How to Stop a Dog From Running Away
Pet parents’ worst fear is for their beloved canines to run away, risking being hit by cars, stolen, or becoming lost forever.
If your dog runs away, take immediate steps. Scold them or bring them home immediately as this may only reinforce their behavior.
1. Don’t Run After Them
If your dog keeps running away while out for a walk or on an outing, it can be both annoying and potentially dangerous. Not only could this decrease quality time spent together but it could increase the risk of getting hit by a car or attacked by other animals, possibly leading to permanent harm for your furry friend.
Chasing after your dog will only encourage it to run off more, whether you use harsh words or try and catch them with no success. Chases can be especially stressful for injured or distressed pets who cannot run fast enough away.
Your dog could run away for many reasons; one of the main ones being they perceive greater rewards in fleeing than coming back when called. This is particularly likely if they are in an environment filled with stimulating scents, sights, or sounds they find rewarding. Some dogs are also more likely to do this if they were previously disciplined for not returning when called or had an unpleasant experience while away from sight.
Help your dog appreciate you more by teaching them that running away is not the answer and that they must come when called. Start this process in a controlled environment like your backyard or living room; later on you could try offering food with strong scents like canned dog food with gravy or Deli meats as incentives to come when called.
As another step to prevent your dog from running away, train them to respond to an emergency recall word that you can use at any time. While this process might take longer, your pup will learn that coming when called means never having to worry about getting hit by a car or getting lost again!
2. Stay Calm
Dogs run away for many reasons. They might see something they want to chase, such as squirrels or prey animals, discover an opening in the fence through which they know they can escape, or just need a break. It is therefore vital to provide plenty of exercise and activities which require attention when outside and keeping them occupied with toys or training games that keep them occupied during outdoor sessions, in order to reduce chances of them running away.
Running after your dog only serves to encourage him or her to flee again. Your pursuit may confuse them into thinking you’re playing a game and could cause them to get lost or injured, so it is best to remain calm and call them instead; saying their name in an upbeat tone with a high-value treat can do just as well as trying to catch their attention with shouts or frustrated tone of voice; doing otherwise increases their likelihood of fleeing even more quickly!
Fear-driven dogs may run away to escape thunderstorms, fireworks and other loud noises that terrify them – if this is an issue for your pup, consider consulting a trainer or vet as soon as possible and potentially considering desensitization techniques to reduce his anxiety levels.
Finally, some dogs wander because they want to mate and are searching for someone. In these instances, it would be beneficial for all involved if the animal were spayed or neutered as soon as possible.
No matter the cause of their escape, it’s essential not to punish your pet if they run away. Punishing will only teach them more ways to run away, while making them even less likely to come back when called. When they come back after running away, praise and reward them so they learn they can trust you to protect them safely, thus creating positive associations between coming back with positive things rather than scary experiences – something which should help prevent future runs away! This approach may even prevent them from running away as they’ll know it isn’t recommended – something punishing would do nothing.
3. Call Them
Sometimes a dog won’t come back even though they know the recall command; this could be for any number of reasons; from being involved in an intoxicating sniffing session, playing with another pup, discovering something exciting scentwise, to having found an escape route (such as digging under your fence) or simply enjoying their pursuit.
Calling your dog may cause them to associate coming towards you with negative experiences – like being scolded or taken home immediately – rather than as something fun and exciting to look forward to. Show them that being with you should be exciting rather than something they have to do out of fear or obedience.
Your best chance at getting them back is showering them with lots of love and affection as soon as they return, regardless of why they ran away. Additionally, it may help reinforce a recall when they have already come back so they associate it with positive associations rather than punishments.
Reasons a dog might run away include:
If they are unfixed, they could feel an urge to reproduce and be in search of a mate.
One source of fear may be loud noises like thunder or July 4th fireworks; or they could simply fear certain people or dogs.
Unexpected changes at home – such as hosting guests or welcoming a newborn – can unnerve dogs, increasing the chance they run off.
Once your dog is lost, the key to successful searching is staying calm and searching in an area where other people and animals won’t frighten it further. If busy roads are making things hard to locate your pooch quickly, try activating LIVE mode and asking neighbors or friends to use Wellness Monitoring so they can track where it is so they can quickly be returned home if an emergency situation arises. Your local shelter might even provide assistance as an extra measure.
4. Follow Them
Running away can be risky for both you and the animals and people they come in contact with; your pup could get hit by a car, attacked by another animal or lost forever if left on its own. But pet parents can prevent this by following some simple steps to stop their dog running off.
Training your dog to come when called is one of the best ways to stop him/her running away, making their presence exciting and inviting for them. This can be accomplished through obedience training – teaching recall commands and testing them under various situations – but also making your home and yard into safe spaces for your pet.
Gaining control of your dog is easier than you might think! Once they accept you as the pack leader, they will naturally look to you for guidance as to where they should go and at what speed. To teach them to follow off-leash without needing the check cord anymore, put them on a check cord while practicing in different environments and give plenty of praise and treats when they begin following you; keep doing this until your pup always follows regardless of any distractions around him or her.
As soon as your dog runs off from you, do not chase them or punish them when they return – doing this may confuse and associate their owner with negative things, leading them to start running away again in future.
If you can take some time to teach your dog how to stay by your side, this will make enjoying nature walks, hikes and backyard relaxation that much simpler. Even if that means altering physical fencing or enrolling in recall training – any effort made toward keeping your canine close will pay dividends! With just a little work both of you can spend happy, healthy and fulfilling times together over many years!