Top 5 Reasons Why Your Dog Runs Away
Your dog might dash out when you open the door or often find a way to escape your backyard in one way or another.
This sort of behavior and its intensity depends on the breed, age, and gender of your dog and is normal for a healthy canine.
Nevertheless, you may want your dog to stop running away because it can lead to dangerous situations such as your dog crossing a busy road or meeting an aggressive animal.
Why Does My Dog Run Away?
There are several reasons for your energetic canine to dash away as soon as he recognizes an opportunity.
These are important to know and to keep in mind if you want to understand your dog's behavior and act accordingly.
In the following, I am going to explain why dogs run away and how to make your dog stop escaping so frequently.
1. Frustration or Boredom
Your dog may have unused energy left or be bored because he isn't occupied often enough.
He could've been alone for too long of a time, too.
To curb this problem, you should go for an adequate walk with your pet at least once a day
It is also enriching to challenge your dog's brain by giving him puzzles to solve or games to play.
Dogs need socialization, too and for some canines, spending an evening a day with their owner on the couch could be sufficient.
However, more active dogs might need more activities like playing with other dogs in the park.
2. Reproductive Drive
Dogs become sexually mature at the age of approximately six months.
Especially male dogs have the urge to roam around in an attempt to find a mate.
Sturdy fences can keep canines from running away when they are driven to mate.
Another common solution is to neuter or spay your dog which decreases sexual roaming "in about 90 percent of the cases", according to DDFL.
Most veterinarians state that canines can be spayed or neutered in the age of eight weeks, but also recommend to wait for the dog to be at least six months old.
If you decline to having your puppy "fixed", ensure to be extra careful about the escape routes your dog might take.
3. Prey Drive
Your dog could be of the sort that easily becomes excited by seeing potential prey running around outside.
If your canine is such a dog, imagine what would happen if he wasn't inside or tied to a leash.
You may have already experienced him almost tearing your arm off while going for a walk because he saw something he would love to chase.
The intensity of this behavior varies from dog to dog and checking out Rover's Guide to walking your dog is definitely worth reading.
4. Separation Anxiety
If your dog tends to become nervous when you're about to leave or to destroy furniture and other objects in the house while you're away, he probably suffers from separation anxiety.
Another sign could be if your dog is housebroken but still defecates inside the house when he's scared that you may leave or while you're away.
YourDogAdvisor states that "Boredom Barking" - which may be the bark or a whiny cry - might happen when you leave the house because your canine does not want to be left behind, but it can also be a sign of separation anxiety.
If your dog is suffering from separation anxiety, visit the website of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to ensure to treat it appropriately.
A dog that escapes due to separation anxiety usually stays near his home.
I also wrote down some tips further below.
5. Your Dog Is Scared
Dogs running because of fear is not too uncommon.
20 percent of lost pets go missing due to hearing loud sounds such as fireworks or thunder.
PetAmberAlert.com released a report which states that "Animal Control Services see a 30 percent increase in lost pets July 4th - 6th".
Therefore you should consider keeping your beloved furry friend safely at home while the celebration goes on outside.
How to Stop Your Dog From Running Away
If you are frequently struggling to keep your sweet canine under control when an opportunity to dash away shows, you might want to try to implement some of the ideas written down below.
This way, you'll hopefully get rid of the problem, or at least curb it, and at the same time strengthen the bond between the two of you.
Use Up Energy
To prevent your dog from being overly energetic, ensure to give him lots of exercise in various kinds of forms every day.
If you're not able to give your dog enough of opportunities to output his energy at times, you might have to consider hiring someone, ask a good friend or bring your beloved furry darling to a dog care center.
Without much further ado, here are some proven methods to focus your dog's power.
Take a Walk
This is a classic because it's a very effective method.
Depending on your dog's race, age, gender, and personal drive, the frequency and length of the walks may differ, but it surely helps with keeping the energy levels of your canine in check.
As well as walking him, you should play with your dog frequently and leave puzzle toys at home for him to keep him occupied while you're gone.
This is because a dog also needs his brain to be regularly trained and challenged in order for him not to become bored.
Train Your Dog
Train your furry friend by teaching him commands and tricks and exercise those often.
This will at the same time train your dog to be attentive and watch out for the signals you give him in order to be able to understand your instructions.
Dogs have been domesticated by humans over a very long period of time.
They were most often used for tasks such as helping with the hunt or guarding an area. Their genetics make them look out for a "pack leader" whose commands they pay attention to and obey.
Your job is to make your dog have this connection with you with the above-mentioned methods.
But in case your dog is very energetic and uneasy, there are some additional strategies that could be worth implementing.
Keep Your Dog Inside
This is very obvious, I know, but in case you cannot watch your playful canine, close off the door and keep him inside.
There are some useful gadgets such as barriers made for pets and infants to keep them off specific parts of your home.
Such will definitely make your life easier in regards of controlling where your dog moves while inside the house.
Curb Your Dog's Sexual Drive
If your canine's running away due to being highly sexually charged, spaying or neutering him or her as soon as possible will reduce the issue.
This is by far the most effective way to counter the issue of a sexually charged dog that keeps running away.
In order for your dog not to run off due to stress such as anxiety, you have to assure that your beloved canine is relaxed or at least given enough opportunities to calm down.
Luckily, there are several tricks and techniques to help your dog get used to certain situations and handle them more easily.
Is It Separation Anxiety?
If the issue isn't too big, give your dog a treat every time you go and don't act special when you go away or come back.
In case of the problem being more serious, you might want to try to condition your dog.
Simulate the beginning of you leaving your home by - for example - grabbing your keys or tying your shoelaces.
Repeat this until your pup isn't stressed anymore when you do it.
Also, go out for a brief time like five seconds and slowly increase that amount as the conditioning progresses.
Is Your Dog Being Scared?
If it's loud noises such as fireworks triggering your dog to try to run away, leave him at home and have a safe space prepared for your dog to isolate himself from the din like your basement.
Leaving on a melody or other static loud noises may help your dog, too.
If those noises come up regularly, your dog might benefit from desensitization training or medication against anxiety.
Consult your vet or a professional behaviorist to learn more.
How to Increase Your Dog's Safety
Microchip your canine. Ensure your dog is identifiable by microchipping him and letting him wear a collar with your phone number.
Fixate him when you open the door. Grab your canine by his collar or put him into a separate room or his cage.
Also, keep any doors and gates closed when someone comes to your house and double-check, in case of doubt.
Teaching your dog to listen to your "stay" command is a desirable goal.
Keep your dog on a leash. When walking your dog, never let him off the leash if you usually have trouble with him running away.
If your dog manages to run away, don't chase him and instead simply stop and call his name.
You can amplify the effect by sitting down if you don't mind.
Reward your dog. Once your dog returns to you after having run away, reward your canine instead of punishing him.
If you scold your dog after he returns, he may not come back next time because of the negative experience.
The most common five reasons for a dog to run away are boredom or frustration, reproductive drive, prey drive, separation anxiety and fear due to loud noises.
The countermeasures depend on the cause for your canine's escape.
If he is bored or frustrated, it helps to take him out for a walk at least once a day and also to play with him.
Try to include toys that challenge his mind like puzzle toys to keep him occupied while you're not at home.
Bringing him to doggy daycare or letting a friend of yours walk him are alternative desirable solutions.
Sometimes the reproductive drive of a male or female dog causes him or her to run away.
A proper and common way out of this would be to neuter or spay your dog.
If your pup is becoming overly excited due to his prey drive, keeping him at home, on a leash or behind closed fences should do the fix.
Separation anxiety is another frequent reason for dogs running away, which can often be curbed with the help of conditioning.
Simulate yourself leaving the house (grabbing keys, tieing your shoelaces, etc.) but only leave the house for a few seconds.
Slowly increase the amount of time you stay absent with every repetition.
If your canine is scared of loud noises try establishing a safe space for him inside your house such as the basement and play calming music or other static noises to him.
Do you regularly have to cope with your dog running away?
What were your methods to counter this?
I'd love to hear from you in the comment section below!