You’re enjoying a peaceful afternoon in the backyard with your pooch. Then like an Olympic gymnast, your dog takes a running leap and vaults over the fence. As you dash out the gate after your pup, you wonder Why does this keep happening?! Discover the reasons why – and what to do – about a dog jumping fence in this post!

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Possible reasons for a dog jumping fence

If fence jumping is one of your dog’s favorite sports, you need to address this troublesome issue right away. Lost or escaped dogs are vulnerable to being hit by cars, tangling with wildlife, or being labeled a nuisance by your neighbors. To keep your pet and other people safe, you should figure out why your dog is jumping fences. 

Here are the most common reasons why dogs jump the fence.


Boredom is the number one reason that dogs jump over the boundaries of their enclosure. If your dog doesn’t have enough to do in your yard, they will seek excitement on the other side of the fence. How can you tell if your dog is bored? They may get into the trash, dig in the garden, or make other messes. These are all signals that your pup doesn’t have enough to do.


Loneliness may also contribute to the urge to jump over the fence. Don’t leave your dog unattended in the yard. The moment you leave them alone is when escape artists make their move. 

Mating drive

The mating drive is a powerful instinct in dogs that are not neutered. They may be jumping fences to seek a mate. Talk to your vet about getting your pup neutered if jumping fences is a recurring problem. Learn more about dogs in heat.

Separation anxiety

Separation anxiety may cause your pooch to escape the backyard, especially if they see you on the other side of the fence. 

Prey drive

Strong hunting or protective instincts could prod a dog to leap over a fence. If your dog has fence jumping tendencies, they will not hesitate to scale the fence to chase potential prey like a squirrel, or to run down a possible intruder.

Noise anxiety

Loud noises like fireworks or thunder could startle your dog. In an effort to get away from the noise, they might soar over the fence in a single bound. Read more about noise anxiety in dogs.

Black and white dog looking through fence

Ideas to keep your dog inside the fence 

If your dog jumps the fence due to boredom, pent-up energy, or loneliness, it’s your job as a dog parent to make the necessary changes to their behavior, their daily routine, or to your yard to stop your dog from jumping the fence.

Here are some ideas for keeping your pup active and reducing their urge to escape your fenced-in yard.

Daily exercise

Every dog needs daily exercise in the form of walks, playtime, or training sessions to stay healthy. The amount of exercise your pup needs depends on their breed, age, and energy level. High-energy dog breeds such as border collies need more exercise than low-energy dog breeds like basset hounds.

Find out: How Much Exercise Does A Dog Need?

Take long walks or hikes with your pup. If you can’t fit in a long walk, try several short walks around the neighborhood a few times per day. Mix up your route on occasion to keep the walk interesting and expose your pup to new sights, sounds, and smells. They’ll gain confidence and come home ready for a nap! The bottom line is, if your dog is worn out from a good walk, they won’t have the energy to jump the fence.

If daily dog walks are not possible for you, enlist other family members or friends to help. Agree to take the neighbor’s dog with you a few times a week, then ask them to take your dog a few days a week. (You and your pup may make friends in the process!) If that’s not possible, hire a dog walker to take your pup on a walk at least once per day. 

Frequent play

Try frequent play sessions like tug of war, fetch, or hide and seek in the backyard. Play is both mentally and physically stimulating for your pup, and strengthens the bond between the two of you. Intense 10-minute play sessions once or twice a day will burn excess energy and satisfy your dog’s craving for your attention. 

Mental workout

Include a mentally-stimulating brain workout like a food puzzle, obstacle course, or visit to the dog park in your dog’s daily routine. These challenging activities will keep your dog mentally active and reduce boredom. 

Obedience training

Work on basic obedience training commands like come, sit, and stay. An obedience training session is mentally and physically stimulating for your dog. A few minutes a day of obedience training can really pay off if your dog jumps the fence. A simple “Come!” or recall command can bring your pup right back to your side – you won’t even have to chase them through the neighborhood.  

Create a backyard playground

You can make your backyard a fun place to hang out so your dog won’t get bored and be tempted to jump over the fence. Here are some ideas to create a doggie paradise at home.

Play games and give treats

Playing together is a wonderful bonding activity for you and your pup. Hide treats around the yard and let your dog sniff them out – then eat them, of course. 

woman feeding a dog a treat

Add a sandbox or designated digging pit to direct your dog’s digging instincts to a non-destructive activity. A playpen is another idea for containing your dog during playtime. Or set up an obstacle course, which will teach your pup to follow commands while getting some exercise. 

Make the yard a pleasing retreat

Is your yard hot and sunny in summer, or cold and windy in winter? Create some sheltered areas for your pup to hide from the elements. 

Plant trees and plants

Make your backyard an attractive place where you will enjoy spending time with your dog. Trees, shrubs, and flowers can create a lovely ambiance, especially in summer. Of course, you’ll want to install plenty of other play options in the backyard so that your pup doesn’t dig up the new plants. 

Hang out with your dog in the backyard

One of your dog’s all-time favorite activities is hanging out with you. Indulge your dog’s need for your attention every day for at least a few minutes. Give them a belly rub and an ear scratch as they rest at your feet while you recline in your favorite lawn chair. 

By spending quality time with your dog in the yard, the backyard becomes associated with positive experiences for your pup. Conversely, if your dog is left alone and has nothing to do in the yard, they will associate the backyard with negative experiences – and will be more likely to plan an escape. Check out more tips for creating a dog-friendly backyard.

Woman with two two black and white dogs on the grass with fence around

Get rid of things that might help your dog climb

Dogs are smart and motivated. If your dog is too short to leap over the fence but really wants to escape, they’ll find a way. Your dog might stand on a picnic table, woodpile, rock, or swing set to enable a leap over the fence. To prevent this, move anything that gives your pup a height advantage as far away from the fence as you can. 

How to improve your fencing

If you’ve tried everything and still, your dog keeps jumping the fence, it may be time to alter the existing fence in some way. If you are modifying your existing fence, it’s a good idea to check with your Home Owner’s Association to see if there are rules regarding fencing materials in your neighborhood.

Extend the fence height

Making your fence taller is an obvious way to make it harder for your dog to escape. Some pet parents attach strips of wooden lattice to an existing wooden fence to add another foot or so of height. Adjusting the fence height in this way can be a bit expensive. 

Bamboo rolls

A cheaper option to adding wooden lattice is to add a layer of bamboo rolls or chicken wire along the top of your existing fence. Be sure to attach the bamboo rolls or chicken wire to sturdy uprights to prevent sagging.

Redundant fencing

Let’s say your yard has an existing six-foot-high wooden fence. A redundant fence is installed a few feet inside the main fence. The redundant fence can be three to four feet tall and be made of chain link, bamboo, or wire fencing. This secondary fence prevents your dog from taking a long-running leap to scale the tall fence. With a redundant fence in place, they have to jump over two fences in succession, making it unlikely (but not impossible, of course) that they will be able to scale the tall fence from a standing position.

A redundant dog fence around your entire backyard can be expensive. Consider installing a redundant fence only in the problem area where your dog usually jumps over your existing fence. 

Coyote rollers

A relatively inexpensive DIY option to prevent your dog from leaping over the fence is to install coyote rollers. Originally created to keep coyotes out of people’s yards, coyote rollers can also keep your dog in the yard.

Dogs often grab the top of the fence on their way over, then heave their body up and out. A coyote roller prevents the dog from getting a grip on the top of the fence. Made from PVC pipe that spins on a wire, coyote rollers are an inexpensive solution that could be an option for keeping your dog in the backyard.  

Install a dog peek-a-boo window in your fence

If you have a solid wood existing fence and your dog jumps out to see what’s on the other side, add a peek-a-boo window in the fence. Cut a 12-inch square hole at dog-nose height. Insert a 12-inch square sheet of acrylic into the hole, and frame it in securely. Now your pup can view what’s happening on the other side of the fence, and hopefully won’t be lured over the top. 

Install slats to block the view

If your dog is constantly tempted to chase after squirrels or other dogs that they can see through your chain link fence, install slats to restrict the dog’s view. They’ll be less distracted and will focus more on all the fun activities available inside your backyard. 

Need more inspiration? Check out these 15 Outdoor Dog Fence Ideas.

Tag and track your dog

If you have an escape artist who scales your fence regularly, you want to make certain that your dog can be returned to you. Here are three great ways to ensure you will be reunited with your furry friend, should they run away:

  1. Add a dog ID tag to your dog’s collar.
  2. Get your dog microchipped.
  3. Use a GPS dog tracker to find your dog anytime.

Include your phone number and city on the ID tags and attach them securely to the dog’s collar or harness. Most pet experts recommend to have your pup microchipped as well. The tiny chip is about the size of a grain of rice and is embedded under the skin. The chip must be read by a scanner, usually at a veterinarian’s office or shelter. 

microchip vs GPS tracker for dogs infographic

A GPS tracker attaches to your dog’s collar and allows you to see your dog’s precise location on your smartphone in real-time.  

Keep your dog safe inside your fence

As a pet parent, you want the best for your dog. The most important thing you can do for your dog is to keep them safe. A dog jumping fence might be cute the first time, but each escape puts your dog at risk, not to mention your good reputation among the neighbors. 

By addressing frequent escapes through behavioral training or altering your fence, you are taking the right steps to protect your beloved pup.