Once Boomer successfully escapes from the yard, he's likely to continue this undesired and potentially dangerous behavior. Exploring his surroundings beyond the yard, chasing teasing squirrels or cats, and getting that often desired social interaction, is rewarding and reinforces his behavior. To avoid having to deal with an escape artist dog, reinforce your fence before allowing your furry pal in the yard.
Chicken Wire to the Rescue
A chicken-wire extension attached to the bottom of your fence can effectively deter Boomer from digging his way out of the yard. Ensure that the wire patches up any gaps at the bottom of the fence and bury it vertically, about 1 foot deep into the soil. When Boomer starts digging, he'll encounter the chicken wire, which will discourage him and make him realize there's no way out. You can also bend the bottom of chicken wire inward so it lies horizontally and prevents Boomer from digging deeper.
Blocking All Access
If Boomer can't get near the fence, he won't be able to dig underneath it to escape. Heavy rocks, decorative boulders or gravel can offer a solution. Lay or spread these along the bottom of the fence to block Boomer's access and to discourage him from digging. You can use this blocking method on its own, or as extra reinforcement to the chicken wire. Also, eliminate any gaps in your wooden fence so Boomer can see through them; board them up, because visuals might entice him to escape even more.
Invisible Effective Fencing
If you have a large yard, an invisible fence can be an economical option to prevent your small pet companion from escaping. After installing an invisible fence, flags are placed along the perimeter of the off-limits area. A receiver collar is placed on your dog, and the fence is turned on when he goes in the yard. When your furry pal crosses the invisible border, the collar will beep as a warning sign that an unpleasant punishment shock is about to follow. This gives your dog time to back away from the fence without getting shocked. By training your dog beforehand, you can teach him to run to the "safe zone" at the sound of the warning beep.
Correcting the Problem
Dogs who attempt to escape can be motivated by various factors, and although reinforcing the fence is beneficial, getting to the source of the problem can most likely enhance your dog's quality of life. His behavior might be triggered by fear, loneliness, or boredom. You might need to increase his exercise, spend more time with him, and provide different toys for him to play with while he's in the yard. You want his experience in the yard to always be pleasant. Also, if your dog is intact, consider having him fixed, since intact dogs are more likely to escape and roam to look for a mate.
Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.