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Why Does My Dog Run Away?

Learn why some dogs constantly try to run away.

Does your dog scoot around your legs and run out the door when you open it? Or maybe he tries to dig his way out from under the fence in the backyard when you leave him out there alone. Does he ever slip his leash off while you're walking him so he can get away?

When a dog is always trying to get away, it's dangerous and can be upsetting to an owner, who may wonder why the dog doesn't want to stay. Let's take a look at the main reasons dogs try to escape.

Your Dog Might Be Bored

Some dogs are spirited and adventurous, and they need lots of stimulation and exploration time to be happy. If they don't get a lot of interactive playtimes, playing fetch or going for long walks, or if they are home alone for long periods, these dogs might become bored and try to run away when they get the chance.

If you think your dog might be running away because of boredom, increase the number of play sessions you engage in daily with him. Take him on longer or more frequent walks and give him lots of time to stop and smell everything.

When you aren't home, try leaving a puzzle toy for your dog to work on. These toys usually contain some treats or dry kibble, and the dog has to work on them to get them to release the tidbits. They're great for fighting boredom and keeping dogs mentally sharp.

Intact Dogs Are More Likely to Run

Dogs that aren't spayed or neutered are more likely to try to escape than those that are. This is especially true for male dogs because they have a drive to find females and to mark their territory as a message to other male dogs. Check out this article for more information: "Dog Neutering: Is Earlier Better?"

Dogs Try to Escape Bad Conditions

Dogs that are left outside without enough fresh water or proper shelter from the sun, cold, or bad weather may try to escape any way they can, including digging under a fence. If you leave your dog outside unsupervised, be sure there is adequate wind and sun shelter and that he always has access to fresh, clean water.

If your dog runs away and you have to chase or lure him back to you, never punish him once you get him back. Remember, dogs associate your reactions with what they're currently doing, so he will connect your punishment to you. Then it will be that much harder to get him to come back the next time. Even though you may be frustrated, make returning to you a positive experience.


Train Your Dog to Come When Called

Training, in general, is excellent for dogs. It helps fight boredom, keeps them mentally engaged, and also increases the bond between them and their owners. If you have a dog that tries to run away, increase your training sessions with him. Use positive reinforcement to help him succeed at learning commands.

Specifically, spend increased time training your dog to come when called. Make sure you are always positive and make returning to you a highly rewarding thing to do by using plenty of praise and treats.

As your dog gets better at coming to you, add distractions to your training. Have someone else do something interesting nearby while you call your dog. Give lots of praise and a treat when he comes to you. If he goes to the distracting person, have them turn away and ignore him. Over time, your dog will learn that being with you is more fun and positive than anything else he might wish to explore.

You May Also Like These Articles:

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Dog Neutering: Is Earlier Better?

How to Stop a Dog from Digging

Clicker Training for Dogs: An Overview

How to Prevent Separation Anxiety in Your New Dog

6 Bad Behaviors in Dogs That We Help Create

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