Dogs are naturally curious beings, so they tend to run away and escape. However, they may get lost in the process. Training is very important to stop your Houdini dog from running away and getting lost. Knowing how to stop your dog from running away should always start by identifying what causes them to do so in the first place. From there, you can combat the behavior.
Why does my dog want to run away?
As I said earlier, dogs will not run away out of nothing. It could be due to a lot of things, mostly negative. I’m also a dog owner, and I’ve seen the ugly side of things. If your doggo seems to be eager to run away, the following could be the possible reasons:
- Sex drive. One of the main reasons dogs tend to escape and run away is because a female dog outside is in heat. Unfixed dogs, or those that aren’t spayed or neutered, will seek a mate.
- Separation anxiety. If your dog has an intense case of separation anxiety, expect it to run away to follow you. It’s also a pup’s effort to find someone to accompany them to ease their stress.
- Boredom. Some doggos just can’t sit in one spot. This will lead them to chew or hop through a fence to escape. Also, if you have a chain-link fence, your doggo can easily get hooked to an interesting object as it sees it through.
- Prey instincts. While all dogs have an innate tendency to hunt and sniff around, some breeds have stronger predispositions than others. Breeds like Greyhounds, Salukis, Bull Terriers, and Irish Wolfhounds are known to be notorious hunters.
- Fear. If your dog experiences intense stress, fear, and physical abuse in a home, it will try to find its way out.
How do you train a dog not to run away?
Before you train your dog to stop running away, you must identify what’s causing it. By removing the stressor, your dog is less likely to seek the outside world. Aside from that, you should do the following:
- Keep your dog busy. By taking your dog’s mind away from escaping, they are unlikely to run away. Give your dog more interactive toys that will exercise its mind.
- More exercise. Dogs tend to have the energy to chew through a door or a fence if they have the extra energy. In this case, you must walk your dog every day or give it more playtime to burn its excess energy.
- Desensitize on loud noises. Since dogs have a strong sense of hearing, they get easily spooked by strong sounds. It could be thunder, firecrackers, or your neighbor who’s renovating his home. You need to perform systematic counterconditioning by associating the noise to a positive thing – treats, for example.
- Never punish your dog. Dogs don’t have the same logic as humans, so never punish the pooch for trying to escape. Remember that there’s always a reason behind their behavior, which you can fix.
- Fix separation anxiety. Dogs with separation anxiety will escape to follow their owners who went outside. You must train your dog to tolerate your absence through crate training and discipline. Never make such a big fuss about going out because you’re only announcing your absence to your dog. Quietly slip through the door while your doggo is busy playing with its toys.
- Consider using invisible fences. An invisible or wireless fence is composed of a collar and a transmitter that creates a circular barrier in your home. When your dog tries to cross the limits, it will receive a mild static charge on the collar. Many pet owners have tested the efficacy of this fence, plus it’s totally safe to use.
What do you do when your dog runs away?
If your dog happens to escape, the first thing you should do is to call local shelters and vet clinics. It’s possible that someone passed by your lost dog and brought it to one of these facilities.
After that, start your search around the neighborhood. Start on the path where you take your dog for a walk. You should also check other points of interest like dog parks, bodies of water, and so on.
Remember that dogs will likely go on familiar spots. Also, doggos will always follow their sniffers, so make sure that you check on nearby dumpsters and food establishments. While you’re looking around, post on social media that you’re looking for a lost dog together with its picture and markers.
How do I train my dog to come back?
One thing you should do even before your dog escapes is to train it to come back when called. Your dog should bolt back to you the moment it hears your name. Although most dogs can’t go back on their own when lost, calling their name will help a lot during your search.
How can I get my dog to come back? You must use positive reinforcement during your training. Start on a small distance then call your dog’s name. If the pooch goes to you, give it a treat right away. Increase the distance from there until your doggo will go back when called from yards away.
If your search for a lost dog didn’t come to fruition, I recommend leaving an entryway for the pooch in case it comes back home.
One way on how to stop your dog from running away is to train it to remain inside. You should also remove the reason why your pet is trying to escape. With enough patience, your pet will not be another lost dog in the neighborhood.