It makes for a great scene in the movies, but when your dog jumps fences for real, its not quite so much fun. Especially if you live on a farm or in a very compact neighborhood, your neighbors will NOT appreciate your dog terrorizing other animals or children. Additionally, a car on the street can strike a dog that jumps over his fence.
The truth is, dogs jumping fences isnt just a nuisance: it can be a direct threat, too, to both other people and to the dog itself. Clearly, something must be done in order to stop your dog from jumping fences.
How do you stop a dog from continually jumping the fence?
First, take into account some breeds will want to jump over fences more than others. Jack Russells, Norwich Terriers, and other small dogs are particularly jumpy. But, in a general sense, the best way to stop your dog from jumping the fence is positive re-enforcements. Reward your dog for staying away from the fence, and correct him for going near it. Also learn the Off command, and state this to your dog as he readies to jump a fence. If well trained, the dog will think better of it and not jump over the fence even when youre away.
Prevention is key. A taller fence, tightly secured (never leave a gate open), is the best way to ensure your dog doesnt jump over the fence. Additionally, putting wire across the bottom foot or so of the fence will ensure your dog cannot crawl through the fence. I wouldnt recommend barbed wire on top of your fence, but putting sharp prongs on top of the fence not only discourages your dog from jumping over the fence, but it also deters burglars and other intruders!
Use a correction collar device. When properly trained, dogs know that if they continue advancing into the area, they will get a correction automatically from the collar. These collars are triggered by markers and will eventually give the continuing dog an electric shock or a spray of some sort. I highly discourage shock collars, but citronella spray and noise collars are effective.
Get a taller fence. He can't jump over what he can't jump over something thats too tall. Gravity is just too strong!
Remove any objects he can use to boost himself over. Youd be surprised how sharp dogs can be. Border collies, German Shepherds, and poodles, especially, are very sharp dogs that have a way of overcoming just any obstacle. This means, remove any Garbage cans, tables or other aids to getting over the fence. A grill might be enough to get him up and over, so place this strategically. If your dog uses the shed or stack of firewood, coat these with cayenne pepper, bitter apple, or other aversive substances dogs dislike.
Train him that you don't want him jumping over the fence. Make sure he knows this is against the rules. Use the Come Command (described below). If this doesnt work, then a garden house or simple water gun will help discourage him. Make sure the dog has learned the come command well before using it here, and have a contingency plan! What will you do if the dog doesnt obey? If he starts running towards traffic, you better have a backup plan. This is where it is key to have a tall fence and to make sure it is secured so that your dog cannot escape.
Beware serial dog diggers who try to get underneath the fence! Follow the advice on how to stop your dog from digging. If your dog tries to dig under fences, you should place chicken wire mesh underneath the soil, as dogs do not like the feel of this on their paws. For added measure, sprinkle the soil around the fence with cayenne pepper or ground red pepper. This will ensure your dog doesnt have a backup plan of his own for getting through that fence!
Teaching Your Dog the Come Command
Perhaps no command is as important in disciplining your dog as the Come command. It is crucial in gaining your dogs obedience and showing that YOU are the alpha leader. Without it, you will have a LOT of difficulty in gaining your dogs respect, and keeping him out of trouble.
First, the BEST time to train your dog to Come is during feeding time. Why? Because your dog will be more than willing to come to you when he sees a big bowl of food in your hand! Once the positive connection between coming and eating is established, it should be simple to get your dog to come to you in the future.
First, hold the dogs dish of food in your hand. Then, simply state (you dont have to shout), Come. Say it pleasantly but firmly, so your dog is neither intimidated nor confused. When the dog approaches his dinner, give him lots of praise for listening to you.
Do this training for other instances besides food, and teach it on a regular basis until it becomes natural for the dog. Budget about 15 minutes per day, segmented into 3 sessions of 5 minute each, for a week of training. Youll want to teach the Sit, Okay, and No commands in conjunction with this, if you havent already taught them.