Doggone again ...
October 15, 2012 5:22 PM   Subscribe

Help me foil a canine escape artist.

My 1/2 acre yard is fenced with chain link, but Doug Dog has dug his way out a few times. When it happens I wedge a concrete block in the hole, and that stops him, but recently he's been just moving to another spot. Doug's about the size of a large chihuahua.

I'm considering these options:
1. Plug with concrete blocks as needed. (Not beautiful but cheap.)
2. Roll out a flat 2-foot apron of chicken wire inside the fence all around, with one edge secured to the fence with ties, and the other edge either staked or weighted with a block every few feet. (Have done something like this in other parts of the yard and it seems to work.)
3. A commercial solution. (What might they offer? How much will I pay?)

Any experience with this? Any other ideas?
posted by SallyHitMeOntheHead to Pets & Animals (10 answers total)
I read somewhere a long time ago that dogs dig because they can see what's on the other side and they want to get to it. I've tried digging down (about a foot) with a wooden fence and that's worked. You can weave wooden slats into the chain link and push them into the dirt a foot or two.
posted by patheral at 5:35 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

A friend of mine with some crafty Shiloh Shepherds ran a hot wire around the base of her fence. It only took one or two (unpleasant but harmless) zaps before the dogs figured it out. Now she rarely even turns it on. Unless you're in a big city, a store like Tractor Supply should be able to help you with this.

I do not advocate physical correction for dogs but keeping them in the fence is an immediate safety issue.
posted by workerant at 6:08 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Dig down some chicken wire.
posted by windykites at 6:26 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Digging is an instinct for many dogs and seeing what is on the other side of the fence will make no difference for adog who enjoys digging. Regardless of how you choose to secure your fence, get your dog a sandbox and take the time to redirect his behavior with some simple training. Basically, catch him in the act of digging under the fence a few times and have him dig in the sandbox instead, where you will have hidden good stuff as a reward. Keep burying favorite toys or treats in the sand regularly.
posted by halogen at 6:31 PM on October 15, 2012 [3 favorites]

Have you considered one of those invisible fence things. You can buy them at WalMart even. You bury a wire around the area where you want the dog to stay. You place a special collar on the dog. When the dog gets within a certain distance the dog will get a shock that is harmless. But the dog learns very fast to stay away from the buried wire.
posted by JayRwv at 7:13 PM on October 15, 2012

We used large river rocks (about bowling ball size) to line some of our likely escape routes. We live in Pasadena and I've seen them for sale at garden/landscape places. You could probably also ask a stone/tile place to see what they might have. Prettier than cinder blocks!

You could also put up a baby gate to keep your dog in a part of the yard that has been Doug proofed.
posted by dottiechang at 8:48 PM on October 15, 2012

Lord, we had an escape artist dog for a while.

Filling in the holes under the fence with concrete did work, but was obviously impractical in the longer term. It did cut out some of his favorite escape routes, though.

Sunken chicken wire worked for a while until he figured out with enough biting, tugging, and clawing, he could tear it down.

An electric fence around the base of the fence worked for a very long time, but he was like the raptors in Jurassic Park, constantly testing every inch of it just in case it was ever down. You'd know he was at it if you heard YELP pause YELP pause YELP pause YELP pause. We were never sure if he was exceptionally bright or exceptionally stupid. And when it was down, he was gone.

At one point, we used paving stones of a reasonable thickness rather than plain cinder blocks around the edges of the yard and those worked very well and looked nicer to boot.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:55 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Owner of a pack of three dogs whose total weight is under 30 lbs., all of whom believe it is their mission in life to escape their yard.

I've had excellent results using these stakes to secure the bottom of chain link fencing. They can be driven quickly and easily, are long enough to resist deeper digging and, placed at the point of each downward-pointing diamond of the fencing, are close enough together to bar even our 7lb minpin from wiggling between. And they're unobtrusive to the neighbors, to boot.
posted by peakcomm at 7:16 AM on October 16, 2012

Seconding the invisible fence. You don't have to bury the line, just run it around the fence perimeter and it will keep the dog far enough from the fence that he won't have time to dig under it without getting shocked.
posted by wrnealis at 7:20 AM on October 16, 2012

3rding the invisible dog fence -

I too had a chain linked yard and once my dog learned he can sneak under the areas that were un-even, it was all over. We tried everything. I put stakes in the ground, 1x 3 wood along the edges of the fence so it would no bend when he tried to sneak out. While the wood worked, I eventually just gave in a got an invisible dog fence. I buried it right along the bottom edge of the chain link so when he tried to wiggle his head down there it would give him a zap.

We put the radio collar on him all day long a few times and he learned pretty quick not to test the fence. We still put the collar on him when we leave, but for the most part, he stays clear of trying to escape now.

The way I did it was to bury a portion on the bottom, and have another portion strung through the top of the fence, this allowed a complete loop which had enough distance between the two wires (I have a 4ft fence) so they would not cancel each others signal out.

Bottom line, bite the bullet and get an invisible dog fence.
posted by amazingstill at 11:34 AM on October 16, 2012

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