Wooden Dog Fences
The cost and durability of wooden faces will vary based on the type of wood the fence is made of. Certain types of wood may provide additional benefits (e.g. cedar may help repel pests like ticks).

Disclaimer: The content on MyPetChild.com is for informational purpose only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian when in doubt.
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  1. Char March 27, 2020 at 11:54 am

    My dog just licked the chili pepper from the whole perimeter of our yard.

  2. MJB June 14, 2021 at 7:09 pm

    I have a chain link fence. I tried filling in the holes under the fence and that did not work. My dog kept crawling under the fence into my neighbor’s yard. He has moles/gophers/groundhogs (whatever they are called, I’ve never seen them) and they contribute to the holes under the fence. I tried the chicken wire, but that seems to be lifted up/torn up. I am tying the fence down to the ground and using heavy duty stakes to keep the fence touching the ground. Hopefully my dog or the moles/gophers/groundhogs don’t ruin my work and make it easier for my dog to dig under the fence.

  3. April October 1, 2021 at 5:34 am

    We have taken Welded Wire Fence that’s 4′ tall and pressed a fold in it length wise at 1′. We then fastened the 1′ part to wooden fence with a staple gun, and to chain-link fence with zip ties. With the 3′ section laying on the ground parallel to the fence we used inexpensive metal tent stakes sporadically along the ground (pushing them the whole way into the ground so that both sides of the steak are buried in dirt). The grass will then grow thru the mesh and within a mos. you no longer see the metal on the ground. Dogs can’t dig close to the fence, and if they start at the inside of the mesh then they’d have to dig 3′ go get under the fence.

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