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Ask Jane Lefler Your Own Question
Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 18962
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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I have done everything you could possibly think of 5 year

Customer Question

I have done everything you could possibly think of for my 5 year old English staffy to keep her in the yard. She is very loved, comes in and out of the house as she pleases, sleeps inside, gets walked, gets bones given to play with and we play with toys with her. She has these crazy anxiety attacks and we've tried aromatherapy oils, Valium doesn't even seem to work and I don't want to have to pump my pup with drugs. She jumps the fence, digs under it, EATS through it! Body slams it. There's no clear reason for it as we think we fix it and then there's a new reason! Or a new way for her to escape! Inbetween these psychotic episodes she's a beautiful, well behaved, healthy dog. We've put run around the bottom of the fences and extended the heights of them so they are too tall but any tiny Part we might not have done she gets to and finds a way out. This has been happening since she was a puppy and its so much work to try and solve it, stressful when she gets out and wonder if she'll get hit by a car and it's really bad for her health!! Especially eating the wooden fence palings! She even ate the scirting edge of the Laundry door trying to get out. My mum has definitely had enough and we don't know what to do. It's become so extreme that we think she may actually have something wrong going on in her brain, can dogs have mental issues like hearing voices?! I would hate to have to get her put down is there anything you know of that could explain it that we won't have already tried ?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 9 months ago.

Hi JaCustomer,

My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

I breed rottweilers and have 5 of them now and have owned as many as 8 at one time, not counting puppies over the last 20 years. Plus I have some smaller dogs as well. We have had escape artists many times in the past and there are actually some very effective ways to keep a dog in. While dogs love being with their owners, they also love walks and interacting with other dogs too. It may just be her desire to socialize with other dogs or it may be her prey drive. She sees another animal outside the yard and needs to be outside in order to get to it. If she isn't fixed, then it could be her drive to mate as well.

Since I don't know exactly everything you have tried, I'll give you the various ways that I have found to be effective. One thing that has to be done is the whole job needs to be done. I notice you stated that if you miss one little place, she finds it and gets out. We went through that as well which is why you need to complete the job at one time so everywhere she goes she finds she can not get through. Right now it seems she has learned that if she keeps on trying, she'll find a weak spot. So while you are trying any of the techniques I suggest, keep her inside or on a leash until you have completed the containment system.

I'm going to list all the techniques. You can pass them on to your family. I have found a good method of keeping a dog from digging under a fence. You purchase chicken wire and attach one edge to the fence at the bottom with staples if wood and ties if chainlink. You then bend it so the chicken wire lies on the ground around the perimeter. You can bury it with a thin layer of dirt or let the grass grow through it. Either way, a dog does not like the feel of the chicken wire on his nails and is unable to dig out. It needs to be chicken wire to stop the digging. It needs to be either secured to the ground with yard staples or buried slightly. Once the grass grows up, the chicken wire becomes firmly fixed in place.

You have extended the fence upward to help prevent her jumping straight over but there are also ways you can extend a fence upwards that can also help prevent a dog from jumping or climbing over. One way is to get the barbed wire support to attach to the top of your fencing angled in. Here are the type of supports I'm talking about.

http://fencesupplyinc.com/shop/chain-link/chain-link-fence-parts.html

http://www.hisltd.co.uk/Welded-Barbed-Wire-Brackets--Left-.html

One is for chain link and the other is for wood or other material. You angle it inward and run chicken wire or small holed field fencing along the braces attached to the top of the fence. The angling in makes the fence to "wide" to jump over and if she tries to climb over, she will end up almost upside down and can't get over the fence.

Here is another method that stops a dog from climbing over a fence.

https://www.facebook.com/RSPCAAustralia/photos/a.89644227983.87764.25261457983/10151932271357984/?type=1&theater

A more practical and nicer looking solution in my opinion is installing an electric wire around the perimeter of the property similar to what they use for horses and cows but a much smaller voltage. They make plastic holders for the wire that attach to chain link or you can use some plastic fence posts to hold the electric wire itself. The following type works well.

http://www.ruralking.com/4-white-poly-step-in-electric-fence-post.html

If secued directly to the fence, you can run one close to the top of the fence if a dog is jumping over and / or one about 6 inches or so from the bottom. One controller should power both wires. If you use additional fence posts, you can run 2 or three strands on the post and position the posts about a foot or two inside the existing fence. They electric wire does shock, but I can assure you that it is not a bad shock as I personally have touched it and got shocked before I would allow it to be used for my rotties. It only took my dogs getting shocked once each to learn to stay away from the wire. My dogs would pull the chain link off the bottom rail of their kennel and fencing too. They would grab fencing and tug and pull until they worked one strand free and wiggle through the subsequent hole. I've had diggers as well and it is amazing how little of a hole it needs to be for them to wiggle through. I used 2 strands of electric wire and it solved the problem. The following site has the main unit though the next site sells complete kits. Here are some sites that sell the unit.

http://www.lowes.com/pd_375464-1558-EA2M-FS___?Ntt=pet+electric+fence&UserSearch=pet+electric+fence&productId=4755297

http://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/zareba-2-mile-ac-low-impedance-fence-charger

It needs to be a pet fence charger and not ones designed for large livestock. The two I have listed are designed for dogs and small pets. The following page lists various other things you may need and the actual wire you need. You will also need a grounding rod for this system.

http://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/catalog/farm-ranch/fencing/electric-fencing

This method works well. Common field fencing with a two wire strand electric fence inside the perimeter and contained my rottweiler and my chihuahua inside the front yard. I have quite a lot of customers that have used this method of containment. One enclosed his whole 2 acres with just 3 strands and kept 4 german shepherds contained for the last 5 years. The only escape he had was the first week when the electricity failed. The dogs were not yet used to the fence so when the electric failed, they went through it as they were still testing the fence. After the first month or so, they wouldn't even get closer than a few feet and when the electric fails, they still stay off the fence line. He did not have another fence in place already.

Of course you could also use shock collars and underground fence or instant fence system. The dog would need to wear an electric fence collar. The above electric fence system usually runs under $100 or so. An underground fence system can be cheaper if you buy second hand online but the instant wireless system usually runs more. These work well too but the batteries in the collars do tend to need replacing on a regular basis as well. See some of these below.

http://www.petsmart.com/dog/fence-systems/cat-36-catid-100015

As I mentioned, many clients use the above methods successfully for dog breeds known to be powerful, stubborn and strong willed like staffordshire terriers, pit bulls, german shepherds, chows and rottweilers and has worked well to keep them contained.

I hope this information is helpful to you. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer positively so I am compensated for my time.

If you have questions in the future that you wish me to answer, you may click here and bookmark the page or make it a favorite. It is best to put my name "JANE" in the question as well.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 9 months ago.
Hi Karleigh,
I'm just following up on our conversation about Coco. How is everything going?
Jane Lefler

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