Some dogs just love to escape.; jumping fences or digging their escape route. Here’s what to do if your dog is an escape artist, thanks to Liz Walden from Pet ID Tag.
Is your dog an escape artist? What to do!!!
Anyone who has had a dog who’s gone walkabout knows how stressful it can be when your dog disappears. You come home and the house is empty. It’s like you’ve lost your baby, and you feel like you are a bad pet parent. You start to imagine all the terrible things that MAY have happened. You imagine theft, they’ve been run over, attacked, lost or injured – and of course all of these are sadly possible.
But consider that on top of the trauma, you could also be liable for damage or injury your dog may cause, and you could even have to pay a fine if they are picked up by animal control. Ouch!
Whilst preventative measures are most important, and obviously, you start with finding out how your dog is getting out of the yard. But just as important is for you to understand why your dog is determined to escape in the first place. Once you understand this you can address those issues from the baseline, and hopefully, find strategies to adjust the behavior of your dog.
No matter how vigilant you are, dogs can still manage to climb and jump over fences or dig underneath. Some dogs are relentless when it comes to trying to find an escape route.
So understanding why your dog enjoys a bit of walkabout, can help you address the issue and hopefully help stop it happening in the first place.
Why do dogs run away?
You know your dog loves you, so why would any dog want to leave the comfort and safety of you and your home, with full board and lodging to go on an independent adventure? We know that being scared can be a trigger for escape, but here’s some more not so obvious reasons that could be the issue.
Looking for a Partner. Dogs mature sexually at around 6 months of age, and dogs that have not been de-sexed will have a strong drive and motivation to seek out the local lady dogs!
So unless you are a registered breeder, it’s one reason why it’s a good idea to have your pets de-sexed. Remember if males have a pattern of escaping they may continue to do so even after being de-sexed. This means it makes sense to do this as soon as possible.
Female dogs should also be neutered (desexed) so that they cannot breed by accident.
Social Isolation. Dogs may be escaping because they are bored and lonely, especially if there’s no stimulation, and they are alone for extended periods of time with no company. It would stand to reason that they may go looking for some excitement in the world outdoors. Wouldn’t you?
Need to dissipate energy. If you have a Kelpie (for example) you would know how much they love to just simply run! It doesn’t matter too much where they run, they just love the feel of the great outdoors and it is simply part of their nature.
Adventure. Terriers are renowned for loving a life of adventure. When they get a scent they want to follow, or a possum scuttling away, there is NOTHING that will stop them. They are world champion escape artists!
Fear and separation anxiety. Dogs are exposed to loud noises, such as thunderstorms, sudden bangs or noisy building activity can be spooked and bolt away to seek shelter.
The problem can also be separation anxiety if you know they escape as soon as you leave, or they react anxiously when you prepare to leave this could be a sign.
What you can do to stop your dog wanting to run away
Firstly, it’s not a great idea to leave your dog outside and alone all day. They will be lonely and bored, and behavioral issues can arise as a result. But if you do have to leave your pet unattended, here are some ideas to make their environment and their lives more interesting.
- Before you leave your dog get him outside for a few games of fetch, chasing and general running to tire him.
- Hide treats for your pet to find in the garden.
- Create interactive toys by burying food dispensing treats in a sandbox and let your dog dig to find the food – also rotate the toys to make them new and interesting.
- Walk your dog at least once daily. It’s not only good exercise (also for you), but it provides mental stimulation.
- If you can, keep your dog indoors when unsupervised. This will keep them safe and prevent the possibility of them being stolen.
- If you really cannot avoid being away from home for long periods of time, take your dog to a “doggie daycare” or get a walker to come into your home and pick them up for a walk and a bit of company. You could also ask a neighbor or friend to walk your dog.
To resolve issues of fear and separation anxiety, you first need to get a proper diagnosis, and potentially look to solving the problem using counter conditioning and de-sensitization – this is something to discuss with your vet.
In addition, if you know noise is the problem, and that there are going to be noises that will bother your dog, consider keeping them inside, and create a safe, comfortable place when the noise can be softened.
It’s important to not punish your dog if they are afraid or anxious. It will only make them more afraid and exacerbate the problem.
As with any training, teach your dog how you would like them to behave..
Whatever you do, please never chain your dog to one spot as a means of control. It’s cruel and can lead to aggressive behavior.
The bottom line is that you must give your dog less reason to escape and make it more difficult for them to do so. But of course things can go wrong, so make sure at a minimum that your dog is microchipped, and you have a quality Pet ID Tag attached to your dog’s collar so that your neighbours, well-meaning strangers and local police officers can identify and return your furry friend home as quickly as possible!
About the author:
Liz Walden is passionate about all things pet! She has a number of pet-related businesses, including petidtag.com.au which provides high quality tags for cats and dogs. Liz is passionate about education that supports responsible pet ownership. For Liz focus on pets is not just about business – it is a commitment to her belief that all pets deserve the very best care, and educating pet owners and professionals is an important part of supporting this value.