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How can we help keep our dogs safe? - Adele L

Dogs jump fences for many reasons, boredom, lonely, scared or inquisitive.  Some dogs like to see what’s on the other side of the fence. That could be a person, an animal that your dog is trying to get to, excitement or inquisitive.  Sometimes it can be quite the opposite and they may feel threatened or antagonised.  There are many strategies that you can use.  A radio, music, recorded items such as “through a dog ear,” can help to decrease the noise outside of the fence and help desensitise the dog to the noises. Especially if it is a regular noise that they are becoming anxious, stressed or excited about. Some dogs like to sit up high because they want to watch what’s going on on the other side of the fence and they are happy being up high. Others this may not work for and could make the situation worse. 

Trialing different ideas is important so you can understand how your dog thinks.

Provide the activities that motivate your dog to escape

Finding out what motivates your dog to escape and how to prevent it from happening in the future. 
Putting in place exciting enriching ideas such as puzzle toys, sprinkling their dinner on the ground when you go to work, lickimats to exercise their minds and use up some of their energy.  Sandpits are a great way toset them up if they like to dig. A paddling pool is a great enricment with items that can bob around which they can pick up and play with. Ice blocks with their favourite treats in and some of their dinner makes a great enrichment idea especially on a summers day or a nice juicy bone, wobblers, treat dispensing toys and lickimats. Some of the factors that can play into your dog escaping are:
  • Is your dog getting enough exercise, such as a daily walk or playtime
  • Is your dog getting enough socialization and attention from the family.  Dogs thrive of human contact and spending time with their family is enrichment to them 
  • Is there enough mental stimulation at home eg.  Enrichment toys and strategies 
  • Is the dogs living arrangements comfortable.  Do they have an area to eat, drink, rest and toilet comfortably and relax
  • Is your dog desexed
  • Is the dog being left on their own for long days
Shaded, dry, comfortable rest areas
Dogs need a quiet place to rest and relax, this needs to be clean, comfortable, and not too hot or cold. 
If it is winter and your dog lives outside a dog jacket or extra blankets is important so they don’t get cold and they are less likely to try and escape or become destructive if they are warm and cozy in their beds.  It may also be beneficial to your dog for you to apply some adaptil spray on their bedding to help them to relax and rest.
  • If there is a shaded area place the dog kennel under it for shade or place the kennel or bed up on a veranda.  If you have a ceiling fan on your veranda put it on when you know you have hot days to keep the area cool for your dog, some people will use misting systems as well. Music is really beneficial to dogs to rest and relax and helps to remove the outside noises.
  • It is important that the dogs outside bed or kennel is out of adverse weather conditions, free from drafts, rain or heat and is placed so that the dog is close to the home and can see the back door and the area in which the family is living in.
  • Water - There should be several water bowls dotted around your dogs garden as the sun comes around as one bowls water may become too hot, another bowl may have cooler water to drink from.  If the dog only has one bowl and the water has become hot they can become distressed especially on a hot day which will send them off to seek water from elsewhere and they can then look for an exit route around the garden seeking a water source, or you may find them digging up your water pipe seeking water. 

To prevent dogs going over the fence

  • Secure high fencing and gates.  Check for gaps and repair. 
  • CCTV Camera’s are a great way to monitor your dog when you are not home via your mobile phone, some CCTV setups also allow you to talk to your dog from your mobile which can be reassuring to your dog.  It helps to monitor your dog’s safety but also find out what they are up to, such as if they are a nuisance barker or if they are escaping the garden
  • Fence rollers which sit on top of the fence and are made from PVC pipe and wire so if the dog tries to get over the fence it rolls them back down into their garden, this is a recommendation from RSPCA Australia
  • Placing a PVC pipe over the top of the fence to reduce the grip of dogs claws is also an option
  • To stop dogs digging under your fence, permanent prevention such as removing turf and running weld mesh wire or a good thick rabbit netting along the ground from the fence to about a meter away from the fence and place turf back over the top will prevent dogs digging their way out of their yards.
  • Add an shorter interior fence and place a hedge or shrubs between to act as a buffer.
  • For open fences, place screens along such as shade cloth to block out the dogs view from reacting to other people or dogs going past and gives the dogs some privacy to relax.
  • An alternative is to use building blocks to make a small concrete wall before placing the permanent fence on top.  A concrete block wall needs a solid deep foundation.  Make sure there are drainage holes in your wall otherwise your garden will become wet, turn to mud or flood and can cause issues to you house and any other buildings foundations in the garden.  NB;  Always check with your state planning department or local council before upgrading your fencing as there are different height approvals for front and back gardens.
Some final thoughts on dogs escaping
  • Ensure your dog is microchipped & registered so that you can get them home
  • Please follow your state legislation and regulations.
  • All dogs must be microchipped by 3 months or 12 weeks of age
  • All dogs must be microchipped and Lifetime Registered by 6 months of age in NSW.  
  • In NSW if your dog is desexed by 6 months of age your will be able to get the reduced rate for Lifetime Registration from your local council.
  • If your dog is over 6 months of age you will need to pay full price or as per the Companion Animals Act state for pensioners, breeders, assistance dogs etc.
  • If your dog escapes and ends up in the pound;
    • You will not be able to take your dog home until you have paid the impound, release fees, sustenance fees which are set by your local council (this differs from council to council)
    • If your dog is not lifetime registered with your council then you will also need to pay before the staff will release your dog from the pound to you, this includes dogs under 6 months of age. (NB: In NSW this is a State requirement).

Further resources from RSPCA  Australia Knowledgebase below;

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