There are a number of ways to prevent your dog from roaming the streets. The easiest and most obvious solution is to construct a fence that is secure enough to keep your dog on your own property and out of your neighbour’s. In fact a simple rule of dog ownership is that if you have a dog you must have a fence.
The style of fence is very important and it must be designed safetly so that the dog cannot become trapped by the fence. Many dogs are excellent jumpers and climbers and even a three metre high fence can be ineffective to contain them.
In such cases, the cheapest and most effective means of preventing escape is to construct a ‘lean-to’ section, inclined inwards, on top of the fence in a similar fashion to the security fences that surround factories. The lean-to prevents dogs from climbing over the fence and also presents a visual barrier to dogs that can jump over high fences. This is far easier and cheaper to construct than placing another vertical section on top of the existing fence – which is still likely to be scaled by some dogs.
For dogs which dig, a narrow concrete seam under the fence in combination with a tension wire an inch or two about the ground is very effective. Concrete is cheap, and a bag of cement costing a few dollars will fix a lot of fencing.
Be especially careful if you have a picket fence around your property. Such fences have caused horrendous wounds to the legs of dogs that have attempted to jump over them and have caught their legs between the pickets. A solid wooden fence is much safer.
People in rented accommodation have an added problem. Understandably, they are reluctant to pay to construct a fence on a property they do not own. However they do have a responsibility to prevent their dog being injured on the street, or becoming a nuisance to neighbours. There is an inexpensive solution which is to construct a small pen or enclosure for the dog out of chain wire so the dog is confined safely. The pen should include shelter from the sun and rain and, of course, watering and feeding facilities.
You can train a dog not to jump fences but this takes time. If you are present when your dog jumps the fence then simple discipline is often effective.
Once Rover has jumped over the fence and is running free, it is a ridiculous practice to call him to you and then thrash him with a newspaper or bare hand. The dog associates the discipline it receives with the last thing it did – which in this case was to come to you in response to your command.
Do not be surprised when Rover jumps the fence again, as he certainly will, and then refuses to come when you call him.
The “Bad Dog-Good Dog” Technique
Discipline needs to come before the dog has vaulted the fence. Keep a wary eye on him from a window and use voice discipline when he approaches the fence with intent to jump. Bellow “No” out of the window like a bull with a bellyache.
Then call the dog to you in a firm but pleasant voice and, when the dog obeys this command, praise it enthusiastically. This positive response makes the message clearer to the dog than a chastisement alone. Done often enough, it is possible to condition a dog to come to you for a pat instead of jumping a fence.
It is often very useful to have a problem dog desexed if it is regularly roaming the suburbs. Male dogs will roam looking for sexually active females, especially if the dog can detect the scent of a female in the neighbourhood. Castration is quite effective in preventing roaming if this is the reason for the dog’s wanderlust.
For further information on preventing roaming, please contact the Animal Control Officer on (07) 4783 9800 or your local vet.