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Every year, hundreds of dogs wind up lost, injured, or killed, after escaping from their own backyards. In many cases, the dog is euthanized after escaping the confines of a yard and landing unclaimed in a shelter that is full.
Beyond making sure your dogs are always wearing properly fitted collars with up-to-date identification tags and are microchipped, there are many different things you can do to keep your pet safely contained.
Countless dogs end up slipping out a front door or through an unsecured gate because members of their own family grow careless. This can be avoided by keeping your fence gate padlocked. Additionally, padlocking your gate will prevent pets from escaping during routine visits from service technicians, like meter readers, pool cleaners, or landscapers.
2. Change or Repair Your Fencing
There are many different fencing materials you can use to make your yard more secure. Some of the more popular include block walls, chain link or wood fencing. Be sure to install fencing that’s tall enough to prevent your dog from jumping over and, if your dog is an excellent climber, chain link might not be your best option. Also remember to inspect your fence often and make repairs as necessary.
3. Increase or Eliminate View
Oftentimes dogs grow stressed if they can hear or smell, but not see, what is causing the noise near their fence. If you have a lot of foot traffic or activity in your neighborhood, it may be helpful if you provide a way for your dog to see what’s going on. This can be done through clever window portholes that allow your dog to safely see what’s happening on the other side of your fence. If you have a wooden or block fencing structure, this may be just what the veterinarian ordered.
On the other hand, you may want to block the view to the street. This is especially true if you currently have a chain link fencing structure. Your dog may just need a little privacy to calm down.
4. Coyote Rollers
Dogs who jump even the tallest of fences may need some additional motivation to stay in their yard. This is where coyote rollers come into play. Coyote rollers can be constructed from a kit or you can make your own using large PVC pipe and a wire cables. The design is structured to keep your pets from grabbing the top of the fence and pulling themselves over. Instead, they “roll” back into the yard.
5. Invisible Fencing
Sometimes the best defense against escape is actually invisible. Invisible fencing can either be used on its own, or as a second layer of protection against a “hairy Houdini” that somehow always manages to escape. While these fences are controversial due to delivering a mild electric shock to the dog if they try to escape, for many pet parents, they’re a lifesaver. Be very careful using electric fencing, however, as some dogs may exit the yard, feel the shock, and be afraid to come back into the yard for fear of it happening again. Follow training and usage instructions exactly.
If your dog has learned to escape by digging his way out beneath the fence, you should consider installing footers to your fence line. This is generally a line of concrete poured along the inside of the fence during installation to increase sturdiness. However, you can create your own effective footers by burying cinder blocks, chicken wire, or bricks beneath the fence, thwarting any efforts to escape.
7. Kennel or Dog Run
If you’ve tried everything above and still have an escapee on your hands, you may want to consider a covered kennel or dog run outdoors. The best kennels or runs are a heavy gauge chain link and include a cover made from the same material. Install a shade cloth to ensure they always have access to the shade if they need it.
In addition to these 7 tips and tricks to prevent your dog from escaping, training your dog to stay away from the fence and come when called are important. Consult a trainer or behaviorist if your dog continues to escape despite your best efforts.