Dogs are territorial pack animals. This means they prefer to remain close to their pack and in a position where they can defend their turf from intruders.Why then are some dogs such talented escape artists? Why will some dogs exploit any gap you give them to make a dash for freedom?. There are a number of reasons for a dog running away.
Dog Running Away: Why Dogs Escape
- Curiosity: The dog may be curious as to what is outside. He may have caught a glimpse of the outside world through a window or open door and wants to explore.
- Lack of exercise: A dog that has not been exercised or walked regularly will become frustrated and is likely to take the gap given the chance.
- Sex Drive: If there is a bitch in heat in the area, your unneutered male dog will do whatever it takes to get out. Likewise, if you have a bitch that is heated, she will try to escape.
- Aggression: Even if your dog is not by nature aggressive, he may fixate on something that riles him. It may be the mailman or the dog next door but, give the opportunity, he will escape getting as his nemesis.
- Homing: If you’ve adopted an adult dog, he may try to escape to return to his former home, or even to the shelter.
- Separation Anxiety: Dogs that suffer separation anxiety have been known to go to great lengths to escape, even smashing through windows or squeezing through cat doors.
- Breed: For some reason, certain breeds just have a knack for escapology. Huskies, Shiba Inu and Basenji are three breeds that are known to be skilled escape artists.
Dog Running Away: Dangers of a Dog on the Loose
Whatever the reason for your dog running away you need to put a stop to it. And quickly!. A dog running loose on the streets is in serious danger of being hit by a car or attacked by other dogs.
In addition, stray dogs are a danger to both traffic and pedestrians, and should your dog bite someone, especially a child, there is a strong chance that it will be euthanized.
Or the dog may simply become lost and end up as a stray or taken to a shelter where they may end up being put down.
Dog Running Away: Training Your Dog to Stay Put
If you want to teach your dog not to stray start with the basic commands – sit, stay, and down. These commands are incredibly important and form the basis of all dog training.
Getting your dog to sit when he’s eyeing up the open door is the first step. From there, you’ll teach him that the door is your territory and that he cannot go near it without your permission.
Here’s the basic method;
- Choose your spot: Decide on a line, a few paces from the door, that your dog is not allowed to cross.
- Give the Sit Command: Instruct the dog to sit by giving the verbal command “Sit”, along with a hand signal, such as an upheld hand.
- Walk towards the door and open it.
- Holding the Position: Be sure that your dog holds his position. If he moves toward the door at all, return him to the original position and make him sit again. He needs to learn that there is a barrier that he is not allowed to cross.
- Keep Practicing: It will take some practice before your dog gets this, particularly if he’s escaped via this route before.
But stick with it and he’ll eventually understand. Remember to reward success with treats and praise and you’ll accelerate his learning.
Other Escape Routes
Of course, an open door is just one escape route, albeit the most common one. A dog that is determined to get out will try all means. Some have even been known to climb trees!
While this is unusual, common escape routes are gaps under gates, breaks in hedges and eroded boards in wooden fences.
Walk your perimeter fence, checking for weaknesses and fixing them. If you don’t your dog will almost certainly use them as an escape route.
Dog Running Away: Setting Household Rules
It is also very important to set household rules that will keep your dog from getting out.
Make sure everyone knows not to leave doors ajar, and to be aware of where the dog is when entering and leaving the house.
Follow these common sense measures and you’ll be able to prevent your dog running away.