Is your dog constantly breaking the wooden fence? Read more about the reasons behind this behavior and possible solutions.
The reasons might be:
- Separation anxiety
- Sexual maturity
- Fence running and fence aggression
Why Is My Dog Breaking the Wooden Fence and How to Stop It?
For responsible dog owners, a fenced backyard provides a piece of heaven for their dogs to roam free, discover interesting things, sniff around, and snooze throughout the day. There are many different kinds of fences to choose from, but wooden ones are beautiful, easy to install, and they give the yard a cozy, sheltered look.
They are perfect unless our pooch is an expert escape artist that seizes every opportunity to get around the wooden obstacle. A dog breaking the wooden fence is more common than we might think. In fact, dogs seem to keep finding ingenious ways to do so. Let’s take a closer look at why dogs hold grudges against fences and how to prevent this behavior.
Why Is My Dog Breaking the Wooden Fence?
Fences keep dogs contained and safe while still providing them with the freedom to run and roll around. Moreover, fences keep intruders out and provide owners with much-needed privacy. Wooden fences are affordable, durable, and easy to maintain.
On the other hand, wooden fences are ideal to chew on, scratch, dig under, and crash by even the smallest of dogs. Although we might get pretty upset at the sight of our dog trashing the fence, they are not doing it to annoy us. There are various reasons why our pooches seem to despise the fence.
No dog likes to be left alone for long periods. They have no one to interact with and the loneliness gets the better of them. Dogs suffering from separation anxiety usually display other symptoms like following us around, howling when left alone, greeting the owners ecstatically, or destroying items that are within their reach.
If our canine friends are more likely to attack the fence as soon as we leave or shortly after we have left, they might be looking for a way to come with us. Moreover, if they display any other symptoms of separation anxiety, we’d need to address the issue. A visit to a vet or a professional dog trainer is a great start.
A dog constantly breaking the wooden fence might be looking for a mate. Dogs reach puberty between six and twelve months of age. Sexually mature, intact male dogs have a strong drive to search for female mates and a wooden fence is not likely to stop them. With such high motivation, pooches will try hard to break the fence. Although female dogs in heat are less likely to try to escape and thus damage the fence, it’s still a common issue.
The solution to this problem is neutering and spaying your dog. Having a male dog spayed early on decreases the desire for this sort of roaming by 90%. Spayed female dogs leave no pheromones for males to pick up on, and they can’t contribute to the overpopulation of pets. Responsible ownership also comes down to controlling the population of unwanted pets.
Fence Running And Fence Aggression
Fence running is associated with barrier frustration dogs exhibit when they can see their object of interest, but they can’t reach it. A passing cyclist, a neighbor’s loose dog, or an ice-cream truck can make our dogs go completely wild within the fence.
Although dogs might just be curious about what’s outside, running along the fence line accompanied by excessive barking can easily slide into aggression. The behavior itself causes agitation, stress, and anxiety in dogs. These can further cause fence fighting and major damage to the wood.
The easiest way to prevent barrier frustration is to install a solid wooden fence or to modify the existing one so that the dog can’t see through it. Blocking the sight of and access to external stimuli decreases the excitement levels and the desire to explore what’s behind the fence. Thus, the fence related behaviors should subside.
How Do Dogs Do It?
A fence won’t prevent our dogs from chasing a rabbit, runaway cat, or bike. Wooden fences are unchallenging and pooches seem to be able to break them effortlessly. Whether a dog breaking the wooden fence is up for a fight or on the lookout for entertainment, they sure have very creative ways to surmount the obstacle. While trying to correct behavioral issues, there are other ways in which owners can protect their fences from being trashed, crashed, and destroyed.
Chewing On A Wooden Fence
Pups love to chew on stuff. Young puppies chew because they are teething while adult dogs might do it because they are bored or they are displaying signs of fence aggression. Maybe they are trying hard to escape and do some exploring on their own. Whatever the reason might be, there are steps we can take to stop them.
A dog breaking the wooden fence by trying to chew through it might simply lack toys. Strategically placing different toys across the yard should draw the dog’s attention away from the fence. Owners should make a point to join the play and make the yard a fun, exciting place to be.
Another effective solution is using a chew deterrent. Although there are many kinds of deterrents out there, most of them pose a threat to the wood and might damage it. Therefore, a homemade mixture of apple cider vinegar and water is your best bet. It’s safe for dogs, plants, and wood and it keeps dogs from getting anywhere near the fence.
Finally, if nothing I suggested above works and the pooch still manage to nibble on their favorite wooden panel, we should consider reinforcing the wood with metal. Applying metal pieces on the bottom of each board makes it impossible for dogs to reach the wooden material. Even if they take a bite, the taste and texture of metal are sure to discourage them from enjoying it any further.
Digging And Scratching
A dog scratching away at the wooden fence and tunneling under it is a common sight. Although this might not look like a dog breaking the wooden fence, larger dogs can easily break down the entire structure while digging their way out. On the other hand, smaller dogs are not likely to physically break the fence, but they can easily break free.
Identifying the potential cause of this unwanted behavior and addressing it properly takes time. Therefore, altering and fortifying the existing fence can go a long way. The best and the cheapest option is to create an L-footer at the base of the wooden fence. You can do that by attaching chicken wire or hardware cloth along the bottom of the fencing making an L shape. The hard, sturdy wire will make it very hard for any dog to tunnel their way out.
Wire L-footers may not be aesthetically pleasing and they don’t go well with wood, but there’s a way around this, too. Cover the wire with gravel, rock, dirt, or even grass to make it more appealing to the eye.
Jumping and Climbing
Both small and large dogs can be jumpers and climbers, but bigger dogs can cause more damage to our fence while trying to climb or jump over it. Heavy dogs can easily rip the boards apart, break off pieces, or crush an entire section of the fencing.
Yet again, preventing dogs from reaching the fence, or altering the fence altogether might solve this problem.
An L-footer attached along the top of the fence and leaning inward should deter climbing. In addition, the visual effect the wiring has should be enough to discourage any jumping attempts.
Coyote rollers should have the same effect. These metal rollers installed on top of the fencing keep coyotes out but keep our pooches in. A dog is likely to give it only one shot at jumping over this hurdle. After losing the foothold and falling right back into the yard, they’re likely to give up.
With jumpers and climbers, we should move any potential climbing aids (chairs, garbage cans, or benches) away from the fence. Almost anything can be used as a springboard by a dog breaking the wooden fence or any other fence for that matter. Therefore, we should scan the area and keep any climbing structures at a safe distance.
Responsible ownership requires immense dedication and constant training. Whatever the reason might be, a dog breaking the wooden fence is trying to tell their owner something. The most important prevention tip is addressing behavioral problems and preventing them from developing further. Our pups’ wellbeing comes first, and saving the wooden fence should come second.