It is fairly common that dogs will try to dig under a fence, run through an open front door, or somehow figure out how to open a latch gate and run away. However, there could be more to the situation if it is happening often. To stop your dog from running away and to figure out why, here are a few tips on how to address it.
1. Figure out why your dog is running away. Is his desire to dig or escape increased or fueled by the mailman, a runner, or kids at a bus stop? Does a certain time of day set him off? Is he running away from something? These are questions you can ask yourself and try to observe the answers to in order to address first what the “trigger” is for your dog. There may not always be one particular answer, but thinking about the reason why is a good start to solving the issue.
2. Ensure your dog is happy, safe, and stimulated. Be a good and responsible dog owner by making sure your dog has you to play with and exercise with, normal feeding times, a clean bed to lay in, toys to chew, and love. A well-loved and taken care of dog will be less likely to contemplate the idea of leaving and never coming back if they know where the love is. And the food! But more than that, some dogs are just a bit mischievous and could use obedience training to start off with. Making sure the yard is fenced is also a must for any dog, especially those who are runners, and a good investment for peace of mind could be a self-closing gate, so that the threat of it being left open by anyone is eliminated.
3. Address the specific cause of the behavior. Once you’ve figured out exactly why it is that your dog is running, whether it be an inside or outside stimulus, or a behavior issue in general, you can address it. A behavior issue calls for more intense training, possibly an obidience class or a private trainer.
If your dog is running from an inside stimulus, refer to number two. Your dog should be comfortable with everyone in your home, and if he’s not, that can cause anxiety, which causes him to want to escape. Think abotu the people coming into your home. Is there a friend of your child that pulls his tail when she comes over? Is there a relative that he is scared of that visits often? Try to familiarize your dog with these people if you think that may be the issue. Maybe take him for a walk during these visits to tire him out and give him the space her needs.
If the running motive is caused by a typical outside source like the mail man, your dog needs to be desensitized to the trigger. Whether it’s bringing the mail man over to meet the dog or covering the fence with an opaque material, you have to do what you think is best and what you think will work in the long term.
Nobody wants their pooch to run away, so it is important to consider all of this information if you feel anxious about your dog’s tendencies in the yard.