Our dog just started digging under the fence. Solutions?

Our dog is about three years old…some facts:

We got him at the no-kill shelter as a puppy. He’s some sort of chow/husky mix, and if you look at his head right, it looks like he has some pit bull too.

We had a chain link fence installed when we bought the house, about seven years ago. Unfortunately, it was not installed correctly and the company has since folded. I have seven year old Confederate jasmine twining through a good portion of the fence, so replacing it really isn’t an option.

My son just went off to college and it’s possible the dog misses him.

The dog is not fixed (we’re going to take care of that in the next week or so)

Our next door neighbor used to have a dog that would climb his side of the fence into our yard to play with our dog but he is no longer around.

Our dog keeps digging under the fence to get out. We’ve done some jury-rigging at the bottom of the fence to keep him in, but we cannot trust him in the back yard alone and must go out with him to make sure he doesn’t slip out again. Once one section is repaired, he finds another. When we find him out and about, he comes to us very readily, like he was just out for a run and is quite happy to see us.

Ivylad did some Googling and thinks our dog is bored. We’re hoping getting him fixed will help, but Ivylad was looking at pictures of puppies and making my daughter squee at the possibility of getting another dog. I don’t really want the headache.

So, how do we stop our dog from digging his way free? Will fixing help, or does he need a playmate?

In our experience (and we have a Siberian Husky), our dog digs more during times when we’re more busy and don’t have time to give her long walks and play with her. In other words, she’s bored, and digging’s fun.

We were also warned when wo got her that Husky’s tend to dig, so it’s also inherent in the breed.

ETA: She’s also fixed, but it didn’t effect the level of digging.

Do you find when you do play with her, she doesn’t dig?

One thing I did at the Humane Society to help with that problem in outdoor runs with improperly installed fencing was to get some concrete and small smooth river stones. Working in batches, put concrete along the fence on the inside, pressing the bottom of the fence into the concrete. If the fence is high up from the ground, this may take more than one application of concrete. Press the fence firmly into the concrete and apply a bit more concrete on top - you want to make sure the fence won’t come loose from the concrete when pressure is applied. You may need to work from both sides of the fence on this part.

While the concrete is still pliable, press the stones into the concrete. This step may not be necessary for you; in shelter situations some dogs will continue to dig even when it is not productive, and the rough concrete would abrade their paws badly. The smooth stones help prevent that.

In the meantime, try putting some of his poop in the holes he’s already dug (after filling it enough so that he can’t get through the hole, of course).

Just a stop-gap measure, if he’s digging constantly, but it is a cheap way to keep him out of his existing holes.

Then again, this might just be a tactic that worked on my pup only. She happens to be repulsed by the smell of her own poop. I am not sure if this is common in dogs or not.

I think a small-animal hotwire around the bottom of the fence will very quickly teach him not to mess with it. But a puppy (or adult companion) is a good idea, too. People think those hotwires are cruel, but I’ve touch my pasture fence more than once, and although you know you got zapped, the owie goes right away. And if it can keep a 1200 lb horse in, it can keep your dog in. all it takes is a time or two and they learn not to got there again.


Could try renting him out at your local penitentiary.

Pretty! We had a chow-German Shepard mix, and he was a wonderful pet, though he didn’t dig, so I’m not sure how much my advice is worth.

The permanent solution would be to extend your fence into the ground for a foot or so, which is probably a giant amount of work. Maybe put a few inches of rocks or gravel in at the fenceline, which would be very difficult to dig through? That’s still probably a lot of work.

I’ve also seen “invisible fence” systems for dogs in which the dog wears a collar that shocks him when he gets too close to a buried wire. Now, those are kind of worthless without a real fence, because many dogs learn that if they run quickly over the wire it only hurts for a moment, but if you ran the wire along the bottom of the fence, he’d have to be in close proximity to the wire (and the shock) for at least a minute to dig out, and so he might not do it.

You can run a “hotwire” (electric fence zapper) for less than $100, and a couple of hours. I did this when I moved into my current house, which has a big back yard and lots of chainlink. The previous owners had a dog that dug, and there were holes all over the place. One “zap” was all it took to keep my dog away from the fence. As a side benefit, it stopped her from doing that aggressive barking and running back and forth at every dog that walked by.

I had to put an invisible fence system in my yard. I have a fence, but the dogs kept finding ways through it (a lot like the OP). I ran the wire along the top of the fence, which was just easiest and best for aesthetic reasons. You can set the range pretty easily (just a dial on the controller) so it’s fairly easy to adjust it all the way down to the ground without going too far into the inside of the yard.

Training didn’t go anywhere near as smoothly as they advertise with the system, but once the dogs figured it out the thing works very well. The only problems I have now is when the wire breaks or the batteries in the collars run dead.

I know a few other people with invisible fence systems. Theirs are all buried. When the system worked, they never had problems with their dogs escaping, but their dogs aren’t quite as stubborn and stupid as mine. They have had occasional problems with the wire breaking underground, which is a royal pain in the backside to find a fix.

I stopped a Lab from digging by laying chicken wire on the ground along the fence. I wired the chicken wire to the chain link so the pooch couldn’t get between the two. Lawn grew up through the chicken wire, hiding it. I needed about a two-foot-wide stretch the length of the fence. It was a pain in the butt and took most of a day to put down, but it stopped the digging.

As an alternative, a rock border about a foot or more wide along the fence will do the same thing. Make sure the rocks are big enough, though – egg-size should do it.

We put nice long scrap PVC pipes about 2 inches underground along the fence. There isn’t enough room for the dog to go between the fence and pipe. And he really has to dig to get under the pipe totally. and It leaves it not looking like a Maximum security prison cause It’s invisible.