How to Stop a Dog from Digging Under a Fence

A neighbour once had a dog who was digging through and under her fence. She thought her pet had gone wild and considered enlisting this dog in a behavioural therapy class. 

In her words, she said ‘my pooch is causing destruction to my patio. He burrows under my fence. I am fed up with his vileness; he would be enlisted in a behavioural class to get his acts together.’

how to stop a dog from digging under a fence
Photo Credit: RitaE,

While she fumed, she was reassured that her dog had no malicious intentions towards her nor her patio. She was advised that instead of enlisting him in any therapy to coach him on how to stop digging under the fence, she should take such behaviour as dog-related problems and find out why he digs under the fence.

When she found out the reason her dog digs under the fence, we were able to stop her dog from digging any further under the fence.

All the secret tips we used to stop the dog from digging under a fence are what we want to share with you. Not only will we share those tips, but we will also tell you why your dogs could be digging under a fence, how to stop them from digging under fences and the best type of fence to use in your patio and yard to keep them from digging or burrowing any further.

Why Do Dogs Dig?

Dogs dig under fences for several reasons which are not necessarily malicious. Some of the reason dog dig under fences are discussed below…


Dogs dig under fences for the mere sake of entertainment. If you are not sure if your dog is digging for entertainment or fun, the following guides would help determine when your pooch is digging for fun.

Dogs dig under fences for fun if they have no playmates nor toys to play around with. They do feel lonely and would want to get busy, hence take to digging under fences.

An adolescent dog or a puppy with so much energy wouldn’t waste his/her time to expend such energy. He/she wouldn’t mind digging under fences.

A dog would gladly dig under your fence if he/she had watched your garden recently. Dogs, like kids, learn vicariously; they want to replicate what they had seen their owners doing. When you drop your gardening tools, they pick their paws and go to work.

When your dog exhibits any of the above-listed traits, know that he is digging for entertainment.

Attention; Should you not know, dogs, like kids, engage in some activities for the pleasure of getting attention to themselves. When such a dog discovers that when he/she digs under a fence he gets some attention to himself, he would continue digging under fences. Even when punished, they interpret punishment as attention and would continue.

Chasing Prey; Sometimes, a dog digs under fences to chase and catch burrowing insects and animals that are readily found in yards. If your dog digs in a single path, dig across a lone space instead of around the corners of your yard and digs at tree roots and shrubs, then he/she is digging to catch prey.

Breaking Away

Dogs also dig under fences when they want to get away from something. We hope this doesn’t make you feel bad in any way. He might not be getting away from you. He might be trying to get away to get to someplace – perhaps he has seen a playmate in the next yard and would want to dig his way out of your yard.

Or, he might be getting away from something in your yard. If your dog digs around your fence or under your fence, then he may be digging to break away.

Ease and Shelter

Dogs, during hot weather, dig, but not under fences to cool off in the dirt. When they do this, they dig holes big enough to contain them and provide them with some comfort and protection. 

When a dog digs for ease and shelter, he would be digging holes close to trees, sources of water and/or building foundations. He will also dig for extra comfortable shelter if he has no shelter at all or if his shelter is of extreme temperature, depending on the season.

And if he lies inside the holes he digs, he is digging for ease and shelter.

How to Stop a Dog from Digging Under a Fence

dog digging under a fence
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To keep unsightly holes away from your yard, you will require doing some little amount of work to safely keep your dog busy with a more productive task.

To stop a dog from digging under a fence, the following tips would be helpful…

Adequate Supervision

One of the most basic methods for stopping dogs from digging under a fence is to adequately supervise the dog. A properly supervised dog will not run out to dig holes under a fence. Even if he ignores your presence and goes ahead to dig, using some training techniques such as the ‘leave it’ command makes them stop immediately.

When repeated over time, it sticks and you have yourself a well-behaved dog that knows that you frown at digging holes around the yard.

Mask Your Fence

As we stated earlier, dogs may dig under fences to get away in order to go play. To avoid this or prevent it from happening, we advise that you mask your see-through fence with yard fabrics.

This would prevent your dog from seeing through whatever that goes on, on the other side. What he doesn’t see wouldn’t tempt him, right?

To do this, you will need a yard fabric that is the same length as your fence. It is best to buy such fabric in a bundle from garden stores. Staple the fabric to your fence on both ends. This will keep the dog from diffing under your fence if he digs to getaway.

Apply Capsicum Spray on Your Fence

Capsicum sprays are like the very popular ‘pepper sprays’. It causes dogs to sneeze when inhaled.

To use this method, apply the capsicum on the fence’s baseline and onto any previously dug holes in your yard. Allow the capsicum to sit on the fence and dry for an hour or more. Afterwards, allow your dog back into the yard.

When the dog gets to the fence and wants to dig again, he would inhale the spray and begin sneezing. When this happens for a couple of times, he/she will steer clear of your fence area and stop digging under the fence. 

To ensure that the spray remains potent, reapply it on your fence’s base after every two weeks until the dog stops venturing near the fence. Capsicum sprays cause negligible irritation to dogs’ eyes and noses.

They are available and can be bought from any pet store – offline and online.

Construct a Dig Pit

For dogs, digging holes whether under a fence, around a fence or just anywhere in a yard is a natural and instinctive act. Providing them with an allocated space for their digging helps them redirect such an instinct in less destructive manners.

To do this, you can either construct a dig pit or buy one. To construct a dig pit, you will need to clear grasses off a small area until the soil underneath is exposed. 

Create a border around the area using a yard fabric (the type used above inlining a fence), build a wall measuring 6inches (15centimentres) around the tips with landscaping rocks or bricks.

Hold the fabric still with a heap of sand or dirt measuring a little over 3 in depth. This ensures that while the dog digs, he/she won’t get the chance to escape from the pit.

If you don’t want to construct your own dig pit, you will have to buy and use toy sandboxes. They are better alternatives to messing your hands and digging pits around.

As stated earlier, if your dog digs for ease and shelter, these methods will serve as useful alternatives for either cold or warm shelter for them. To encourage your dog into using these alternatives, bury toys and rewards in these allocated digging pits and sandboxes.

Drop Your Dog’s Faeces Near Your Fence

To deter your dog from digging under your fence, it is advised to drop his/her faeces in those areas he frequently digs.

To do this, gather your dog’s faeces from your yard and drop them strategically at those spots he/she has been to and may likely go to, to dig around.

This automatically turns him/her off and keeps them from digging in such spots, because they wouldn’t want to meddle with their own faeces. 

To avoid littering your entire compound with dog’s faeces, ensure to drop the faeces on areas your dog has dug on previously or may likely dig.

Implant Chicken Wire Under your Fence

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Implanting a chicken wire underneath your fence makes it very uneasy for dogs to dig through under the fence.

To do this, measure the entire height of your fence. This is to enable you to know the length of chicken wire you will need to get. Buy an appropriate length of chicken wire.

Using a shovel, make a ditch that measures 1 to 2ft (30-61centimteres) in-depth and 1ft (30centimetres) in width, around the base of your fence. Place the chicken wire inside the ditch created and secure it to the fence using a stapler.

When the chicken wire is firmly secured on the fence’s base, fill the ditch with dirt. If you wish to extend the wire through to your yard, you must twist it into an L-shape.

Video: How To Implant A Chicken Wire Under A Fence

This video teaches you how to discreetly implant a chicken wire under your fence to stop a dog from digging under it.

Place Rocks Around Your Fence

To decorate your yard and keep your dogs from digging under your fence, landscape your fence with different rocks.

To do this, clear the areas you wish to landscape of grasses and place a yard fabric over the area to prevent weeds from sprouting through the landscape rocks. Fill cleared space with flat and smooth rocks of various shapes and sizes.

With these in place, your dog will be unable to dig through under the fence. 

Enlarge Your Dog’s World

If your dog digs under your fence as a result of boredom and for entertainment, the best remedy is to enlarge his world. Bring in more people’s time into his world.

To do this, walk your dog two times daily, at least. When dogs lack exercise, they put up disruptive behaviours. Play as often as possible with your dog, using toys like balls and flying disks.

Undertake training classes with your dog and repeat whatever you learn at home daily. Surround him/her with fascinating toys in your yard; this keeps him busy when you’re not at home. Ensure to change the toys at intervals to keep him/her interested always.

Augment the Base of Your Fence

There are two options here: constructing a bottom fence by yourself as a DIY project or installing an already made one. Bottom fences are usually made from galvanized steel. They include erect rods placed in spots dependent on the dog’s size. They are ideal for fences that have openings at the base that allow dogs to burrow.

To do this, buy or construct bottom fences that are of the same length as your existing fence. Drive the rods into the ground on any side of your fence to keep your dog from burrowing out.

Instruct Your Dog Against Digging Holes Under a Fence

If you found all these tips too ambiguous to undertake for keeping your dog away from digging holes under a fence, you might want to take to instruction.

To do this, monitor your dog when he is outside. If you see him venturing to dig, use a firm voice and caution him against such an act. It is important to avoid yelling at him or hitting him when you scold him away from digging.

Types of Dog Proof Fences

Fences are important parts of a home. It helps to not only keep kids safe but dogs also. While dogs may take to digging holes underneath them and even trying to break away from your yard, there are some special types of fences that ensure dogs always stay away from around the fence.

They may vary from the regular fences either in sturdiness, height, or depth. Such fences include:

Electric/Invisible Dog Fences

These are essentially wires or cords that are driven into the ground alongside the yard’s boundary to keep a dog from digging under a fence or digging in certain spots of the yard.

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These electric fences provide a slight shock to dogs through their neck collars or give off loud sounds that are heard by the dog only. The noise or shock will startle the dog from getting close to the fence or forbidden area. Over time, the dog will be deterred from going towards that direction.

Most electric fences come with flag markers that teach the dog where the fence is positioned and where to stop, to avoid getting shocked by the fence.

Setting up an invisible fence is easy. All you need to do is to bury the cord along the perimeter of your existing poles. Attach the flag markers if the electric fence came with them and you’re good.

A good reason for choosing this option is that it does not alter the aesthetics of your yard. It creates little or no changes to the entire outlook, while you safely stop your dog from digging.

While invisible fences slightly shock your dogs, they do not harm them. The shock is too infinitesimal to cause any bodily nor physiological harm.

Chain Link Dog Fences

These are inexpensive dog-proof fences. They come very easy to install but to ensure that it properly proofs a dog from digging and climbing, it is advised to lay the chicken wire on the bottom of the chain-link fence.

Dog owners who use only chain link dog fences have complained of having no success in preventing their dogs from frequent climbing and digging.


This is a modified version of redundant fences. An airlock fence is a miniature fenced space placed right outside the entrance or exit point of a yard. It is usually used by dog owners whose dogs are prone to digging their way out of the yard, that is, breaking away.

When constructed, a hole-digging dog, if he successfully burrows through your fence will find himself in the airlock, which is safe and secure for him. He can either stay there as long as he wants or get out when he gets uncomfortable with the little space.

L-Footer Dog Proof Fence

An L-footer dog proof fence is a cable type of fencing that is buried against the bottom of a fence and twisted into a 90-degree angle (perpendicular) to it. It should have an L-shape when you are done.

L-footer fences can either be buried underneath the ground or left on top of the grass and held in place with rocks or garden fairies.

Wooden Dog Proof Fences

These types of fences are usually not so expensive. Their cost and longevity depend on the type of wood bought. Woods like bamboo looks better and are much sturdier; they are good when trying to stop your dog from digging.

However, the bamboos are expensive. Some other woods like cedar provide extra perks like pest repulsion. Cedarwoods are good tick repellant; hence dog owners prefer using them as dog-proof fences.

Redundant Fencing

This fence is usually the last resort technique considered for proofing dogs against digging holes under fences. It is also utilized for dogs that are fond of burrowing and escaping from their owners’ yards.

A redundant fence is basically a fence within a fence or fenced area. It provides an additional barricade to dogs that might be unyielding to the previous methods and fences listed above.

Redundant fences can only stop your dog from digging around and under fences. It does not stop dogs from digging in other parts of the yard. Another disadvantage about redundant fences is that most people especially dog owners find it tacky having two fences.

But there are some dog owners that are currently benefiting from it and making the most out of their lives. If you feel a redundant fence can provide you some dog proofing, go for it.

Ensuring safety for your dog should be your top priority. The methods recommended above, when adhered to, will help you keep your dog safe and away from digging under your fence.

It is important for you to understand that each yard and dog is different and will need a repetition of the various techniques to discover which of the techniques works best for you and your dog. Sometimes, you might discover that a combination of the techniques does the magic for your dog.

Conclusively, dogs digging is usually a depressing problem, although it doesn’t have to be. Informed with these useful tips, your dogs and puppies can be kept healthy, lively, and away from wreaking havoc around your yard.

If after trying and applying all of these techniques to stop your dog from digging around your fences and around your yard, your dog hasn’t stopped digging, we would recommend you keep them indoors at all times and keep an eye on them when they take a bathroom break in your yard.

You might also want to meet with a veterinarian to check him out and make possible diagnoses about any likely or hidden ailment. Some ailments could be less physiologic as anxiety issues, which is most likely going to cause your dog to act out.

If there are no underlying ailments, it’s time to take your dog to a professional behavioural trainer/therapist. Such a trainer will help correct the problematic traits your dog is currently exhibiting and might even help prevent further disruptive behaviours.

Following these steps will surely show you how to stop a dog from digging under a fence.