Fence fighting with the neigbours dog – how to stop it!

October 3, 2022
October 3, 2022

5 Ways to Stop Dog Fence Fighting

Having a fenced backyard for your dog to run and play in is the dream of many pet parents, but that dream can quickly become trouble if you share a fence with another dog. Fence fighting can often be mistaken for playing, but it’s aggressive behavior that needs to be resolved quickly. 

Read on to learn more about what fence fighting is, what causes it, and how you can stop fence aggression in your dog. 

What is Dog Fence Fighting?

Dog fence fighting happens when there are two dogs on opposite sides of a barrier, typically a fence between two adjacent properties. Dogs experiencing fence aggression typically bark, lunge, and may even attempt to climb the fence. 

Even dogs that show no signs of reactivity toward dogs in a different setting may suddenly show these symptoms when a barrier is put between them and another dog. 

There are two common causes of dog fence fighting: barrier frustration and territorial instincts.

Barrier Frustration 

Barrier frustration is a phenomenon that happens when a dog is presented with a stimulus but the access to that stimulus is blocked.

Your dog is shown another dog on the other side of the fence, but they have no way of actually interacting with that dog. Because of this, your dog gets frustrated and that can quickly snowball into aggression. 

The trigger for your dog’s fence aggression also doesn’t have to be visual—it can be triggered by the sound of another dog as well. 

Territorial Instincts

Many dogs feel an instinctual need to protect and defend what they feel is their territory. 

When your dog sees or hears another dog through the fence, they don’t understand that the barrier is dividing two different properties. Instead, they feel like the strange dog is invading their home, and they turn to aggressive behaviors as a means of self-defense. 

The fence acts as a barrier between the two dogs which only amplifies your dog’s anxiety and frustration. 

How to Stop Fence Fighting Behavior in Dogs

If your dog is currently engaged in a fence fight with your neighbor’s dog, it’s important to take steps to correct the behavior as quickly as possible. Here are five ways to help stop your dog’s fence-fighting behavior. 

  • Work on Obedience Training

The first step towards curbing any unwanted behavior in your dog is to establish a solid foundation of training.

When dogs are engaged in fence fighting, they’re likely well over their threshold for learning and listening, so it can be tough to get their attention. 

Working with your dog on basic commands, especially in a distracting environment, can help you get your dog’s attention faster or even prevent the fence fighting in the first place with a preemptive command. 

Important obedience commands to work with your dog on include sit, stay, and a reliable recall. 

  • Practice Impulse Control

Once your dog has a solid understanding of basic commands, you can move on to another important training skill: impulse control. 

Impulse control is your dog’s ability to stop and think about a behavior rather than acting on their first instinct. Typical impulse control training involves teaching a “leave it” command that you can use to keep your pup from picking up potentially toxic items off the ground. 

The same concept of “leave it” can be applied to other situations where you want your dog to practice control, like not reacting to your neighbor’s dog when they hear them in the backyard. 

To initially train the command, you’ll need some high-value treats. Place a treat in the open palm of your hand and wait for your dog to go after it. Immediately close your hand to keep the treat from your dog.

Open your hand again, and watch your dog’s reaction. If they hesitate to reach for it, reward your dog with the treat. Reward them for short hesitations at first, then slowly build the duration. 

When your dog understands “leave it,” you can work on translating the command into other situations. For example, tell your dog to “leave it” if they start to bark at your neighbor’s dog. If the barking stops, even for a small moment, reward them.

  • Keep Your Dog Leashed in the Backyard at First

While it’s tempting to let your dog run free in the backyard, it’s hard to work on training new behaviors without also controlling your dog’s environment. 

Stopping fence fighting behaviors requires consistent positive reinforcement and counter-conditioning training. If your dog can run out into the backyard, they can easily run up to the fence, start barking, and undo the progress you’ve made with their training up to that point. 

Instead, take your dog out on a leash when the other dog is in the backyard. Start at a large distance away from the fence and reward your dog for calm, quiet behavior. Over time, with your dog still on a leash, you can shorten the distance between your dog and the fence, rewarding each step of the way for calm behavior. 

Once you’ve worked with your dog for long enough on the leash, you can start to work with your pup off-leash. This is where the obedience fundamentals come in because your dog will need a reliable recall. 

  • Build a Visual Barrier

If you have a chain link fence or a fence where your dog can easily see into your neighbor’s yard, it’s a good idea to build a better visual barrier. For many dogs, out of sight is really out of mind, and if they can no longer see the neighbor’s dog, their hostility and anxiety may go away. 

If building a taller, more solid fence isn’t an option, consider planting a garden of dog-friendly plants that can act as a visual buffer. 

  • Talk to Your Neighbors

Sometimes the best way to tackle an issue is to talk directly to your neighbors. While they won’t be able to completely solve your dog’s fence reactivity, you can help them understand the issue and create a plan of action with them. 

You may schedule a walk or a playdate with your neighbor’s dog to help your dogs become better acquainted. You can also learn your neighbor’s schedule, so you can stagger when your dogs are outside to prevent possible fence fighting. 

Is Your Dog Struggling with Fence Aggression?

Dog fence fighting is a common struggle for many dog parents, but there are ways that you can help your dog feel less anxious and hostile toward your neighbor’s dog. 

With a better understanding of what’s triggering your dog’s reactivity and consistent training sessions, you can help make the backyard a fun, happy place for your pup again.

 

You may also like

This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see our full disclosure for further information.

0 Comments

Related posts

All About Puppy Teething (& 6 Tips To Get You Through It)

All About Puppy Teething (& 6 Tips To Get You Through It)

Teething is so hard on your puppy. If your puppy has suddenly started to chew on everything in your home, or your new furry friend is sinking their teeth into your furniture or your fingers more than they were last week? They’ve likely entered the teething phase of...

read more
The Best Time to Train Your Puppy 

The Best Time to Train Your Puppy 

Bringing home a new puppy is an exciting milestone for your family. While there are many fun memories to make with your furry friend, being a puppy parent is also a big responsibility, because a good dog is made from good breeding and good training! Hopefully, you've...

read more
Best Christmas Gifts For Dog Moms!

Best Christmas Gifts For Dog Moms!

With Christmas around the corner, for dog lovers, for your favourite dog mom (or dog dads!), you're looking for the best gifts, right? Well, that's where I'm here for you, because cherishing your fur baby? Is something I totally get, and it's something this Christmas...

read more
Goldendoodles: Everything you need to know about goldendoodles.

Goldendoodles: Everything you need to know about goldendoodles.

With a huge surge in popularity, the goldendoodle is one of the world's most fastly growing populations, and a gorgeous addition to any family. However, because of their cross-bred nature, and because they’re being bred at an astonishing rate, the needs of these dogs...

read more
How to Train an Aggressive Puppy

How to Train an Aggressive Puppy

Aggression in a puppy is something that causes pet parents to worry, understandably so! Afterall, it's not what you've imagined, is it? When you, as a new pet parents bring home their puppy for the first time, you likely imagine playtimes in the backyard, trips to the...

read more
All About Displacement Behaviours In Dogs

All About Displacement Behaviours In Dogs

Displacement is one of those things that gets overlooked a lot in dog behavior, and yet, it's a really effective way of moderating our dogs! Displacement behaviors are something that anxious dogs will offer a lot more than the average dog, they're silent...

read more
​ ​