Losing your dog can be a very terrifying experience and it’s even worse to think that your dog ran away on purpose. If you find your dog running away frequently, then it is imperative you search to find the reasons why your dog is running away. Dogs are instinctual creatures and running away from a situation or to cure boredom is natural to them.
As with any behavioural problem, we need to find the root of the issue to better understand the dog’s wants and needs to ensure that they stay inside the house. Unfortunately, it is impossible to simply ask your dog what is the matter, therefore, we need to narrow down some reasons as to why and what we can do to prevent it.
The Pet Embassy are here to help you answer “Why Does My Dog Run Away” by helping your find the root of the issue and they providing ways in which you can tackle the problem!
Reasons why your dog runs away
Your dog is looking for a mate
Your dog may be running away as they are looking for a mate. This is more common in intact males rather than females. Even if you neutered your dog, this may not necessarily prevent your dog from wandering around the neighborhood but there is a chance it may help as male dogs may be able to mell a female nearby, especially if the female is in heat. They will put a lot of effort into escaping to meet this female. With females, fence jumping or escaping from the yard is less common unless the female is in heat.
Your dog is bored
This is one of the main reasons as to why your dog has tried to escape. If they are left alone in the yard with little to nothing to do, they could be looking at going on an adventure. Dogs need to be mentally and physically stimulated otherwise they will show signs of destructive behaviour and running away from the house is just one sign of this disruptive behaviour.
If you are not providing your dog with the stimulation they need through ideas or play time, then we would suggest introdycing some sort of play time or new chew toys to keep your dog busy. We would also recommend supervising your dog when they are in the yard.
Your dog is scared
Sometimes fear will drive a dog to do things they wouldn’t usually do. Even the most well trained dogs could look to escape if something has scared them enough. A typical example is fireworks, almost every dog hates fireworks and will either look to hide or become irritated. However, in some cases your dog may take it a step further and look to remove themselves from the situation, whether that be jumping out of a low down window or jumping over a fence in the back yard.
It’s important that you secure your dogs during fireworks or even thunderstorms as the loud bang can send even the best mannered dogs crazy. Think about keeping your dog inside if you know there are going to be fireworks or a thunderstorm.
Your dog is hunting
Your dog may be running away as they were on a hunt. Your dog may have been chasing a smaller critter such as a squirrel or a rat. This is where breed is important, as you would normally see this behaviour in more prey-driven breeds like the Airedale Terrier, however, this doesn’t mean that almost all dog’s don’t want to chase small animals around.
If you leave your dog unattended for too long, they could pick up this habit of chasing smaller critters in your yard. Supervision and a stern word would limit the potential for them to continue this activity.
Your dog may be running away from home as they suffer from separation anxiety. Does your dog get nervous when you are ready to leave or do they do destroy things when you are gone for a long time? Both of these are tell tale signs of separation anxiety. If this is the case, then monitor when your dog runs away. If it is whenever you are out, then there is a possibility it is due to separation anxiety. A positive about this is that if this is true, then they won’t usually go too far.
Trying to get home
Have you recently moved house? If this is the case, your dog won’t understand the concept of moving homes. All your dog will know is that they are in an unfamiliar place even though they are with their family. Your dog may escape as they are looking to get back to the home that they know.
You should try to make your dog’s new home as familiar to them as possible by surrounding them with their favorite toys or belongings that smell like their old home. This will get them accustomed to their new home.
How to stop your dog from running away
The main fix to this problem is easier said than done; make it harder for your dog to escape. Simply put, if you don’t have a fence, you should think about putting a fence. If you have a fence, then consider if you can increase the height of it. If none of these are possible then don’t leave your dog outside unattended. Make sure you have a watchful eye on your dog and if they start to look for ways to run off, you confront the problem quickly.
With all that being said, that solves the problem of them escaping but it doesn’t answer our question “Why Does My Dog Run Away”. Well, as The Pet Embassy mentioned above, we have to find the root of the issue. If your dog is
If you have reasons to believe your dog is running away because your dog is looking for a mate, then we would recommend getting your dog neutered or spayed to prevent them from roaming the neighborhood on a sexually motivated charge. What this will do is, reduce their hormonal drive to roam, however, if they have been doing this for years, then it is more than just a hormonal drive at this point in time.
If you have reasons to believe your dog is running away because your dog is bored then give them something else to do. Chew toys are the best bet, dogs will play with chew toys for hours on end. If you are leaving them alone for a while, we would recommend, a few chew toys as well as some cool puzzle toys for them to play with. The puzzle toy will help mentally stimulate your dog, which will cure their boredom, albeit, only for a time.
In addition, you should look to increase exercise so that your dog doesn’t feel the need to walk themselves around the neighborhood. Many different dog breeds need different amounts of exercise so please look into what your dog exercise needs are.
If you have reasons to believe your dog is running away because your dog is scared then help your dog feel more comfortable around loud noises or find the route of their fear and try your best to eliminate it. With things such as noise, a white noise machine can help along with calming treats and a warm embrace.
If you have reasons to believe your dog is running away because your dog is hunting then sit with your dog in the yard and ensure they don’t chase around little critters all the time. It is important to teach them that running after something is not okay just because they can. If you know that something specific excites your dog, then please use this item when training your dog i.e if your dog is fascinated by rabbit, please use a toy rabbit when training your dog.
If you think it is because of separation anxiety, then give them a nice treat before you leave to calm their nerves. Don’t make too much of a deal about it, act cool and natural like there. If it is more severe, then we would recommend conditioning your dog. Firstly, we would start by pretending your are going to leave the house. Put on your shoes and pick up your keys, but do not leave the house. Do this until they are no longer stressed that you are leaving the house. Then after a while, repeat and actually leave this time. Go out for a couple of seconds and come back in, then gradually increase the time you are out the house for.
If you have recently moved house and you believe your dog is running away because of this then you should always lead your dog around a new space until they have had a chance to sniff around everything and get acquainted with their surroundings. What this does it is crease a small sense of familiarity within the area and they may feel just a touch more at home than they did before. An additional measure might be to watch your dog closely and limit their freedom in the new place just until you think they are familiar with the new area and neighborhood.
How to keep your dog safe
Unfortunately, you may not get results straight away, therefore, its important to look at things to keep your dog safe in the event they do run away again.
You should make sure that your dog is microchipped and that their collar is always on. Please ensure their collar has an ID and your number incase people need to contact you if your dog decides to run away again.
Check all doors, gates, locks and other things meant to keep your dog inside when you have a visitor or a person working in and around your home. Often, these things get overlooked and you could find yourself looking for your dog down the road as their means to escape just got a lot easier. Dogs are very intelligent creatures and if they sense an easier opening they will take it. In addition, look to hold onto your dogs collar when people come to the door, incase they make a run for it.
Always reward your dog when they come home to you. Please don’t punish them when they return, your dog may link coming home with a bad reaction and they may not want to come home.
We also have some other posts about different dog breeds so why not read them below!