7 Proven Ways to Stop Your Dog from Digging Under Fences

Kenneth Wilson

Dogs dig under fences for a variety of reasons. Some are chasing small animals, some want to chase cars, or they may be bored. Whatever the reason is, dog owners often find themselves frustrated at how difficult it is to stop their dog from digging under fences. Luckily enough there are many different solutions that have been proven to work! In this article, we will share some ways you can use to stop your dog from digging under fences and prevent them from destroying your yard in the process!

Why do dogs dig holes under fences?

Dogs dig holes under fences because it's simply in their nature. It's instinctual for dogs to find new places to live, whether that's across the street or through the hole they just dug.

A dog who spends any of its time outdoors will be exposed not only to other potential predators, but also flowers and shrubs which serve as alternate sources of food.

In order to survive outside and still stay near their home territory, dogs learn that adapting means changing dwellings.

Digging a hole under some arbitrary fence starts with one paw inside and then moves the rest of his body off balance so he tips out on the other side.

Either way, you slice it, a dog digging a hole is bound to find something really cool (probably some really tasty) on the other side.

While dogs will often dig in their own backyards, it is important to note that this behavior can also be symptomatic of a psychological issue, including but not limited to:

  • Anxiety

  • Needing attention

  • Hiding something

  • Boredom

  • Nesting, especially pregnant dogs

  • Hunting

Ways To Prevent Your Dogs From Digging

1. Make Your Fence Taller

Dogs can jump over fences that are as low as three feet. The taller the fence, the less likely your dog will be able to dig under it.

If you have a short or low fence and don't want to get rid of it for some reason, then placing rocks at its base is one possible solution. However, this takes up space in your yard and can make things more difficult when trying to walk your dog on a leash.

You could also cut off any branches that hang over the top of the fence so they're out of reach for digging dogs, this works best if there's not much grass underneath those branches though!

2. Install An Electric Wire 

You can find electric fences at most hardware stores, and they come in different heights to fit your needs. Some are even designed for dogs that have a tendency to dig holes under the fence.

They're easy to install - just loop it between two posts on either side of your yard! Make sure you buy an extension cord long enough so the wire is taut when stretched across the ground. You'll need about 50 feet per row if using 12 volts.

This solution comes with some risks though, not only does an electric fence increase your dog's risk of getting shocked or seriously injured from direct contact with it, but these products require regular maintenance.

3. Use Chicken Wire At The Bottom Of Your Fence 

This is a good solution for people who are worried about their dog jumping over fences or those with very large yards that don't want to spend money on an electric fence. You'll need the chicken wire and some stakes (which you can find at most hardware stores), then just attach it to your existing fence posts so that any hole dug will be met with this barrier instead of an open lawn!

This won't protect against digging dogs from coming underneath the bottom of your fence entirely, but if they're already inside your yard digging in one spot and go under it - there's a chance they might get stuck before getting out again.

The trade-off here is slightly less protection versus reduced cost; whether or not you want to take the risk on your dog's safety is up to you!

4. Train Your Dog To Stay Off

Place a mat on top of the ground where you want your dog to stay, and train them to stay off it by using a command such as "off" or "stay."

If they don't obey, give them a firm correction with something like "no" or "eh-eh!" This is a good solution if your dog has just started digging in the past few days and you don't want to install an electric fence.

It's also great for dogs that are not too aggressive or stubborn, but who simply need more supervised time outside of their yard where they can explore freely without getting into things they shouldn't.

This method might take some extra work depending on how strong-minded your dog is - it may require repeated training sessions with them over several months before they'll obey this command consistently. That being said, it will be worth it as soon as you start seeing results!

The downside to this option is that when used alone, there's nothing stopping your dog from jumping out of the way once he's outside of the boundary you've set for him.

In addition, dogs that are very stubborn or disobedient may become more defensive and aggressive as they learn they can push your boundaries by digging under them with no consequence.

If this is a concern then it's best to combine methods like using an electric fence or chicken wire at the bottom of your fence.

5. Keep Their Toys Close By 

Place their toys under a fence to keep them contained. Also, by placing the toy on the inside of the yard you're preventing it from being stolen or broken!

Be sure that your dog has plenty of things they can do within an enclosure so there's no need for them to dig around looking for something interesting.

Provide another activity outside such as fetching balls and throwing sticks, this will make it more likely that when they start digging, you'll be able to pull out your stick/ball and get ready to throw instead.

This is important because if you don't have anything fun planned then your dog may continue digging while frustrated until nothing else seems appealing.

6. Create A Barrier Using Rocks Or Other Material 

Place rocks or other material at least one foot deep around the perimeter of your yard. This will prevent your dog from being able to dig underneath because while he is doing so, he will be pushing dirt inwards rather than outwards.

Fill a metal trash can with concrete and place it upside down as close to where you want the barrier to start as possible without interfering with any structures like walkways or dog houses.

The edges should rest on top of soil that's been pushed up by previous digs and this will create a natural boundary for them when they try again in future weeks or months.

7. Give Them Plenty Of Daily Exercise 

Provide dogs with plenty of exercises every day to wear them out. If they are always active during the day, then sleeping should come naturally and easily at night time. Dogs may dig under fences when they have nothing else to do so make sure that your dog has a chance to burn off some energy outside each day!

How to Stop Neighbor Dogs from Digging Under the Fence?

If you don't have a dog of your own, but live near someone who does - it's still possible for their dig-happy pet to cost you money and trouble. What if they start digging in your garden or backyard?

This is even more likely when the fence between them doesn't exist! But as with any problem we face today there are always solutions that can be found; no matter how complicated the solution may seem at first glance.

In this case, electric fencing might work well because it will keep both dogs out of each other's yards while also preventing anything from getting too close to either side of the property line due to its boundary wire (which produces an unpleasant sensation on contact).

This is especially true if one dog is just starting to dig again and the other is well established in this habit.

It's not an ideal solution for everyone, but it might be worth considering if you're struggling with a neighbor dog that digs under fences or one who has never done so before!

Either way, there are plenty of alternatives out there waiting for your consideration - such as building a tall wooden fence between them instead.

Final Thoughts

It’s important to know what your dog is digging for before you try and fix the problem.

You may find that a simple change in routine or environment can stop them from going under fences if they are bored, anxious, or excited about something on the other side of the fence.

Ask yourself these questions when trying to determine why your dog digs under fences and what needs fixing: Is my pet bored? Does he have too much energy because I don't give him enough exercise? Does she want more attention than I am giving her?

Am I not paying close enough attention to his warning signals like scratching at doors and whining at night?

If this doesn't work, consult with a professional trainer who understands why dogs dig under fences so they can help you and your pet find a solution.

Kenneth Wilson
August 6, 2021
Exterior, Ideas & Inspiration, Yard & Garden

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

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