Labradors are big, energetic dogs with their share of drooling and shedding. If you’re like me, you probably want to let your Labrador run in a fenced yard sometimes. Of course, you need to make sure that your Labrador won’t be able to jump your fence.
Labradors can jump most fences due to their size and athleticism. Their intelligence and determination enable them to jump over fences that are as high as five feet tall. Since Labs are so energetic, if they are untrained they will be more likely to jump fences than other breeds.
To prevent your Lab from jumping fences, you need to understand the reasons for jumping fences that I’ll discuss here. I’ll also give you some practical tips to keep your Lab from jumping over fences.
Why Your Labrador May Jump Fences
Your Labrador loves you more than just about anything. Why would they want to jump your fence and run off? In the vast majority of cases, a Lab that jumps fences is not trying to escape their home. Rather, they are driven to jump fences by their instincts and energy. Here are a few reasons that Labs might jump fences:
Labradors are naturally very curious dogs. It is this curiosity that builds into the focus that Labs need to be good hunting dogs. Your Labrador may jump your fence just because they are wondering what they may find on the other side. Jumping a fence because of curiosity becomes more likely if your Lab isn’t offered new experiences. If your Lab is spending more time locked out in the yard when they used to spend more time with you doing new things, jumping the fence becomes more likely.
Your Lab Isn’t Getting Enough Exercise
Labradors are some of the highest energy dogs around. Unfortunately, despite being the most popular dog in America for many years running, they aren’t necessarily a good fit for the average American energy level. If your Lab is only getting a couple of walks a day, they may be hyperactive. A hyperactive Lab may jump a fence and run away in search of adventure and exercise.
They Smell Something They Want To Meet Or Chase
Labradors are typically very gregarious dogs. They love meeting new people and other dogs. A potential playmate on the other side of the fence is a strong temptation. Your Lab may do their best to get over the fence to meet them.
Most Labs also display some level of prey drive, an essential characteristic for a hunting dog. If your Lab is aware of something enticing like a rabbit, they may jump the fence to chase it.
How To Train My Labrador Not To Jump Over A Fence
Labradors are highly trainable. You are likely to find that while Labradors can jump fences, you can train your Lab not to jump a fence. In fact, most Labradors can jump a standard 4-foot fence, but very few actually do it. Here’s how to train your Lab not to jump a fence:
Plenty Of Exercise And Enrichment
It is not reasonable to expect your Labrador to resist the urge to jump a fence if they do not have enough exercise. These high-energy dogs need plenty of opportunities to run. Practicing basic obedience and providing enrichment toys like food distributing toys can also help.
Discourage Your Lab From Pushing The Boundaries
Your Labrador will likely examine the fence and work up to jumping before they try to jump over. Watch your Lab closely for signs they may jump. Signs include jumping up to look over the fence or running and jumping next to the fence. Discourage this behavior by bringing your Labrador inside when you see it.
Needless to say, this training requires that you observe your dog when they are out in the yard. Your Labrador should never be left alone in the yard unsupervised if there is a risk of them jumping.
Try an Electric Fence
Electric barriers by themselves are unlikely to be effective for the average Labrador that really wants to cross the boundary. However, attaching an electric fence to a physical fence can make a big difference in training your Lab. If enrichment and discouragement haven’t worked, an electric fence can provide instantaneous feedback to keep your Labrador from jumping fences.
It’s no fun to cause your dog even a small amount of pain and surprise from a shock. However, it’s much better than the chance that your Labrador jumps a fence and gets hit by a car.
Reduce Your Labs Exposure To Stimulus
If there are constantly things on the other side of the fence that your Lab wants to get to, you’ll have a harder time training them. Sometimes it is better to reorganize your property and fencing to prevent your Lab from being constantly tempted. Consider fencing off a smaller portion of your yard to keep your Lab away from the stimulus.
Enroll in Obedience Training
It is important to understand that none of the above mentioned tips to stop will be effective if you haven’t taken your Lab through some form of basic obedience training.
I know from personal experience that the thought of going through a formalized training can cause a bit of anxiety. Cost, travel, and time commitments were all reasons that I never wanted to go through such a process early on. Thankfully, that no longer needs to be an issue!
Online dog training programs have really solved for this. Now, from the comfort of your own home, you can take your dog through a formalized, step-by-step training process that is highly effective.
No more travel. No more inconvenient scheduling. And no more excessive cost!
For under $50, you can put your Labrador through an entire training process in your home and within your schedule.
Check out Brain Training For Dogs by Adrienne Farricelli to see just how in depth this curriculum goes!
How High of a Fence Can a Dog Jump?
To feel confident that your dog won’t jump the fence, a 6-foot privacy fence is advisable. At this height, your dog probably won’t be able to jump it, although they may attempt to climb it.
Determined Labradors may be able to climb a fence of practically any height. However, if your Lab is a jumper rather than a climber, six feet should be sufficient. For Labs that turn to climbing when they can no longer jump, consider a fence that turns in at the top.
Keep Your Lab In Your Yard
The opportunity to run around in your yard is important for many Labs. Your Lab wants to soak up some sun and play in the grass and dirt. Playing in a yard also provides opportunities for additional exercise, which is very valuable to your Labrador. With the proper management and training, you can teach your Lab to stay in your yard.