It is never a good feeling to have a dog that loves to run away from home. The environment outside the house can be a very risky place for our beloved pets. Accidents may happen or they can get into trouble. Understanding the common reasons why a dog may run away from its home is crucial. It lays the basic foundation on how best to approach the problem. So, before asking how to train a dog not to run away, it is best to equip yourself with the knowledge of the common reasons why dogs do so in the first place.
There are breeds that can grow very fond of and attached to their owners. In fact, this attachment is so strong that they do not want their owners out of their sight. These dogs are prone to separation anxiety. Labrador Retrievers, for all their gentleness and adorable nature, are notorious for separation anxiety. So are Border Collies, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, German Shepherds, Jack Russell Terriers, and many others. Because of this very strong desire to always be with their human owners, these dogs will also show an increased tendency to run away.
It is not so much a love for the outdoors that motivate them to run away. They are more determined to look for that one person they hold dear – you. In most cases, however, they may turn to destructive behaviors like digging in your backyard, barking nonstop, or destroying things. If you have an escape-proof system in your house, then it should not be a problem. But once an opportunity presents itself, then your dog may bolt out of a slightly open gate.
So how do you solve this? Well, addressing your canine friend’s separation anxiety issues should do the trick. If you are not familiar with how this is done, then a professional dog trainer-behaviorist can help you.
Related Post: GPS Trackers for Dogs
There are also dog breeds that run away from home because of their high prey drive. These canines are hard-wired for the chase. The moment they see anything that moves outside the fence, they will stop at nothing to get it. It does not matter if that “moving” object is another animal, a toy, or some other thing. For these predators, anything that moves is a potential prey.
In addition to their high prey drive, these dogs are intelligent and energetic. They will try to find a way to manage the obstacle that is preventing them from going after their prey. And their energy is limitless, too. The Rhodesian Ridgeback, Airedale Terrier, Xoloitzcuintli, Greyhound, Saluki, and the Pharaoh Hound are among the breeds of dogs that have a high prey drive.
While these dogs are genetically programmed for the hunt, it is possible to temper their hunting instincts with early training. Giving them plenty of interactive and highly stimulating activities also works wonders. The thing here is to give these dogs something more interesting and energy-draining to do. This will help them focus more on the “programmed’ hunt than what the outside world has to offer.
Sometimes, a dog escapes from the house because it sees an opportunity to do so. This often occurs among dogs that are known for escapism. These are the canine relatives of Houdini, capable of disappearing in an instant the moment an opportunity presents itself. They have the determination to show for it, too. Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, American Pit Bull Terriers, and Siberian Huskies are examples of these breeds.
There are also breeds that do not require a special talent for escapism. Their small frames are often enough to escape through the smallest of gaps in the fence. Chihuahuas and Yorkshire Terriers can slip through the grates of a metal grate. These small dogs can also go through a small hole under the fence.
Since the issue here is the presence of an opportunity, then one has to deny his or her pet this opportunity. Making sure that the gate does not have any openings which a dog can pass through can help. Inspecting the perimeter fence for any sign of damage is also one way of preventing a dog from running away. Making sure that the fence is high enough for your pet to leap or jump over is also helpful. Check out our guide on the best electric fence for dogs for more info.
Looking for a Mate
Looking for a mate is as natural as breathing. It is a fundamental requirement of life to help perpetuate the species. Without this natural process, it would be impossible to produce the next generation of dogs that will bring us happiness and joy. This is unless, of course, you’re into artificial insemination. But the fact of the matter is that all dogs will try to look for a mate when the right time comes. It is their natural “duty” to procreate.
A female dog in heat passing by your house will emit pheromones that attract potential mate. If your dog “senses” these chemical signals, it will also look for ways to get out of the house. It only needs a very small opening to have that big opportunity.
Since all dogs have the potential to escape because of their instinct to mate, one way you can address this is by having them spayed or neutered. Spaying and neutering dogs can help reduce a dog’s tendency to roam and look for a potential mate. Of course, you should still institute measures to prevent your pet from ever escaping.
There are dog breeds that run away because of fear. If you are not convinced, you may want to know that the 4th of July also happens to be that time of the year when a greater number of dogs run away from their homes. Aside from the fact that there are loud noises from the fireworks display, there are also a lot of people celebrating during this time of the year. All these can spook dogs since they have heightened senses. If the fireworks are already too loud for us, it’s a thousand-fold for dogs.
The 4th of July is not the only reason dogs can be fearful. Boisterous parties or severe thunderstorms can also scare them. If these dogs do not have a crate or if they were never trained to like the crate, they will try to look for something “safer” to stay in. It is obvious that your house is “not safe” for them, so they run away.
So, how do you train a dog not to run away when its reason is out of fear? There are dog trainers who can help you train your dog not to be fearful of loud noises and other “distressing” circumstances. Training a dog to love its crate is also crucial. There are some people who look at crates as cages. They’re not. It’s a haven for dogs to feel more secure during stressful situations. Head over to our review of the best dog crates for more choices.
When a dog grows very bored and an opportunity presents itself, then you’ve got the right ingredients for a dog running away from home. While there are canines that do well snoozing all day long, majority of them prefer doing something. They need an activity. Dogs need to stimulate their mind and body. If not, there’s a great chance they will grow bored.
A bored dog is a destructive dog. It may chew on things it shouldn’t. It can turn into an F5 tornado right inside the house. As such, when there is an opportunity to go outside, then it will.
While securing your perimeter helps, giving your pet many activities to do is better. They do not want to feel bored. Interactive dog toys, puzzle toys, and activities that can entice dogs to become more active and mentally-alert can help.
Change of Residence
A change of venue or residence can also make a dog run away from its new home. Most dogs require structure in their lives. They know your everyday routine. They are already familiar with their environment. When you walk them, they know where they’re going to go. It provides them a sense of security.
When you move to a new location, there are a lot of things that the dog may need to get used to. A change in the environment means adjustment. While dogs can adjust pretty well, some may require a much longer time to adapt to the new situation. For others, they may try to look for that “environment” which they are more familiar with. One cannot blame dogs for running away since they may not be as excited as you are in relocating.
As such, it is often helpful if you find time to introduce your pet to its new surroundings. Make sure that there are no additional changes to its routine except for the change in venue.
Dogs have different reasons for running away from home. It can be because of fear, anxiety, or boredom. In some cases, it can be an opportunity to act out its natural instincts. Whatever the reason is, this can help you determine the best possible action to prevent your dog from running away.