Why Does My Dog Run Away and How to Stop Them

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!

Why Does My Dog Run Away and How to Stop Them
Two dogs walking down the road. Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

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.

Why Does My Dog Run Away and How to Stop Them
Four dogs looking for a way to escape or just sniffing the fence? You decide. Photo by Sherry Howe from Pexels
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.

Separation anxiety

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

Why Does My Dog Run Away and How to Stop Them
Two lovely dogs looking through a fence. Photo by Helena Lopes from Pexels

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!

Top 10 Most Loyal Dog Breeds for Your Home

Top 10 Best Dogs for Beginners and First Time Dog Owners

Top 10 Most Energetic Dog Breeds for Active People

Top 10 Dog Breeds for Kids and Families

Top 10 Smartest Dog Breeds (Intelligent Dog Rankings)

Is My Dog Depressed? – What To Do If Your Dog Seems Sad and Tired

Top 10 Favorite Small Dog Breeds to Keep You Company

Top 10 Least Active Dog Breeds for Lazy People

Top 10 Best Dog Breeds for Seniors and Older People

Top 10 Best Dog Breeds for Apartments and Smaller Living Spaces

Top 10 Longest Living Dog Breeds to Fill Your Home With Love

Top 10 Best Dog Breeds for Protection and To Keep You Safe

Top 10 Favorite Medium Dog Breeds That Encompass The Best of Both Worlds

Top 10 Favorite Large Dog Breeds for Any Adventure

Top 10 Small Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds for People Who Suffer From Allergies

Top 10 Working Dog Breeds to Help With Those Tasks

Top 10 Herding Dog Breeds for Active Families

Why Does My Dog Do That? An Answer to The Most Googled Questions of 2020

Helpful Tips to Follow When Introducing Dogs

New Puppy Checklist to Help You Ease Your New Companion Into Your Home

How To Build a Dog’s Confidence In A Shy or Fearful Dog

Ways to Recognize Stress in Dogs To Help Them Through a Tough Time

Top 10 Big Fluffy Dog Breeds That Are The Same As A Real Life Teddy Bear

Top 10 Terrier Dog Breeds to Keep You Entertained

Dog Body Language Guide: How to Read Your Dog Like a Pro

How to Train Your Dog to Play So You Can Have Hours Of Fun

Top 10 Dog Breeds for Cold Weather Adventures and Activities

Top 10 Gassiest Dog Breeds

Top 10 Worst Dogs for Kids and Families

Top 10 Ideas for Your Dogs Birthday – Things to do for Your Dog’s Special Day

Top 10 Healthiest Dog Breeds

Top 10 Double Coated Dog Breeds to Cope With Difficult Weather

How to Puppy Proof Your Home For Your Newest Member

Training a Rescue Dog: Everything You Need to Know

10 of the Worst Foods For Your Dog – Top Toxic Foods for Dogs

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