How to Keep Your Dog From Running Out of the Yard

Running Dog in the backyard

Our dogs loving exploring the outdoors with their noses, and sometimes their curiosity get the best of them and they get out of the yard to explore your neighbourhood.

When your dog escapes your backyard it can be dangerous for your dog as there are a lot of things out there that can hurt them.

As a dog owner you want to make sure you do everything you can to keep them safe and happy, so they live a very long life with you. To keep your dog safe and in the yard, there are a few things you can do.

Why Dogs Escapes Your Backyard

In order to prevent your dog from making a run for it every time they go outside, it’s important to understand exactly what is encouraging them to leave the comfort and familiarity of their own backyard.

A Good Smelling Treasure

Depending on the breed of dog you have, you might find your dog explores a lot with their nose. If they smell something good on the other side of the fence they might follow their nose in any way they can to get to the treasure.

A New Friend

If you live in a neighbourhood where there’s a lot of foot traffic then your dog might see lots of people walking their dog down the street. Seeing another dog might entice your dog to want to go and meet the dog, so they do everything they can to get out of the backyard and see their new friend.

Dogs romp in the yard

A Small Animal

If your dog has a high prey drive (and many dogs do) they might see a small animal on the other side of the fence and try to jump the fence, or dig under it, to get to the animal.

A Big Field to Run In

Some dogs just want to run, and your backyard might not be big enough for them to really run in, or the smells might just be more enticing than what is in your yard. Dogs use their noses to explore the world around them, so if they are used to all of the smells in your yard then they might be looking for some new adventures.

How Your Dog Is Getting Out of the Yard

Another important part of stopping your dog from getting out is to determine exactly how your dog is getting out of the yard.

Jumping the fence

Depending on the height of your fence, and the breed of your dog, they may be jumping the fence. For dogs that have a lot of energy – like border collies, huskies or even jack russell terriers – they might be able to figure out a way to climb things in the backyard and get over the fence.

Digging under the fence

If you have a smaller dog or even one that’s just super agile, they may be digging a hole under the fence to get to whatever it is they want on the other side.

Climbing the fence

If you have a chain-link fence, and a smart dog, they might figure out that they can actually climb the fence to get over it. Now many homeowners have chain link fences and dogs that never try to climb them but it is possible that this is how your dog is getting out.

A large dog climbing the fence

Opening the gate

If the gate on your fence doesn’t latch securely then your dog may be able to push against the gate and open it. Your dog is very smart so they can figure out quickly that they can push the gate open or nudge it to unlatch it and they’ll be free to run!

Not having a fence

Well, this sounds obvious but some dog owners will put their dog on a tie out so that they can explore the yard and be outside without the owner having to constantly monitor them.

Some dogs are very strong and they can actually break the tie out. Additionally, a tie-out can be incredibly dangerous to a dog because if they see something they want to chase after and take off really quickly they can seriously injure their neck with a tie-out that will suddenly pull them back.

Ways to Stop Your Dog From Running Out of the Yard

Now that you know how your dog is (probably) getting out then you can start thinking of ways to stop them from doing it so that you can keep them safe.

Put a fence in

If you are a dog owner that previously used a tie out, you need to consider putting a fence in. having your dog on a tie out doesn’t really let your dog explore their world and restricts them. If you completely fence in your yard then your dog can wander around without the need for a leash.

Raise/extend your fence

If you have a chain-link fence or a shorter wood fence it might be time to replace it or extend it. If you’re handy then you can likely do this task yourself, or you can hire a landscaping or fencing company to complete it.

Take away objects they might climb on

If your dog has figured out that they can climb on things to get over the fence, they will likely continue to do it. It’s important you take away, or at least move, any objects that are close to the fence so your dog can stop climbing them.

Get a coyote roller

This is a device that goes across the top of a chain-link fence. When your dog tries to climb the fence and get a foothold on the stop of it, the device rolls like a rolling pin so they can’t get over the fence. It’s traditionally supposed to keep coyotes out of your yard, but it does work in reverse as well.

Add some landscaping

If you put a row of hedges or shrubs near the fence it makes it that much more difficult for your dog to jump over. In addition to keeping your dog in your yard, it gives you some additional privacy and it makes your yard look much more put together. You can choose to put the hedges along only one side, or all sides of your yard, depending on where your dog is escaping from.

Block the view

If your dog is escaping the yard because they are patrolling the borders and looking at those people on the other side of the fence, blocking the view can deter them from trying to escape. If your dog doesn’t know what is on the other side of the fence, they are going to be less likely to try and escape.

Dog in a beautiful garden

Install a lock on the gate

If your dog is getting out because of a loose gate latch, you can very easily put a lock on the gate to stop your dog from getting out. You may have to change out the hardware on the gate to make a lock fit but this is definitely an easy change to make.

Don’t leave your dogs alone

Leaving your dogs unattended for long periods of time gives them a chance to get into trouble in the backyard. When you’re watching them you can catch any behaviour you don’t like early on before they escape the yard and get into trouble.

Keep them occupied

If your dog is escaping the yard because they’re bored then putting things in the yard to keep them occupied could deter them from trying to run away. Think about things like what your dog likes to play with and what keeps their attention the most.

Don’t leave them outside if you aren’t home

Some homeowners will leave their dogs outside if they aren’t home, but this can be harmful to your dog. When you aren’t at home, you should always keep your dog inside.

In the event that your dog does get out, you won’t be home to notice and they could run pretty far away or get hurt before you even know they’re gone.

Wrap Up

If you really want to make sure your dog is safe, even if they happen to get out of a secure backyard, you can explore additional tools like a GPS collar.

This collar connects to an app on your smartphone so you’ll always know where your dog is. This can come in handy if your dog does get out and you can easily track your dog down before they get hurt.

Keeping your dog safe is the number one concern as a pet owner, and despite all you do there might be times your dog runs away. Fixing your yard to make sure your dog stays safe – as much as possible – is easy if you stay on top of the maintenance and keep an eye out when your dogs are in the yard.

Once your dog realizes how much fun it is to be in your yard, instead of trying to escape and explore, then they will give up their attempts to get out of it. Dogs usually try to get out because they are bored, so if your dog isn’t bored they are less likely to dig or climb. Keep your dog happy and in your yard!