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5 Reasons Why Dogs Escape and How to Stop It

09 Mar, 2023

Every dog owner knows the sinking feeling they get when they come home to find their furry friend is nowhere to be found. While it may seem like your dog is purposely trying to make you worry, dogs escape for many reasons. Here are some of the most common ones and what you can do to stop them.

You come home from work, exhausted and ready to relax. But as soon as you open the door, you see the tell-tale signs that your dog has escaped again: a torn screen, a chewed-up door frame or a gate pushed open. You are immediately filled with dread.

Why is your dog escaping? And more importantly, how can you stop them?

Reason #1: Social Isolation and Frustration

One of the most common reasons dogs escape is because they are bored and lonely. If your dog is left alone for long periods of time without any opportunities for interaction, it may start looking for ways to entertain itself. This is especially true for puppies or adolescents who don’t have other outlets for their energy. Additionally, if your dog’s environment is relatively barren (without playmates or toys), they may become frustrated and try to find a way out.

If you think this might be the case, try giving your dog more attention when you’re home and providing them with plenty of toys and opportunities to socialize when you’re gone.

Perhaps look into Day Care on the days you are out ALL day. Or employ a professional dog walker that can come and collect your fur baby and take them for a walk!

Reason #2: Fear and Anxiety

Another common reason for attempted escapes is fear or anxiety. If your dog is afraid of thunderstorms or fireworks, they may try to run away when they hear the noise. Or if they’ve never been left alone, they may become anxious when they’re suddenly separated from you. This was seen to happen MORE when the lockdown finished and people returned to the office.

Although the temperament and anxiety levels of individual dogs can vary significantly, some breeds can generally handle being home alone better. Standard Poodles, Pugs, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Maltese and Bernese Mountain Dogs are a few.

If you know you are going to be away for more extended periods, try easing your dog into the new schedule slowly.

You may wish to invest in a ‘Thunder Jacket’ that can be worn on stormy days, explore Day Care options, leave a radio on in the background to provide comfort, or speak to your vet to see if anxiety medication is a valid option.

Reason #3: Energy PLUS!

Some dogs have the energy to BURN. Again, this is especially the case for puppies and adolescents. Certain breeds, like Retrievers, Spaniels, Collies, Pointers, Boxers, Dalmations and German Shepherds, are more prevalent.

A nice long walk in the morning can help ‘tire’ them and keep them satisfied. It is also suggested that another walk when you get home from work makes a huge difference. They will get to know the exercise routine.

If you can’t walk them 1-2 times a day, perhaps look at employing the services of a professional dog walker.

Reason #4: They’re Following Their Nose

Dogs have an incredible sense of smell especially Bloodhounds, Bassets, Shepherds and Retrievers. And, if they catch a whiff of something interesting, they may be compelled to follow it. This could be anything from another animal to food cooking in a neighbour’s house. Unfortunately, you cannot control smells outside of your backyard. But if you think this is why your dog is escaping, it is a matter of ensuring the backyard is as secure as possible.

If they are ‘escaping’ while on a lead, invest in a secure harness that prevents them from slipping their collar. You can also try training your dog to ‘come’ on command. This command is invaluable to keep them safe whenever you are out and about.

A secure backyard will hopefully do the trick however investing in a GPS-tracking device is a great backup solution.

Reason #5: Curiosity/adventure seeking

Another common reason dogs try to escape is that they’re curious or adventure-seeking by nature. If this is the case with your dog, it’s important to provide them with plenty of outlets for their energy and curiosity so they don’t feel the need to satisfy those urges by running away.

Try taking them on long walks or runs, playing interactive games together, and providing them with chew toys or bones that will keep them occupied when you’re not around.

A secure backyard is obviously essential as adventurous dogs are often most prone to escape. This is another reason to invest in a GPS tracking device for worst-case scenarios. No one wants to come home to an empty backyard.

Securing your backyard is a must!

  • Install a camera to watch what your pet does during the day.
  • Look for weak points.
  • Watch your dog to see if they are starting to dig near a fence.
  • Regularly do boundary checks to see if a paling has come loose.
  • Add a lock to all outside gates so they cannot be accidentally opened by a delivery person/stranger.
  • Chew toys, bouncy balls and other entertainment are a must.
  • Products like Thunder Jackets or anxiety medication may provide comfort (please consult a vet).
  • A Pet GPS tracker can give you peace of mind as you can check on her whereabouts at all times and be alerted the second they escape.

The love we have for our dogs is not in question. But we must always remember that our dogs often live for the moments they are with us. And if we cannot be with them due to work and other commitments at certain times of the day, we owe it to them to make their environment safe and entertaining.

Article supplied by My Buddy Gard

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