A Remedy for Dogs Digging Under the Fence

Jasey Kelly

Digging under a fence is a sign that your dog wants to escape. To combat this behavior, you have several options, but it's best to find out why your dog is wanting to escape first. Possible reasons could include wanting to interact with other dogs in the neighborhood, sensing prey outside of the fence, wanting to dig in mulch or the soil you have around the fence and boredom. Luckily, solutions to the digging are often relatively inexpensive and simple to install and maintain.


Try a few different options for keeping your dog safe inside the fence.
You could also put a rock wall under your fence.

It may sound too simple to work, but placing rocks around the bottom of your fence can prevent your dog from digging while adding aesthetic appeal. You can use either large rocks or landscape rocks, depending on your style. If you choose to place larger rocks (similar in size to a cantaloupe or larger), bury the rocks about halfway in the ground around the base of your fence. If you choose a landscape rock such as pea gravel or other decorative stones, place a fairly thick layer that spreads about 1 foot on both sides of the fence (making a 2-foot-wide layer of rocks).

Extending the Fence

Fences often end slightly off the ground to help prevent rust or decay. The space between the ground and the bottom of the fence teases a dog who is looking to escape. Consider attaching chicken wire to the bottom of your fence and burying it at least 12 inches into the soil. You can also lay chicken wire or chain-link fencing a few inches under the soil in front of your fence.


Thick gardens around your fence line may prevent your dog from digging.

Adding large, mature plants, such as thick ornamental grasses or shrubbery, around your fence line can block your canine from getting close enough to the fence line to dig underneath. This is probably the most expensive method, but it can also add value and aesthetic appeal to your home. Large grasses and shrubs are more expensive than smaller, younger plants; If you choose younger plants you will need to allow time for the plants to mature, although you can plant a screen of plants relatively close together.

Other Methods

There are products commercially available to consumers that promise to keep pets away from certain areas. Although reviews are mixed, many products show promise. One problem with using these type of deterrents is that you'll have to reapply every so often to keep your dogs at bay.

You can also install a low-voltage electric fence wire along the bottom of your fence. One small shock can keep the dog away permanently.

You should try to modify your dog's behavior by training it. Never get angry with a dog who is digging; if the dog is bored or looking for an escape, this may lead the dog to try harder to escape. Instead, provide more stimulation for your dog by providing toys and attention in your yard, or train your dog to stay away from the fence.