You are here:

Dog Training/dog obsessed with fence


I have a rescue dog that seems to be constantly obsessed with the fence line. He runs up and down it, shoves his nose in the cracks, and recently has started to rip up the grass and dig several holes in an attempt to escape. Even if we exercise him it seems to make no difference. there is a dog along the back fence but so far the holes he digs are only on the sides where there nobody lives. we live on a street being built so there is alot of foot traffic around our house. Is there anyway to make this behavior stop? I am terrified that one day when I'm gone to long hes going to manage to dig out and get hit by a car.

Hi Nicole,
It is important to change this behavior for a few reasons.

He can get something called barrier frustration which is the frustration of not gaining access to dogs, squirrels, people, etc. on the other side of the fence. He can start to get aggressive.

It also sounds like he might be obsessive compulsive. Herding dogs are especially prone to this problem. With my clients I recommend that if the dog isn't hurting himself, you can manage it with redirecting him to another behavior. But, in this case it sounds like he might hurt himself or escape.

I would recommend that he is not in the yard by himself if he is exhibiting this behavior. Play with him, train him or gently hold him away from the fence so he doesn't continue this habit.

In extreme cases of OCD behavior, anti-anxiety medication can help.  

Dog Training

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Jeff Millman


I studied with Jean Donaldson in San Francisco in 2002. She is one of the foremost dog trainers anywhere and I sought her out and traveled from Chicago to work with her. I am expert in all phases of dog development in regards to training. I can offer advice from young puppies through adult including aggression, separation anxiety and barking. While aggression is often handled best in person by a skilled positive reinforcement trainer, a lot of advice can be spread in this forum. I have written EBooks on separation anxiety and barking and am currently writing a book about dog aggression.


I have been working as a full-time professional dog trainer since 2002. I only use positive reinforcement techniques and am well-versed in using the clicker. My clients do not have to use a clicker to have success using my techniques. I started teaching 14 classes a week for the first two years while I was building up my private practice, Chicago Paws. Since 2004 I have worked exclusively as a private trainer in the Chicago area. On January 1, 2007 I launched an online version of my business that can be viewed at Watch and Train. At you will find streaming videos for purchase that play directly on your computer and cover a variety of specific topics including house training, jumping, come when called, counter surfing and leash walking.

Association of Pet Dog Trainers

Dog training: I graduated with honors from Jean Donaldson's Academy for Dog Trainers in San Francisco, CA. I attended Karen Pryor;s Clicker Expo in Chicago, IL. I attended week-long APDT conferences in Portland Oregon, Orlando, Florida and Oakland, California. I attended a Pat Miller seminar in Chicago, IL. Previous education: Journalism and Fine Arts degree from Indiana University.

Past/Present Clients
You can view references

©2016 All rights reserved.