Dealing With Your Fence Jumping Dog
By Dan Stevens
Some dogs are very good fence jumpers, even if they are quite short. Take the Jack Russell terrier as an example. While this breed is adorable and very bright, they are incredible jumpers. Now, you don’t typically see a dog sail right over the top of a fence (though it does happen) but you do see them use everything they’ve got to scamper, climb, and crawl up and over.
Fence jumping is frustrating from the perspective of trying to keep the dog in the yard but this behavior also poses a risk to the dog. For example, if your particular fence had any type of spike or pointed area on top, your pet’s collar could become stuck, resulting in strangulation. Therefore, if you have any pet that loves to jump fences, you need to do something to correct the problem.
The perfect scenario would be having a puppy that you can train from the day you bring him home. However, even if you have an older dog, successful training is possible. The thing with dogs is that once they get over the fence, they quickly gain a burst of self-confidence and power that comes from the freedom of being out of the yard. To him, getting over the fence is merely a way of exploring or chasing critters beyond the normal barriers. To you, fence jumping is annoying and potentially dangerous to your pet.
In most cases, a dog will begin to jump fences because he sees another animal on the other side, he spots a person that appears to be friendly, or he is simply bored. Identifying the reason your dog is jumping the fence will help you determine the best course of action for fixing the problem. For instance, if your pet sees another animal or person, you may need to invest in a higher or different type of fence. Now, if you are home where you can work with him on an on-going basis, you have other options but for most people, this is a challenge. If your pet is bored, you could spend quality time playing with him outside, purchase new toys, or even consider adding another dog to the mix.
Another possible connection for fence jumping is the male dog looking for females, especially when they pick up the scent of her being in heat. In this case, it would help tremendously to have your male neutered. In addition to this, you will need to keep a close eye on him, possibly securing him to a long lead. This way, he can have the run of the yard while the lead controls just how close to the fence he can get. Most people find this option a good one.
In all cases, make sure your dog is getting plenty of exercise, as this is the root of most behavior problems. Most people under-estimate. Consider a 15 to 20 minute walk, fetch session, or playtime an absolute minimum. Beyond the puppy stage, most dogs will function – and behave – best with about and hour and a half of physical activity each and every single day.
About the Author: Daniel Stevens is the renowned dog trainer and author of SitStayFetch: Dog Training To Stop Your Dog’s Behavior Problems (http://www.kingdomofpets.com/dogobediencetraining/), one of the leading dog training guides on the market today selling over 21,000 copies (and counting).