Our canine companions are adorable, lovable, and chock full of boundless energy. Dogs love to play, dig, jump, fetch, and roll over whenever they have the chance. As much as we love them, some dog antics can cause pup owners some consternation.
Take, for instance, jumping. Dogs are great jumpers, capable of scaling and mounting fences and other upright surfaces. Now imagine if you have a tall fence that is supposed to protect your dog and keep him contained, and yet, somehow, he manages to leap over it in a single bound.
Why do dogs jump over fences? More importantly, how can you prevent your dog from doing so in the first place? In this article, we’ll cover why dogs might jump as well as some tips and tricks dog owners can use to stop.
Why Dogs Jump and How to Address These Causes
Dogs jump for a number of reasons:
- They’re bored or socially isolated
- They’re searching for a mate or a friend
- They’re afraid of or trying to protect your property from something
- They’re trying to catch something outside the fence
- They’re not happy to be apart from you
1. Boredom and Social Isolation
Your dog might jump a fence due to a lack of stimulation, either from toys or other dogs. Dogs are inherently social and active animals. Boredom or lack of socialization can often spell trouble. Much like digging, dogs might jump a fence if they become bored.
Boredom can occur for a couple of reasons. Maybe they lack any toys to play with, throw around, or chase. Or, they might come from a highly active breed that enjoys hunting or working like border collies, beagles, or terriers. If they’re not stimulated enough, they might jump to alleviate their boredom.
Or, your dog might be lonely. If you just let your dog into the yard and don’t interact with them, they might become frustrated, especially if they are the only dog in your household. Dogs crave interaction, and jumping gives them something to do.
If you suspect your dog jumps due to boredom or social isolation, there are a few things you can do.
Play with your dog! Throw a frisbee, have them fetch a stick, or even simply run around the yard with them. After all, you’re the center of your pup’s world – make sure they know they’re the center of yours!
Also, exercise with your dog by walking or taking them to their favorite dog park to meet new puppy (and human) friends! This will help them feel less isolated.
In general, try to spend as much time with your dog as possible. This will not only increase your bond, it also will lessen the chance they’ll leap your fence like a kangaroo!
2. Searching for Companionship
Dogs are instinctual pack animals. They crave socialization with other animals or humans. If you notice your dog turns highly active when other dogs are in sight, it might be because they’re looking to make a friend. Or, especially with unneutered male dogs, a passing female dog may be in heat, and they’re looking for a mate.
As with dogs who are bored or lonely, try to spend as much time with them as possible. Go on walks, take them to a dog park, make friends with other dog owners, or, if feasible, consider finding them another animal companion.
If your dog isn’t fixed, keeping them from climbing a fence can help ensure that the puppy population in animal shelters is manageable. Or, consider getting your dog spayed or neutered.
3. Fear and Protection
Dogs will often react if they encounter frightening stimuli such as loud vehicles, people, fireworks, or construction. Your dog might either dig or jump the fence to create distance between them and whatever frightens them. Or, they might be trying to protect your property from intruders.
As much as possible, try to isolate your dog from the source of their anxiety. You can do this by either keeping them indoors or give them a safe space where they can withdraw. This can include a dog house, a sheltered corner of the yard, or something similar.
You might also be able to desensitize your dog to what frightens them. You can work with your vet to find an anti-anxiety medication that would work. Or, you can work with a professional trainer for behavior modification.
If your dog tries to go after something they consider threatening, try to move them to a corner of your yard to desensitize them. Or, you can also bring them inside. Again, this is something that could require training to help them overcome these issues.
4. The Hunt
Dogs are predators. This means they’re wired to hunt animals they consider prey, whether they’re squirrels, rabbits, birds, or other small critters. Some dogs retain this instinct further if they’re specifically bred for hunting.
Given that this nature is inherent to some dogs, it can be hard to eliminate this behavior. However, you can try to reduce it by removing bird and squirrel feeders from the lower branches of your trees. You can also try to acclimate your dog to smaller creatures.
5. Separation Anxiety
As mentioned above, dogs are social creatures. If you are your dog’s only form of socialization, then your departure might make them anxious. They might try to jump a fence in order to be with you.
Your dog might show some signs of separation anxiety if they “cling” to you when you’re around, try to escape when you leave, and they stay close to home if they do manage to escape.
Fortunately, separation anxiety can usually be alleviated through training and conditioning techniques.
Ways to Stop Your Dog from Jumping a Fence
Dealing with a dog that jumps fences can be frustrating, especially if this happens all the time. There are some methods you can try to reduce the occurrence or prevent your dog from jumping.
1. Give your dogs attention
Dogs often jump fences if they’re bored or if left alone for long periods of time. This stems from their innate need for companionship since they’re social animals. Interacting with your dogs through scritches, treats, playing, exercise, and other methods will make both you and your dog happy.
It’s easily tempting to keep your dog alone in your backyard to entertain himself while you are otherwise occupied. It’s okay to leave your dog alone for a short duration outside. Supervise them if you plan on keeping them outside for longer periods.
2. Jump-proof your fence
Jump-proofing your fence is an economical and easy way to keep your existing fence intact while still managing to keep them from jumping. There are a few different ways that you can jump-proof your fence through landscaping or barriers.
Landscaping can also help. Bushes, rocks, and other landscaping can form a barrier between the fence and your escape artist. Be careful, however, not to create a ladder or step-stool they can use to jump up easier!
Finally, you can try adding a PVC pipe to the top of your fence. This creates a slippery, rolling surface where your dog is unable to get a grip with either his teeth or paws. They’ll jump and slide right off.
3. Consider electric fencing
Electric fencing comes in as a safe and effective method of preventing of containing your dogs. Electric fences sit above or below ground and utilize an electric current to “shock” your dog through a series of gentle shocks, vibrations, or noise to condition your dog against escape.
The fencing is combined with a collar that communicates with the electrical receiver. These work well for any size yard. In some cases, you can also use these indoors.
4. Make your fence sturdier with a barrier
If your dog wants to chase everything in sight and jumps to escape, blocking his view can be an effective maneuver to remove the stimuli. Barriers combine with your existing fence to reduce visibility.
Barriers are easy to install and come in a variety of materials. They usually come in a roll so you can easily unroll and zip tie them to reinforce your fencing. Choose from plastic, bamboo, or wooden barriers among others.
5. Install a dog run
Dogs deserve places to run so why not give them one? Dog runs are large dog pens that contain your dog within an area. Generally constructed of chain link, a dog run accommodates everything your dog might need including shelter, food, water, and toys. Many are fully configurable to suit yards of any shape and size.
We all know dogs are adorable bundles of energy. But that doesn’t mean their jumping antics aren’t annoying. A dog that consistently jumps out of the yard can put themselves and others in danger.
In this article, however, we addressed some of the causes of jumping as well as providing some practical tips and tricks for ensuring your dog remains in the yard. We wish you the best of luck!