There’s a saying that tall fences make good neighbours and I completely get where they are coming from however I doubt they had dogs. Tall fences (or any fence for that matter) can be a great way to contain your dog in your yard. I use the word can here purposely. It isn’t always the best bet – why you ask? Well that’s easy some dogs can climb out and even more commonly many dogs like to fence fight.
What is fence fighting? Well typically what happens is we have one or more dogs on each side of the fence. The dogs are frustrated that they cannot access the exciting dog on the other side of the fence and it flips into aggression. Many dogs enjoy fence fighting. The look of bliss on my Frenchie’s face when she fence fights is simultaneously hilarious and troublesome.
Now from a logic standpoint it’s a pretty frustrating issue. Some dogs will stop once they’ve met the other dog only one time. After that it’s a few quick sniffs and life is grand. However some dogs like to fence fight and will make a game out of it. I have 3 dogs who live for the fence fight – but don’t fight when there’s no fence.
So you’re thinking “great I built this amazing fence and now my dog is making me look like I have a dangerous beast in my yard”. Don’t sweat it as there’s a few ways to remedy the situation.
Step #1 – determine if your neighbours’ dog is going to be an instigator. If the neighbours’ dog is the one going crazy then it doesn’t hurt to approach them about working on the issue together. I did once have a neighbour who didn’t care and allowed his dogs to constantly bark and run along the fence for years – we built our dog run on the other side of our home and stopped using the yard. Not ideal.
Step #2 – don’t ever leave your dog unattended in the yard. This one takes some work as it’s nice to just let Rover run around out there but sadly the more they practice fence fighting the better they get at it. Once a behaviour is ingrained it’s harder to turn it around. So you’ll need to amp up the supervision.
Step #3 – teach your dog a solid recall around distractions (this should happen independently of the fence) and then work your way up to being able to call your dog away from the fence. Reward your dog heavily for doing this! And by this I mean coming when called.
Step #4 – ensure you interrupt any fence fighting immediately. Some dogs respond to a loud noise or calling them away for a treat or a toy. If you’re worried your dog won’t recall then keep them on a long line while you practice.
It takes work but you can find that peace of mind in your yard again.