Is this a familiar scenario: you decided to bring your dog for a walk but suddenly you dropped your leash and you started screaming in your head, “Help! My dog is running away from me, what do I do?”
Reliable statistics report that 1/3 of dogs will get lost at some point in their life. A majority of these canines became strays simply because their pet guardians couldn’t prevent them from running away.
Thus, if your dog has been showing signs of being an escape artist, it can easily end up among canines that become homeless, get injured while roaming, or find themselves in an animal shelter each year.
But the important question we need to ask ourselves today is, if my dog is running away from me, how do I prevent it from happening so I do not lose my dog? This post has highlighted 9 practical ideas that will save you from the stress. Read on to borrow a life-saving idea.
Why do canines run away?
Your dog cannot run away without reason. And so, before you scroll down to the ways of preventing straying, it would definitely help to understand why Fido has chosen that path. That way, you’ll be in a position to fix the problem accordingly.
So, why will your dog wish to run away from the comfort of your home? Here are some possible reasons.
1: The dog is bored
Canines hate boredom. If you leave them lonely for prolonged hours, deny them attention, or you fail to provide enough play and fun, these furry friends will try to get their happiness elsewhere. They won’t hesitate to run away whenever a chance presents itself.
2: Your dog is scared
Unfamiliar guests, bright light, yelling people, fireworks, thunderstorms, security alarms, gunshots, and squawking parrots can scare even the bravest dog. In a bid to escape from all these chaos, the scared canines will want to find safety away from home.
3: Your dog has a mating instinct
An unneutered male, aged above six months will hardly stay calm whenever he detects the presence of female that is on heat. The male will do anything to go have conjugal bliss. Likewise, an un-spayed female on heat will act the same way. It will always want to go find a suitor.
4: Your dog wants to go hunting
Naturally, some dog breeds enjoy hunting or running after potential prey. They will abandon you at the walking trails or jump over the fence to chase bunnies, rats, squirrels, and other potential preys.
9 Ways to prevent your dog from running away
Preventing your canine from escaping is pretty straightforward. Just make it hard for your dog to break free from your house, backyard, kennel, or leash. If you cannot figure out how to actualize this mission, here are 9 practical ideas for you.
Tip #1: Seal the escape routes in your backyard
Naturally, dogs love roaming and exploring. They won’t hesitate to sneak out of your backyard to meet and play with other dogs, run after potential preys, or just wander around the neighborhood.
Therefore, sealing the escape routes in your backyard should take the first priority when you’re looking to prevent your dog from escaping. With a proper fence, your canine will never find its way out of your homestead.
Raise the height of your fence, install coyotes, and remove climbing aids to discourage your dog from jumping over the wall. For diggers, pour a concrete footer around your backyard’s perimeter fence to discourage burrowing.
Tip #2: Confine your dog in the house
Confining your pooch indoors is the simplest solution to prevent Fido from running away. You will avoid the stress of sealing loopholes at the backyard, raising your fence, or keeping an eye on your dog every time he plays outdoors.
Then again, confining your dog for prolonged hours comes at a price. Fido can decide to pass his time scratching your seats, chewing your valuables, or soiling your carpet with bladder accidents.
In view of that, you’ll need a playpen to keep your dog away from your valuable. A good playpen like MidWest Homes metal exercise pen will form an enclosure that restricts your destructive dog to a specific spot within your home.
This playpen has anchors to help you pin it firmly on your floor, and a spacious interior for where Fido can enjoy play. After use, you can fold the MidWest Homes playpen flat for easy storage.
Tip #3: Keep your dog entertained
Unlike other pets, canines enjoy fun activities, outdoor or indoor play, and attention. Without these three things, trust us when we say that your furry friend won’t hesitate to escape from your boring home to go find happiness somewhere else!
So, if you’ve been giving your canine little attention, it is time to give him a reason to keep staying under your roof. Play hide and seek, tug of war, puzzles, and any other game that can cheer bored dogs.
If you are too busy with errands or work, engage your dog engaged with a top-rated puzzle like Nina Ottosson’s interactive puzzle. With this toy, your dog will spend its free time solving puzzles to get a treat in return.
Apart from interactive puzzles, you can keep Fido busy with squeaky toys, chewing toys, and plush toys. Just make sure you get toys that can withstand scratching and chewing.
Tip #4: Make sure Fido gets enough workouts
Intense exercise will drain your dog’s mental and physical energy. As a result, Fido will lack that pent-up energy which encourages the instinctual need to escape, hunt, jump over the fence, or burrow holes through the wall.
While regular walks and outdoor play are enough to keep Fido worked out, dog trainers suggest that you spice up the heavy exercise with flirt pole workouts. Why? The flirt pole exercises will exhaust the preying instinct completely.
Since your canine is likely to abuse the flirt pole, take your time to scout around for one with a sturdy rod and wand.
Suppose you lack the energy to comb through hundreds of flirt poles in stores, go for ASOCEA Dog Extendable Teaser Wand Pet Flirt Stick Pole, one of the most respected brands. Its plastic pole and nylon strand are tough enough to stand years of scratching and biting.
In addition, Outward Hound’s flirt pole has an ergonomic handle to keep your hands comfortable.
Tip #5: Spay or neuter your dog
If you have an unfixed dog that is sexually motivated to escape, you have one sure way to stop the menace— ask your vet to spay or neuter it. Spaying or neutering will cost around $50-500.
Spayed females won’t experience the heat period, which motivates them to go out looking for suitors. Likewise, neutered males will lose the urge to roam in search of females on heat. If you’re concerned about how to take care of your furkid after neutering or spaying, check out our 2 other posts on Dog Care After Neuter and Proper Dog Care After Spay for more tips.
Tip #6: Keep your canine on a leash when out of the home.
While dogs are loyal, they can disappear in your presence. For that reason, dog experts often recommend that you keep yours on a leash when hiking, walking, cycling, running, or strolling around your neighborhood. If you happen to keep big dogs, you may even want to double leash them to minimise chances of escaping.
That way, you will manage to restrain your dog when their instinct for preying, mating, or roaming comes abruptly.
Tip #7: Train your four-legged family not to run away
Fencing your yard, confining your dog indoors, leashing, and intense exercising will only make your dog postpone running away. The tricks won’t stop this pissing misbehavior completely.
This is where training comes in. When appropriately executed, training coupled with positive reinforcement will stop your dog’s urge to run away. But, how do you train your dog not to run away? That’s an easy-peasy task.
Get your dog out to your backyard. Unleash it, and when it starts running away, command it to come back. If it complies, give treats to reinforce the positive behavior. Repeat this trick till your dog shows no sign of wanting to escape.
Tip #8: Help your dog overcome separation anxiety
Supposing your canine started showing signs of running away after a change of guardian, residence, schedule, or household membership, don’t go fencing your yard, confining it indoors, or stressing yourself with heavy workouts.
Helping it overcome anxiety separation would be the best way to stop it from running away. Don’t go missing abruptly. Instead, begin the separation by leaving your canine behind for a few minutes. Gradually increase the duration until the dog gets used to life without you.
You can use dog calming pheromones, music therapy, behavioral aid toys, and Thundershirts to help the dog overcome anxiety separation quickly.
Tip #9: Keep your dog away from its phobias
If your dog wants to run away from bright lights, loud music, firecrackers, large crowds, and other frightening situations at your home, don’t wait for the worst to happen. Find ways to keep it relaxed or get used to the situation.
You can reduce unnecessary noise and light, or use a Thundershirt to calm down your pup when exposed to fireworks, thunderstorms, and other loud noises that you cannot control. In addition, you can use behavior modification to help your dog overcome phobias completely.
Final Thoughts on what to do when my dog is running away from me
Preventing your canine from running away isn’t rocket science. You can tame the dog by sealing the escape routes in your backyard, de-sexing, confining the dog indoors, leashing it every time you are out, and helping it exercise intensely.
If your dog doesn’t shed the habit of running away, fix the misbehavior through training and positive reinforcement. Call it back when it tries to run away, and give a treat to reinforce the positive behavior.