How To Prevent A Dog From Running Away

Last Updated on September 30, 2021 by Marco

There are several different scenarios in which your dog might run away. And there is nothing worse, that sinking feeling you get when Fido has gotten away from you.

You worry that something terrible might happen to your dog, like being hit by a car, or stolen. And you also worry that your dog might be causing havoc, chasing other animals, and being a menace.

As the old saying goes, a pinch of prevention is worth an ounce of cure. If you can teach your dog not to run away, then you can save yourself a whole lot of stress, worry, and potential heartache.

Read on to discover how to prevent a dog from running away.

How To Stop Your Dog Running Away From Home

If you have ever come home from work to discover your dog is in your backyard, you will know how awful that can feel.

Some dogs are escape-artists, and they will exploit any opportunity to get out.

If this sounds like you, first of all, give your backyard a really good going-over. Move away anything near fence lines that the dog can climb upon, such as their kennel. If you have one of those dogs that is clever with its paws and can lift a gate latch then you may have to get a padlock. And if your fence is older, check it out for any gaps that need to be covered.

Other dogs will escape when their needs are not being met. Dogs need stimulation, and to be ‘worn out. If you are not taking your dog for a daily walk, if you do not pay them any attention, and if they have no enrichment (such as toys like a Kong that has tidbits in it), then it will do what it can to get its needs met. Do you simply need to spend more time with your dog?

How To Train Your Dog Not To Run Away

Generally, if you are out walking it’s good practice to keep your dog on a leash. This is simply because you literally never know what is around the corner. There may be another dog close by, or a car might back out of a driveway. If you’re out in nature, then you may encounter wild animals.

How To Stop A Dog From Running Away When Off-Leash

All dogs have what is known as ‘recall’. Recall is the dog’s ability to come to its master when it’s name is called. 

Whether or not your dog has good recall depends on their breed type and make-up.

Hunting dogs, such as staghounds, have notoriously poor recall. It is the way their brains have been hard-wired. In the past, their job was to run down and catch prey, then wait for their masters to come and get them.

Other dogs, such as retrievers, do come back generally speaking because they have been bred to bring things to their masters.

So you need to ask yourself, is my dog truly safe off the leash? Only dogs with exceptional obedience training can be trusted in this way. For the average dog owner who does not do obedience training regularly, then even the mildest-mannered dog can play up when you least expect it.

If you do want to teach your dog to run off the leash and then come when it is called, engage in the services of a professional dog handler who can teach you how this is done.

Some dogs respond really well to a dog whistle. Dog whistles emit a high-pitched sound that the human ear cannot detect but the dog can. The dog is taught to associate the sound of the whistle with coming back to its owner, because it has been taught that if it does this then it will receive a food reward.

When teaching your dog to come back to you, practice in an enclosed, safe area first until you are confident that you both have it down pat.

Learn more about: Husky Training For Dummies

What To Do When Your Dog Runs Away From You

The first thing you should remember is – do not panic. The chances are that your dog will come back to you pretty quickly. Just keep calling their name.

Secondly, stay where you are so that the dog will know where to find you.

If the dog has not returned within five to ten minutes, chances are they have forgotten all about you and they are off following their nose. 

Start by walking around the immediate area and call their name repeatedly. If you cannot find them, then you need to take the situation seriously. 

Get On The Phone

If you have a local laws officer in your town, then call them to put them on the alert. They will ask you where you lost your dog, what it looks like, and its name.

Put an alert on your local Facebook community page, in case anyone spots the dog, or finds it in their yard.

Finally, call your local vet, and other clinics in the area, to let them know what has happened and leave your contact details. If your dog gets injured whilst it is out then hopefully someone will transport them to a vet clinic. 

Sometimes people will pick up a stray dog off the street and either take it to the pound or a vet clinic. So keep your fingers crossed that a kind-hearted person finds your dog if you do not.

Check Back At Home

In some cases, once you have done a walk around, a drive around, and alerted everyone who needs to know, sometimes it pays off to wait at home. Some clever dogs can find their way home by following their nose, or simply by their surroundings if it is in a neighborhood they know well.

When Your Dog Returns…

DO NOT punish them! This will not help the situation. It might help you let off some steam, but all it will do is make your dog afraid of you and then they will have zero motivation to come to you when you call them next time.

A Final Word…

Having a dog run away from home, or from you when you’re out walking can be one of the most stressful things that can happen to a dog owner. 

If your dog is running away from home then you have a responsibility to work out why they are doing this and make their life at home so amazing that they don’t want to run away.

If your dog runs away when you’re out walking, hopefully, they will return to you safely and not have caused any havoc during their jaunt.

To that end, unless your dog is superbly trained and has excellent recall, sometimes it’s best to leave them on the leash.

Read more about: Help; My Husky Doesn’t Want To Get Up!

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