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How High Should a Dog Fence be for a Lab?

How High Should a Dog Fence be for a Lab?

A Labrador is a pretty energetic dog. Its agility and athleticism are amazing.

For dog owners, however, this impressive trait presents a problem in certain areas.

Labradors, especially if untrained, for instance, are prone to jumping over barriers such as fences.

They do this not because of wanting to escape but because of legitimate factors like curiosity or boredom.

Dog owners rightly fear that this could land their dogs into trouble such as getting hurt or being hit by a car.

The best way of containing such risks is to have a fence high enough to confine the dog to the home or yard.

However, given the lab’s energy, what kind of height is sufficient to effectively keep the lab in?  

Let’s find out…

How High Can Labradors Jump?

For us to establish the best fence height that can help keep a lab in, we need to figure out how high these dogs can jump.

So, how high can labs jump?

Well, labs can jump up to 4-5 feet without significant muscle strain, thanks to their size and athletic nature.

So, if you have a fence that is in this height range, there are high chances that your lab will be jumping over it.

It is worth mentioning that most Labradors can jump at the mentioned height range even without training.

Again, if your lab is not trained to stay in your yard, there are high chances that he will jump out.

But Labs Aren’t Great Jumpers?

Well, you are right…

Compared to Papillions, greyhounds, Shetland sheepdogs, border collies, and other dog breeds that are known to jump high, Labradors aren’t suitable as jumpers.

When it comes to jumping, part of the challenge for Labradors is their body composition.

Labs have “short-coupled” bodies designed to provide strength and endurance for running in the fields and retrieving wounded ducks or chasing after pheasants.

This body type comes with extra weight which limits these dogs from jumping straight up, especially from a standing position.  

However, labs have muscular legs that still enable them to jump forward well. This is why they can still manage to cross a 4-5 feet fence with ease.

Hopefully, you can now see why you may need to keep your fence taller despite the fact that labs aren’t great jumpers. 

6-7 feet Fence is Recommended

If you are looking for a fence height that your lab will not jump over, 6-7 feet is highly recommended.

How do we know?

Well, a good dog fence should be at least 3 times a dog’s height at the shoulder.

And a sturdy, well-balanced lab should stand from 21.5-24.5 inches at the shoulder depending on the gender.

This means that a good fence for a lab should be between 65-75 inches high, which translates to 6-7 feet.

Despite their athletic DNA, labs aren’t good jumpers—as we’ve established in the previous section.

So, at 6-7 feet, you can rest easy that your lab won’t manage to jump the fence.

But There Is A Small Caveat…

While labs may not jump over a 6-7 feet fence, some may attempt to climb it.

A determined lab is capable of climbing a fence of practically any height.

The determination, dedication, and intelligence of labs can quickly propel them to figure out how to climb a fence of any height, especially if the incentive is there.

Besides, your lab may not necessarily need to jump 6-7 feet to clear a 6-7 feet fence!

See, there are fences that may have support features at about 3-4 feet off the ground. Your lab can use these supports for a turbo boost mid-jump!

Perfect examples are wood fences that are usually constructed with some sort of support board that runs parallel to the ground.

These support boards can easily give just enough of a ledge to your lab’s front feet.

This means that your lab can actually jump over your tall fence in two jumps.

So, if you are worried about your lab getting over your fence, then you are not still out of the woods yet with a 6-7 foot tall fence.

To be safe, pay close attention to the design of your fence. If there are supports or things like poles of wood, a slope of the ground, or a drum near the fence, consider removing them or improvising that part of the fence further.

Alternatively, invest in a fence that somehow turns in at the top.

What Makes Labradors Want to Jump over Fences?

Understanding why labs jump over fences can help you to deter the habit.

If anything, a lab that’s trying to jump over a fence may not be trying to escape your home.

Rather, he’s probably being driven by natural instincts and energy.  

Here are some of the most common reasons that may drive your lab to jump over your fence:

I. Boredom

Just like us humans, labs get bored when confined for too long in one place with nothing to do or when they are not engaged mentally.

 Jumping over the fence seems like a reasonable way for him to get out of his state of boredom.

You can preoccupy your dog with enriched activities to remove boredom. 

II. Chasing Something or Animals

Due to their hunting instincts, sometimes a lab may chase after something such as a rabbit that is within the compound or outside the fence.

When its quarry escapes over the fence, the lab may follow in pursuit. 

Using a solid fence can be effective at shutting out sights that attract your lab such as butterflies or squirrels that your lab may chase after.

Labs will also be attracted by smells outside the fence and want to explore them. 

III. Social Nature 

 The lab’s friendly, outgoing nature is guaranteed to make him want to meet strangers or other dogs.

So, it will jump over the fence if there are other dogs or people on the other side. 

Taking your dog out for regular walks can satisfy this craving for company.

IV. Lack of Exercise

 If you are not taking your dog for regular walks, it may jump over fences as a way of releasing his pent-up energy.

Walks help to provide your lab with its exercise needs and also to satisfy his desire for play. 

V. Curiosity

In keeping with their intelligence, Labs have a strong curiosity about their surroundings.

Finding out what’s hidden behind a fence seems a good way to satisfy some of this curiosity.

This too will drive it to jump over the fence.

Regularly exposing your lab to new experiences can help to curb some of this curiosity.

There is not much to fulfill his curiosity when he is mostly confined to his yard, so you can arrange to spend time together to give it new exposure.

VI. Poor Feeding or Care

 If you are not feeding your lab or giving him enough care, it’s obvious that he will try to escape in order to find a solution. 

Other Factors to Consider When Erecting Your Fence

A. Make the Fence Climb-Proof

Though a Labrador is a better jumper than a climber, it will use its paws to exploit gaps or holes in the fence to climb out.

So make sure your fence is smooth or climb-proof to offer no such escape aids.

It’s for this reason that chain-linked fences are not effective unless they are curved at the top and are at least 8 feet. 

Besides making your fence climb-proof, ensure that there is nothing around the fence that can give your lab a boost to climb.

Remove planters, drums, poles of wood or anything near the fence that your lab can climb onto along the fence.

Also, the fence should be extended below the ground by about 18 to 34 inches. This deters your lab from digging underneath it to make a breakout bid. 

B. Use High-Quality and Durable Materials

The fence should also be sturdily built as the massive lab can have the strength to knock down weak fences.

Using high-quality materials like high-end wood and vinyl for your fence not only prevents breakage from your labs but your lab is also prevented from chewing on it.

C. Consider Giving Your Lab Some Privacy

As aforementioned, your lab may get the urge to jump over your fence if sees squirrels, others dogs, and people on the other side of the fence.

If you can make him not see what’s on the other side, he will definitely be calmer and won’t be tempted to climb the fence.

He will not be visible to other dogs as well, who may agitate him by barking.

Instead of a chain link that he can look through, consider investing in solid privacy fences that will offer him ultimate privacy.

D. Train your lab to keep to its yard

You can take advantage of the fact that labs are highly trainable animals.

By using some simple techniques, you can teach your lab not to jump fences.

This can be so effective that labs will not even jump over short fences that take very little effort.  

One way to do this is through invisible fences.

Invisible fences mark the boundary which you want to discourage your lab from crossing.

Through communication between a transmitter located at the boundary and a radio collar your lab wears, your lab gets instant feedback (usually a static shock) when crossing the boundary. 

An invisible fence may also come in handy if your municipal laws bar you from installing high fences.  

Check out the latest prices for top invisible fence brands on Amazon here

Another way to train your dog is simply to reward good behavior.

Whenever you see your lab intending to jump the fence, have them come into the house for a treat to reward compliance for not jumping.

This makes them know that it’s good behavior not to jump. 

E. Avoid Extensions

Don’t be tempted to add extensions to make the fence high for your lab, especially as he grows from puppy to adulthood.

 If you do, your lab is likely to figure out how to jump a little higher every time you add an extension.

Your best bet is to replace the old fence with a new 6-7 foot option—instead of making the additions.

Parting Thoughts

No one can put a stop to a Labrador’s playful and inquisitive nature—which hardly anyone would complain about.

However, given a chance, your lab may venture where you may not want him to.

Keeping this cheery attitude within healthy bounds is what a well-built 6-7 feet fence is designed for.

You and your lab will be a happier lot when your lab keeps to his yard.

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