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Can a dog jump a 4 ft fence? (Or 5 or 6 ft)

Can a dog jump a 4 ft fence? (Or 5 or 6 ft)

Fences are the best way to keep your dog safe and in your yard and to keep the dog out of mischief outside the yard. Dogs are ingenious and smart. If a dog wants to get out badly enough, many are able to either get over or under a fence. Some dogs are excellent jumpers, and some are able to climb up enough to tumble over. A four-foot fence is good enough to keep a lot of dogs inside, but some can outsmart even a five or six-foot fence. Digging their way under a fence is more likely than jumping over it because almost all dogs can dig.

Can a dog jump a 4 ft fence?

The simple answer is yes, many dogs can jump over a four-foot fence. Larger dogs like Border Collies, Labs, Rottweilers, Pitbulls, and German Shepards are all capable of clearing such a fence. Larger dogs can also break down a fence over time if it is not sturdy enough.

The athletics of the dog also plays a major part. Just because a dog is big does not mean she can jump. Some are better than others. Overweight dogs might also have a problem jumping that high. But a dog in good shape that has a lot of energy, and is physically agile, might surprise you with its leaping ability.

Fast dogs are also usually good jumpers. Greyhounds are very capable of leaping over a fence if they can get a bit of a running start.  Most hounds are also capable jumpers and could easily get over a fence that high.

Some relatively small dogs can also get over fences. Some climb over instead of jumping.  They can paw their way most of the way up, and once they get at least half their body weight on top of the fence, it is easy to fall over on the other side.

A four-foot fence might be fine for very small dogs, but there are a lot of dogs that are capable of getting over a four-foot fence.

Can a dog jump a 5 or 6 ft fence?

For most breeds of dogs, a five or six-foot fence is good enough to keep them inside. Still, it is possible in some cases for a dog to get over a fence that high. The standard height for backyard fences is around six feet or even higher. 

A dog might be able to climb part of the way up and then tumble over, as already noted. Dogs can be very clever. Some have boundless energy, and can eventually weaken a fence by trying to get over the fence.

Some dogs are better jumpers than others. A little agility can also help a dog get over something that he is not able to leap over in one bound. Some dogs can climb a little, and that little extra is enough in some cases to make a way of escape.  A six-foot-high fence will keep all but the most determined and most athletic dogs inside.

How high a fence can a dog jump?

The world record for jumping a fence is six-feet and three inches, which was done by a greyhound in 2017. Most dogs will be well below the world record in their jumping ability, so if you have a six-foot-high fence you should be in good shape. Fences that are four feet high or less are more easily jumped over.  Only very small dogs will not be able to leap over a four-foot fence.

Bigger dogs can jump higher than small dogs in most cases. A lot of dogs can easily jump higher than they are tall. If you already have a fence, consider what breed of dog might be able to jump over the one you have. If you don’t have a fence, you could take your dog’s jumping ability into consideration when installing one.

Some popular breeds that are excellent jumpers include:

  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • Greyhound
  • Border Collie
  • Australian Shepherd
  • German Shepherd.
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Husky

Some small dogs are also great jumpers and can jump two or three times their height. Some are very smart and athletic, so they are able to climb some, or use things like fence posts or supports to help them get over a fence.

A lot depends on the individual dog and how badly the dog wants out of the yard. Keep in mind, too, that a dog could outgrow a fence. What worked when she was a pup may not work for an adult dog. 

How to prevent my dog from jumping a fence?

The fence is a deterrent to leaving the yard, but it is not foolproof.  You could consider making your fence higher. The type of fence is also important. There are things you can put on top of the fence, and that can get expensive.  Training your dog to not be aggressive, and to not jump on the fence, is a good option as well. This should prevent most problems, but dogs are still dogs, and there are times when that nature will overcome training.

Part of any strategy should be to try to understand the dog, or think about things from the dog’s point of view. There could be a lot of reasons your dog is getting out. At times, it is just the dog’s natural response to certain stimulation.

Why do dogs want to get over a fence?

Boredom or loneliness is a big reason for dogs to act out and to get in trouble.  The solution here is to make sure you spend time with your dog, and that the dog feels like part of the family. A dog that is left alone a lot outside may not feel like he belongs to the pack. A dog that feels he belongs to the pack is less likely to want to leave.

Getting plenty of exercise for the dog is another way to prevent her from wanting to get outside of the fence. A tired dog has less motivation. 

Hearing other dogs may make them want to go to where the other dog is for socialization purposes. Having another dog is an option, but making sure the dog has a lot of family time should also help.

Mating can be an issue for dogs that have not been neutered. If a dog has been neutered, it will not feel the urge to get out and be with other dogs.

Some dogs are protective by nature, and they could try to protect their pack by going after what they see as a potential threat. Training can help here, but some breeds are going to be worse than others in this area. 

Preventative measures

Understanding why the dog acts in certain ways can help, but there are some things you can do to keep your dog inside the fence.

  • Give your dog lots of attention and exercise.
  • Provide plenty of toys to keep them occupied when you cannot be there. 
  • Have a fence six-foot-high to keep most dogs inside
  • Make sure your materials are sturdy
  • Plant shrubbery around the edges of the yard inside the fence, making the fence less accessible.
  • Don’t have a see-through fence, which removes visual stimulation that may make some dogs want to get out to investigate.

Can a dog dig under a fence?

Only the most athletic dogs can jump over high fences. Almost any dog can dig under a fence. Even a small dog can eventually dig his or her way out.  Some dogs are natural diggers, such as Labrador Retrievers, and you will have a hard time keeping them from digging in general. 

Some dogs are not natural diggers, and they are not likely to put much effort into digging under a fence. A natural digger, however, may do so just because she can.  Dogs that are diggers and have a lot of energy, can get under a fence fairly quickly. If there are no other impediments than dirt, it may only take a few minutes.

The reason dogs may dig under fences is the same reason some might try to jump over them. They both want the same thing, which is to get to the other side.

Digging under a fence is a possibility for more kinds of dogs, and is an issue you may face more than a dog trying to jump over.

How to prevent my dog from digging under the fence?

To some extent, keeping your dog from digging under the fence is similar to the ways you keep them from jumping over.

Keeping the dog from getting bored or feeling lonely will go a long way in keeping them inside the fence. For smaller dogs and even a lot of mid-sized dogs, keeping them inside the house is a great way of accomplishing this feat. Giving your dog toys or things to chew on can keep them occupied so they are not just digging for their own amusement.

Training a dog not to dig, especially if that is what the breed does, will be hard. It can be done, but you can’t always be watching. Scolding a dog after the fact does more harm than good. If the dog is not much of a natural digger, scolding them a few times when you see them digging might be enough to prevent them from trying it very often.

Working on behavior is one good thing to do. Dogs like routine and do what they are accustomed to doing. If they are accustomed to being aggressive and trying to break through a fence, that is what they will continue to do. One day they will succeed if they stay at it long enough, or if the stimulus gets strong enough.

If training does not work, you may need to put a physical barrier in place so it is not physically possible to dig under.  A breed that is a strong digger will need this approach. A dog whose natural response is to start digging will need this approach.

Barriers to digging

Put some large rocks, bricks, or stepping stones around the inside of the fence. This will make digging under nearly impossible because the dog can’t keep those things out of the way while digging. 

Burying some chicken wire near the fence is also a deterrent, as the dog cannot dig through the wire. This can cause your dog to get injured if a toe gets caught in the wire.  

A similar approach is to bend some wire into an “L” shape and attach it to the bottom of the fence. This also makes a natural barrier to the fence.

Shrubbery or other big plants inside the fence would also be a physical deterrent. 

Some breeds that love to dig

  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • Dachshund
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Beagle
  • Airedale
  • Smooth Fox Terrier
  • Labrador Retrievers