How to Prevent a Dog from Digging Under the Fence?

March 22, 2024

Dogs are delightful companions, but they can sometimes exhibit behaviors that are less than ideal. One such behavior is digging under the fence in your yard. This behavior can cause damage to your property, pose a risk to your dog, and can also be a source of frustration. This article will delve into why dogs engage in this behavior and provide practical strategies to keep your dog from digging under your yard fence.

Understanding Why Dogs Dig

Before we get to the solutions, it’s crucial to understand why your dog might be digging under your fence in the first place. By identifying the root cause of this behavior, you can tailor your strategies to effectively address your dog’s needs.

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Dogs may dig for a variety of reasons. It could be due to boredom, a desire to escape, the presence of small animals in the yard, or even the instinctive behavior inherited from their ancestry. Understanding the specific reason for your dog’s behavior is the first step towards implementing effective preventative measures.

Providing Distractions and Alternatives

One of the simplest ways to keep your dog from digging under the fence is to provide them with distractions and alternatives. This can be particularly effective if the underlying cause of the digging behavior is boredom.

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Engaging toys, puzzle feeders, or even a digging pit can serve as excellent distractions. A digging pit is a designated area in your yard where your dog is allowed to dig. This can be a simple sandpit filled with toys and treats. By providing a place where it’s okay to dig, you can redirect the behavior away from the fence.

Training and Behavior Modification

Training and behavior modification can also be effective ways to prevent your dog from digging under the fence. This requires consistent effort and patience, but the results can be rewarding.

For instance, you can teach your dog the "leave it" command. This command is often used to stop dogs from engaging in unwanted behaviors. If you see your dog start to dig, you can issue the command. Over time, your dog will learn that digging is an unwanted behavior.

Installing a Dig-Proof Fence or Barrier

Another strategy is to make physical modifications to your fence. One such modification is installing a dig-proof fence or barrier.

A popular choice is a wired fence or a chicken wire at the bottom of the fence. The wire can be buried a few inches into the ground and then bent in an L-shape facing the yard. This creates a physical barrier that most dogs will find difficult to dig through.

Another option is to install a concrete or brick footer. This involves digging a trench along the fence line and filling it with concrete or bricks. This creates a solid barrier that deters even the most determined diggers.

Using Dog-Proofing Products

Finally, there are various dog-proofing products available on the market designed to keep dogs from digging under fences. Many of these products work by creating an uncomfortable surface that dogs dislike walking or digging on.

A good example is a fence or yard proofer. These products often come with stakes that are driven into the ground along the fence line. The stakes are connected to a durable wire or mesh material that extends into the yard. This creates a physical barrier that dogs cannot easily dig through.

Each of these strategies offers a different approach to the same problem, and the best one for you will depend on your specific situation and dog’s behavior. What’s important is that you act consistently and patiently. Remember, it’s not just about protecting your yard, but also ensuring your dog’s safety and wellbeing.

Remember, the goal isn’t to punish your dog for digging, but to redirect their energy towards more appropriate behaviors or to make digging under the fence impossible or less appealing. By understanding your dog, providing them with alternatives, training them, modifying your fence, or using dog-proofer products, you can effectively prevent your dog from digging under the fence.

Introducing a Digging Zone

In some cases, you might find it beneficial to channel your dog’s natural instinct to dig rather than trying to curb it altogether. Creating a digging zone is another excellent strategy to keep your dog from digging under the fence. This method involves designating a specific area in your yard where your dog is allowed to dig freely.

To create an enticing digging zone, select a section of your yard that is away from the fence. This can be a boxed area filled with loose soil, sand, or mulch. Make sure it’s spacious enough for your dog to move around comfortably. Burying their favorite toys or treats can motivate them to dig in this area instead of near the fence.

Over time, your dog will associate this zone with the joy of digging and is likely to prefer this spot over others. Remember to praise your dog when it digs in the designated area to reinforce this positive behavior. Regularly adding new toys or treats to the digging zone can keep the area interesting for your dog.

However, it’s essential to monitor their digging habits. If they begin to show interest in digging elsewhere, gently redirect them back to the designated zone. Consistency is key here, and with time and patience, your dog will understand the rules.

Hiring a Professional Dog Trainer

If you’ve tried the above strategies and your dog continues to dig under the fence, it may be time to consider seeking help from a professional dog trainer. They have the skills and experience to understand why your dog is exhibiting this behavior and can provide personalized strategies to resolve it.

Professional trainers use a variety of techniques to address behavior issues. They can teach your dog commands that discourage digging and can also provide advice on how to keep your dog mentally stimulated to prevent boredom.

Additionally, a trainer can help establish routines and provide a structured environment that can be beneficial in managing your dog’s behavior. This option might be especially useful if your dog’s digging is caused by anxiety or if they’re trying to escape.

Keep in mind that hiring a trainer is an investment. However, the benefit of having a well-behaved and happy dog who respects the boundaries of your yard can far outweigh the cost.


Preventing a dog from digging under a fence can indeed be a challenging task, but it’s not impossible. Understanding why dogs dig is the first step towards finding an effective solution. Whether it’s providing distractions, modifying your fence, introducing a digging zone, or hiring a professional dog trainer, there are several strategies to address this issue.

Above all, remember that patience, consistency, and understanding are key in this process. With these factors in play, you can protect your yard, ensure your dog’s safety, and maintain a harmonious coexistence with your delightful companion.