How to Stop a Dog from Digging Under the Fence

how to stop a dog digging under the fence

What is it that makes some dogs want to dig under the fence? These crafty escape artists obviously don’t want to stay on the right side of the fence. I suppose the attraction of what’s happening on the other side is too much to resist.

If your dog likes to dig under the fence it can be worrying. After all, you don’t want them disappearing and not coming home because they got lost while exploring the great outdoors.

Maybe, the problem is your neighbor’s dog trying to get into your yard and they’re always digging under your fence. This is not good, especially if it’s an aggressive dog trying to fight with your little pooch.

Whatever the reason, you want to stop your dog (or your neighbor’s) from digging under the fence. Here are some great ways you can stop this pesky behavior from happening.

How to stop a dog from digging under the fence: 7 ways to end the dig

There are a number of reasons why a dog would dig under the fence. I don’t believe they think like us humans who always believe it’s greener on the other side. But, some dogs simply like digging under fences and here are some reasons why:

  • They’re bored and like digging craters everywhere, not just under fences.
  • A male dog has picked up the scent of a female on heat. Nothing, not even a fence, will deter a dog when they pick up this scent!
  • They’re bored and want to go exploring outside their home territory.
  • Something’s frightened them and they want to get out.
  • They want to play or fight with the neighbor’s dog.
  • It’s fun!

Check out my handy tips to stop your dog from digging under the fence.

1. Lay a foundation under the fence or gate

This is a hard way to stop your dog from digging under the fence but it’s a long term solution. It requires laying a concrete foundation.

By having a deep, solid concrete foundation under the fence means you dog will have to dig down to Australia to get out under the fence. It may not stop his digging habit but it’ll certainly prevent him from escaping.

You may have to do regular inspections of the fence to cover in any holes he may have started digging. But, this method normally deters your dog from digging under the fence.

How to stop a dog from digging under chain link fence
Stop a dog digging under a chain link fence or other with my tips. (Image licensed from

2. Bury the fence deep

Using the similar concept as putting in a concrete foundation, you can simply bury the bottom of the fence deep into the ground. This will create a barrier and help stop your dog from getting through to the other side.

This works well for smaller dog breeds who can’t jump over the fence. If your dog is a large, jumping Alsatian or Husky, you’ll have to use fencing that’s high enough while still being buried deep into the ground.

Make sure the fencing is solid and firm. A flimsy wire fencing will not deter a determined dog from digging under the fence and biting his way through the wiring. Seriously, I’ve heard of dogs who do this!

Handy Hint: Here’s what you need to do when you have a dog that keeps trying to climb and jump a fence.

3. Haul in the rocks

Another way you can stop your dog from digging under the fence is laying large rocks along the bottom of the fence. This works well for keeping wild animals (and other dogs) off your property as well.

You can order in a truck load of rocks and lay them along the full length of the fence. Or, you can simply fill in a hole that’s been started by your dog with rocks whenever you find one being dug.

Dogs can be persistent when they start digging so if you block up one hole, he’ll start another crater somewhere else along the fence. You’ll have to be vigilant and check out the fence every day for more holes.

4. Order a roll of chicken wire

Chicken wire can be a great deterrent to dogs determined to dig under the fence. The wiring can even be used to make fencing to keep your dog from digging in your flower beds.

This method takes some elbow grease but it can be done on a weekend. Follow these steps:

  • Dig a trench along the line of the fence, about 12 inches deep and 6 inches wide.
  • Cut strips of chicken wire and bend the bottom piece (about 5 inches) into a L-shaped angle.
  • Place into the trench (L-shape down) and attach to the existing fence with zip ties.
  • Fill in the trench with soil and stones.

Buy rolls of chicken wire from Amazon such as BSTOOL Chicken Wire Net. It’s easy to work with and includes a pair of wire pliers for easy cutting.

5. Give your dog his own sandbox

You know how much kids love playing in their sandboxes? Well, how about giving your fur-baby his own sandbox to dig in? Sometimes, your dog is digging under the fence simply because he loves digging.

Distract him from the fence by introducing him to his own sandbox. Make sure it’s sturdy and preferably made with wood (doggies can chew through plastic). Fill it up with loose sand, bury some of his favorite toys and get him digging.

You’ll need to introduce him to his sandbox and play some games with him in it until he gets used to the idea that he can go digging whenever he’s frustrated.

I love this Creative Cedar Designs Octagon Wooden Sandbox from Amazon. It’s big enough to give your dog more than enough space to dig and dig and dig. And, it’ll look smart in your yard too.

6. Get creative with landscaping

You could enhance your yard by landscaping along the fence line. This includes planting dog-friendly plants and using other landscaping features to prevent the dog getting to the fence.

Depending on the size of your dog, you’ll need to find plants that can withstand some doggy action until they get bored with trying to reach the fence. Planting dainty, pretty flowers won’t do the job. Pick sturdy shrubs and even planting some thorny rose bushes will deter your dog from getting to the fence.

Landscaping  with attractive large rocks and other features are also a good way of blocking access to the bottom of the fence.

7. Get to the bottom of your dog’s digging behavior

Why is your dog digging under the fence? Try and figure out what is driving your dog to persist in this behavior. I’ve mentioned some of the reasons above.

Here are some ways of dealing with the reasons why your dog may be digging under the fence:

  • Boredom: Play games with your dog and take him for walks. Keep him active so he doesn’t have time or the inclination to start digging under the fence.
  • Seeking attention: Dogs will do anything to get attention even if it means being shouted at. Digging under the fence is going to get your attention pretty fast. Make sure you’re giving your dog the right attention so he doesn’t resort to bad behavior.
  • Wants to explore: Dogs can be curious creatures and if they can’t see what’s happening on the other side of the fence, they may start digging to get out. Take them for walks in your neighborhood so they know what’s what in the burbs.

These are just some of the reasons and solutions. But if none of them work, you may need to call in a dog trainer or animal behaviorist. Your dog may just need some training to sort the problem out.


Dogs like to dig.

But to stop your dog digging out under the fence you need to take a few steps like I’ve described.

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Image in header via

Marc Aaron

I write about the things we've learned about owning dogs, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips we've picked up along the way.

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