You give them love, feed them, give them treats, give them attention and keep them safe. So why does my dog run away? You just want your dog to be safe, and not get hurt or lost, but when your dog runs away, it can be scary and stressful.
Does your dog bolt out the front door whenever you open the door? So, with such a great life, why are they running away and how can I prevent it. It can be very stressful when your dog runs away.
They could get hit by a car, stolen, attacked by another animal or end up in a shelter. Most dogs that end up in the animal shelter are dogs that have run away. It is a balancing act between allowing freedom and keeping them safe.
Why Do Dogs Run Away
There are many different reasons why a dog might run away, and some breeds are more likely to run away than others. Dogs that are bred to hunt are more likely to run away, not necessarily because they are trying to get away, but because it is a natural instinct to hunt for animals. Here is a list of the most likely reasons.
- Looking for a mate. Dogs in heat or dogs looking for a mate are more likely to run when given the chance. This is just a fact in nature. Males are especially prone to run. They might smell a female in the area, and ignore you calling them and refuse to come. This is the most common reason for males dogs that haven’t been neutered for running.
- Boredom. Dogs that aren’t getting enough exercise or enough mental stimulation have a tendency to run.
- Run for freedom from rules.
- Love of running. Certain breeds just have a desire to just run. They don’t care where, they just want to run. Many escape just for the joy of running.
- They want adventure. Dogs that want to get into everything or want to sniff everything in the world tend to run more. They might not plan to run away, but when they see something or smell something, they just go.
- Loud noises, bright lights and big crowds. These can frighten even happy dogs. Fireworks, thunder and gunfire are all large contributors to dogs running from loud noises. According to PetAmberAlert.com, there is a 30 percent to 60 percent increase of lost pets between July 4th – July 6th every year.
- Moved to new home. Moving to a new house isn’t just stressful to the people moving, but it can also be very stressful for your dog. They might run trying to get back to a place that is familiar to them.
- A change in their environment. A marriage, divorce or a new baby can all be stressful for your dog. They may feel the need to get away from the change.
How To Prevent Your Dog From Running
- Get your dog spayed or neutered. This will help for both sexes, but especially for males. Check with your Vet for when they recommend having it done. Neutering will decrease sexual roaming in about 90 percent of the cases.
- Make sure that your dog is not only getting a walk every day, but that they are also mentally stimulated. Make their environment interesting. Try freezing an ice block with treats inside. Go outside and play fetch, chasing games or agility training. Hide treats for them to find. Bury food dispensing treats in sand. Make sure they are getting a chance to socialize with you and family or in other ways. Give them attention, doggy play dates or trips to the park to help with boredom.
- Make sure to keep your dog safe during 4th of July fireworks. Don’t leave them outside, even if it is in a fence. Dogs that get afraid, will find a way to escape and will just keep running before they realize that they don’t even know how to get back home. Keep them indoors with windows shut in an area where they feel safe.
- If you move to a new home. Make sure to take your dog around showing them everything. Have their toys out, dog beds or blankets or anything that is important to your dog so they quickly feel comfortable and realize it is a safe place for them.
- Don’t forget to include your dog if your family situation changes. Change is hard for everyone and your dog is no different. Try to make special time for them so they know they are still important to you and your family.
Ways To Keep Them Safe
Make sure that your dog has dog ID tags. This can help if your dog is found by someone else to get him returned to you.
Consider having your dog microchipped. This way if your dog ends up in an animal shelter, they will know where your dog belongs. Make sure to keep your records up-to-date with current address and phone number.
Get a GPS Tracking device for your dog so you know where they are in real time. You won’t need to wait until they are found, but rather will be able to locate exactly where they are in real time.
Make sure their collar is tight. Frightened dogs are able to back out of loose collars and get away from you. This is why when most dogs end up in an animal shelter they have no collar or tags.
If you have a fence, make sure to inspect it often. Check that gates aren’t broken and that it is high enough and that your dog isn’t digging underneath. A scared dog can do amazing acts to get away and run from what is scaring them.
Teach your dog a solid “stay” command.
Hold your dog’s collar when people come to your door so they can’t escape. Know where they are before you open the door. You might think they are no where around, but if they want to escape, you will be surprised how quickly they show up and dart out the door.
What To Do If They Run Away
Don’t run after them. They will think you are playing a chase game. Rather, calmly go after them. When you get near them, sit on the ground and call them instead and wait. I can tell you from experience, because I have had a runner for the last 10 years, chasing them never works.
Hunter, my dog, has for the last 10 years been a runner. He gets plenty of exercise. Each and every day he gets two walks a day. He has plenty of interaction socially, and had a litter mate all of his life to play with until recently, and was neutered as a pup. And yet, he periodically has run.
He can just be back from a walk and I unhook his leash right before going into the house. Suddenly I can see it in his eyes that he is going to run. If I try to approach him, he is sure to bolt. Now he only goes to the neighbors, and I get less stressed now since he is 10, it still can be stressful. I have giving up on calling him and just follow where he goes. I remain calm and when I end up where he is, I wait for him and he will come over and off we go. Yelling at him only made him stay further away from me.
Make sure you reward them when they return to you. Never punish them when they return. They will link it to bad things and might keep running from you. When they come to you, don’t use that opportunity to scare them. They will remember that the next time it happens.
Don’t lie to them. If you “sweet Talk” them over, then start yelling at them, your dog will learn that he can’t trust you no matter what tone you use. You need to make sure your dog knows that coming when called is a rewarding experience for him – not a scary one.
Dogs Are Dogs
So why does my dog run away? I hope you were able to figure out what is causing your dog to run away inorder to help correct their behavior.
Healthy dogs just love to run. The feeling of freedom while exerting great energy pleases them. You need to make sure that you routinely train commands with them, walk them daily and make sure that they are getting plenty of mental stimulation as well. Keep them away from loud noises and keep them in the house when fireworks, thunder or gunfire might be around them.
Be extra careful with hunting dogs and high energy dogs until you are certain to how they will behave with freedom. Don’t assume since you are providing them with love and affection that they won’t at some time decide to run away on you. It is best that you are prepared for when it happens by knowing how to handle it and making sure they have dog ID tags and possibly microchipped, or GPS Tracker. Stay calm even though it is stressful.
This Whistle 3 GPS Tracker will help you know where your dog is if they decide to run away. You can read the Whistle 3 review here for more information.
If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please leave them below. I would love to hear from you. Thanks for reading and good luck with that runner.