How do I get my dog to stop running away?

how do i stop my dog running away?
border collie running away

If you experience the issue of having your dog run away, chase things, escape, roam and not return when you call him, you are not alone.  This is a common issue and is a natural instinct of dogs.  The issue is that it is not acceptable and can be dangerous in today’s busy world.  The main issue with this type of behaviour is that dogs can find rewards for their behaviour.  They can chase the neighbour’s cat, hang out with other dogs or get into someone’s trash bin.  It is because of these “rewards” that this behaviour can be difficult to change.

The first thing you need to do is identify the reason that your dog tends to run away.  There are many reasons but the main one could be that they are running away from something that they don’t like.  It could be that your dog is bored or that a loud noise has frightened your dog such as fireworks or thunder.

It’s up to you to ensure that you provide a safe and happy environment for your dog.  You need to prevent your dog from trying to run off and this means making the yard an entertaining place to be.  If you try your best to ensure that your dog likes his environment then it is less likely that he will try to run off.

Offer your dog a safe yard and:

  • Clean and dry bedding in a quiet and secluded area where he will not experience drafts.  Give him unrestricted access to fresh and clean water.  Feed him a balanced diet of good food.
  • Work with your dog to offer him obedience training.  This helps to develop a relationship between you and your dog as well as mental and physical exercise.  This shows your dog that he is a loved and valued member of the family.  It also shows your dog that you are a fair leader.
  • Take your dog out for walks often and to local dog parks where he can play or interact with other dogs.
  • Toys that are fun and stimulating including stuffed Kongs are a great way to keep your dog entertained.  Alternate toys and switch them out with fresh ones weekly.
  • Install invisible fencing and make your yard secure so that your dog will not try to escape.
  • If there are stray dogs in the neighbourhood, call animal control to take care of the problem.
  • Have your dog neutered or spayed to reduce the likelihood of roaming.
  • If you plan to take a vacation, hire a dog walker to take your dog out for regular walks so that he won’t be tempted to escape or wander.

Find out the cause of why your dog wants to run away

dog running away

If your dog can see out of the yard and spots a trigger that makes them want to escape then you need to block out their view of that particular object.

In some cases you can desensitize your dog to whatever it is that causes him to want to run away.  This can help in the case of thunderstorms and fireworks.

Does Your Dog Run Off and Doesn’t Come Back When he is Called?

Obedience training is the only way to combat this.  You have to earn your dog’s respect and ensure that every time he comes to you that he is rewarded.   Remove any reward for running away.  If your dog is after a neighbour’s garbage for example, make sure those bins are tamper-proof and this will remove the reward for escaping once the dog is unsuccessful.  Constant work is needed to ensure that your dog will return to you (recall).  Continue to reinforce good behaviour by ensuring that your dog knows what behaviour you want from him.

I have a passion for dog training, behaviour and wellbeing. I have a certificate in dog psychology, behaviour and training.

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