Dog keeps digging out of yard

Posted by Jester615
Nov 6, 2010
We have 5 completely fenced acres that can't contain Max, a 17 month old neutered Weimaraner-lab mix. Whenever we let him out he diggs under the fence into the neighbor's yard to look for their dog. Each time we find the hole and cover it but he just moves to another spot and diggs under again. I've heard that putting rocks around the fence line or burying some of the fence underground would help but we have too much fence to do this. Hot wire or a shock system is hundreds of dollars and I don't want to shock him if I can avoid it. He loves to race around but we can't trust him to stay in the yard so his exercize has been limited lately.

We have another dog who never leaves the yard. Max has food, a playmate and lots of stuff to do in our yard so why does he keep leaving and how can we stop it?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Posted by kjd
Nov 7, 2010

I hope there is someone with a solution for you. Some dogs seem to like to explore. They love their people and their homes, but just have to see what is over the next hill. I had a dog that did this. She didn't dig under the fence, she jumped it -- a 6 ft privacy fence though she was only 21" tall. When in a boarding kennel, they had to put a top on her run or she would climb up the chain link fence. When she'd get away, I'd go out looking in the car, calling her. As soon as she heard me, she'd come jump in the car, happy as could be. I caught her going over the fence once and yelled. She whimpered but kept on over. Then she stopped for some years, but I always had to keep an eye on her in the yard. She lived with me for 15 years.

Oh! I did answer part of your question, didn't I? Max leaves because he needs to explore. Nothing you are doing or not doing is causing him to leave.

Hope someone can answer the second half of your question -- I do envy Max that 5 acres.

Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Nov 7, 2010
Hi Jester615,

17 mos is a difficult age, it is like a teenager in person. Also, Max's breed suggests he likes to explore more as kjd said.

How long have you had him? Did you have enough time to bond with him? How obedient is he? Can you catch him in his action of digging, or is it always after the fact? I would think it will take a while to dig a hole for him to go through under the fence but how long do you leave him outside unsupervised?

Can you make a small more confined area closer to your house so that you can keep an occasional eye on when you let him out until he becomes more reliable not to leave your property? I don't think dogs need 5 acres in order to satisfy their needs both mentally and physically. I would rather raise my dogs to be reliable. It is like giving a car (total freedom) to your 13 year old son when he still hasn't grown to be reliable, responsible and mature enough to drive. If he gets in an accident you will feel terrible. Max can easily be in a dangerous situation, such as a car accident, attack by a coyote, or eating some pesticides depending on your environments.

You might want to use the small area (that should be surrounded by a more secure fence though) to let him out for a longer period and take him on a leash ouside the area as you keep training him and you can practice on his recall. You can also catch him in digging action so that you can reprimand him. As time goes (it might take a couple of years) you will have more confidence on him and he will be more obedient. This is just a transition and I don't think there is a easy and quick fix on the problem.

Good luck
Posted by KOPCaroline
Nov 7, 2010
Hey Jester,

Have you tried an exercise lead for Max? The big long metal and plastic leads that you can clip to another object or lead so that Max is still tied up but has a lot of room to move around as the lead slides up and down (or across) whatever you attach it to? They can work really well with laundry hangers or just buying two leads and slinging one between two structures.

If you contain Max, or decide to use something like an exercise lead, try giving him a sandbox or something he can dig in for fun. Bury toys and stuff that smells good in it, so he's encouraged to dig in it. This could help him associate an appropriate place to dig, where you praise him for digging and finding fun things, from inappropriate places, where he might be reprimanded for digging.

If you want to stop him from getting out of the yard, its either going to take some serious fence renovations, or keeping him contained/on a lead for most of him time outside. You could try walking him on a lead along the fence line, and anytime he shows interest in getting to the other side, give the lead a sharp tug, say "no" sternly, and lead him away from the fence.

As the other members have said, some of the behaviour might be age related, and its probably breed related, Weimies can be a bit of a handful, but stick with Max, and try some of the suggestions, and let us know how he goes
Posted by Jester615
Nov 7, 2010
We've had Max since he was 4 months old and he's a great dog except for being in need of some training. He's not much of a digger unless he's trying to get out and he's pretty good at digging a small hole and squeezing under. We'll give some of your ideas a try, thanx.