If I were to ever lose one of my dogs, I would be devastated. For me, it would be like losing a family member, and I am sure most pet parents feel the same.

You may not be able to prevent the death of a beloved dog, but you can certainly take steps to stop your dog from getting out of your fenced-in yard. You can do this by making your yard secure so they are unable to find a way out. Here are 4 things you can do to escape proof your yard for your dog:

1) Landscape the Area Along the Fence

The more obstacles a dog has to get through to get out of their yard, the less likely they will try. Plant low-growing, hearty bushes and shrubs to block the dogs way. This way they can’t get to the dirt to dig, or find an open area in the fencing.

Bushes and plants that have vegetation closer to the ground work better than those with space between the ground and the base of the plant. If there is space around the based of the shrub or bush it actually encourages digging, because dogs can create a cool, shady place on a hot day. So try to have most of your landscaping low to the ground around the base of your fences.

2) Fence Maintenance

Do you remember in Jurassic Park when they talked about the velociraptors attacking the fence to check for weaknesses? It reminds me of a story I heard about a dog that was so determined to escape, that she did just that; she kept checking the fence in her yard for points of weakness. Dixie pushed against every hole to see if there was a way she could squeeze through it. Then she checked the weakness of each board. One day she found a spot, hit it hard with her head to break it, and escaped through the new hole that she made.

The point of the story? Never underestimate what a dog determined to escape will do; make sure your fence is strong and free of spaces that your pet can be slip through.

3) Keep Elevated Structures Away From Fence

Do not give your dog a free way out by putting elevated structures next to the fence. They can use these structures, like a doghouse or deck, to get up and over the fence.

4) Play With Your Dog

Just spending time with your pet will go a long way to keeping them from trying to escape. I know this isn’t physically a way of escape-proofing your yard, but think of it as a psychological deterrent. A dog that gets attention and plenty of physical exercise is usually too tired or has no desire to go look for trouble on the other side of the fence.

Other Options To Escape Proof Your Yard

Even if you follow all of these steps, some dogs are just bound and determined to escape. This is when you may need to bring in the help of your vet or a dog-obedience professional or trainer. And, as a last resort, it may be time to find your dog a new home that is better suited for them.