Have you heard the phrase “good fences make good neighbors?” Well, good dog fences make for good dog neighbors as well! If your dog is barking while in the backyard, you need to be sure to choose the right type of fence for your dog to help solve your problem and not make it worse. Here are our 3 tips for preventing your dog from barking while in the yard.
1. Install a true privacy fence.
Many dogs who bark while let out in the yard are experiencing “barrier frustration.” When your dog can see and smell things going on in your neighbor’s yard, such as your neighbor’s dog, children, or grilled hot dogs, but can’t access those things, he becomes frustrated and barks. In order to prevent this behavior, you need to eliminate some of the stimulus that is causing your dog’s agitation.
An open fence, like chain link or aluminum, creates a yard barrier while allowing you to see past your property. This solution, however, lets your dog see into other yards (or wooded or public areas) as well, increasing agitation. A true privacy fence, with wood or vinyl panels with no spaces in between or open decorative work, will block your dog’s view and help keep him calm. It will also help prevent barrier frustration in your neighbor’s dogs, if they cannot see your dog!
Fence height is also key. Your fence should be high enough to discourage your dog from jumping. Obviously, a larger or more athletic dog may need a taller fence than a small dog. Additionally, a large dog may be able stand on their hind legs and look over a smaller fence, exacerbating the barking problem. Most fences come in 6 foot heights, though 8 foot fences are also common. Check with local ordinances to see how high you can go.
2. Accentuate your fence with escape-proof landscaping.
Vinyl and wood privacy fence panels are usually installed just above the ground to discourage any mildew growth or insect infestation. Unfortunately, this can sometimes leave small gaps that allow your dog to sniff the other side – and possibly your neighbor’s dog! This can cause barking and also may lead to digging when your dog tries to get to whatever is on the other side. Hardscaping with gravel or stones or planting bushes or other plants can help fill in those areas and dissuade your dog from hanging out near the bottom of the fence – and probably barking.
Be sure not to place items your dog can climb near the fence. A dog who likes to jump or climb might use trellises, raised garden beds, or a garden hose storage box to investigate what’s on the other side of the fence – or to better see and bark at what’s over there. Check out this blog post for more tips on preventing security risks.
3. Make sure to focus on playtime – together.
Building playtime into your dog’s schedule will help keep her happy and secure – and less likely to bark at her fence. When you play with your dog both in and out of the yard, she will be stimulated in a good way, not in a negative, I-must-see-what-else-is-happening-over-there way. Long walks around the neighborhood will allow her to see what’s going on outside the fence and react to it in an appropriate way. Then, when she’s in the yard, she’ll be focused on her own yard and not your neighbor’s.
Be sure to actively play with your dog while she’s in your yard as well. Constantly putting her outside unsupervised is an invitation for her to start to explore – often ending up in a negative situation. She could become bored and end up barking due to canine obsessive-compulsive disorder, or begin barking due to aggression if she doesn’t have enough interaction. Rather than leaving her in the yard alone all day, use the yard as a special treat where you both go to play ball after work. Your dog will begin to enjoy the yard and not find it stressful.
If she’s really interested in the dog on the other side of the fence, host a doggy meet-and-greet! Start off in a neutral territory and slowly introduce your dogs. Your dog may be barking and showing aggression while in your yard, but most dogs don’t demonstrate aggression in other places or when they actually meet dogs face-to-face. Be sure to introduce dogs safely by ensuring they are on leads when introduced. Ask your veterinarian or pet trainer for doggy introduction tips.
Ready to institute step one of your no-barking solution?
A privacy fence may help break your dog’s barking habit. We love dogs, are great at installing dog fences, and even have our own dogs (and fences), so we are happy to discuss options with you. We can also give you landscaping tips to help your dog – and your fence. Give us a call today to start planning your dog fence!