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How to Stop Your Dog from Running Away

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Curbing your canine’s inclination to roam is essential to keeping them safe. Here are essential strategies to stop your dog from running away.

Golden Retriever looking over a fence

Don’t take it personally

First off, don’t be offended if your dog runs off. You might think, “I give my dog a wonderful, loving home – why do they want to run away?”

Dogs like to dart off for a variety of reasons. Instinct, boredom, fear, curiosity, playfulness, the list goes on and on.

Your job is to corral these instincts and provide protection to keep them safe.

Fences are your friend

A fenced area is a (nearly) surefire way to keep your dog safe and contained. It establishes a clear boundary, prevents your pup from escaping, and keeps out potential dangers.

Within a fence, a dog can exercise, explore, and enjoy the great outdoors under supervision.

To ensure your dog can’t get out, check that the fence is installed correctly, is in good condition, and is tall enough to deter any aspiring acrobatics.

…But defend against digging

Almost all dogs love to dig. Unfortunately, this can be especially dangerous if they tunnel under a fence to freedom.

First, always try to curb digging behavior proactively. Here are some helpful tips.

Also, it’s a good idea to reinforce the fence base with wire or concrete to thwart digging attempts. Monitor the yard for signs of digging and make sure your dog isn’t starting a Houdini escape.

dog running down the sidewalk

Secure your dog

A fence isn’t always an option, however. Say you don’t have a fenced-in yard, or you’re going somewhere with an open space. What do you do?

The answer: Either keep your dog on a leash or tether them to something secure. If you choose to tether your dog, use a secure post or stake firmly planted in the ground.

Teach essential commands

In addition to physical barriers, training should be an essential part of your playbook. This provides your dog with ways to understand your expectations and act accordingly.  

Reinforce essential commands like “stay” and “come” to establish a strong communication foundation.

Always make sure your dog understands these before taking them outside off-leash. Here are some helpful resources:

Ultimately, training builds trust and provides you with tools if you see your dog running away.

Reward good behavior

Positive reinforcement is another essential strategy when training your dog not to run away.

This means using treats, praise, and affection to reward your dog when they do something you approve of. They’ll develop a positive association with the behavior.

So, in this case, if your dog stays close to you or comes when called, reward them immediately. Give them a small treat and dole out praise. By doing this, you’ll turn staying by your side into an irresistible proposition for your furry companion.

shelty dog running and jumping in a field

Always supervise your pup

To reduce the odds of your dog running away, always keep a watchful eye on your furry friend, particularly in the great outdoors.

Regular supervision reduces the likelihood of escape attempts and allows you to intervene promptly if your pup starts exhibiting escape behaviors.

Leash your dog outside

When you take your dog outside for a walk, a bathroom break in a non-fenced yard, and so forth, ensure they’re on a sturdy leash.

A leash ensures control and prevents sudden dashes that can lead to escapes. This way, when you go on walks, you can rest easy knowing your pup is secure by your side.

Identify your dog

In the unfortunate case that your dog does run away, your pup must have identifying information.

First, ensure your dog has identification tags displaying up-to-date contact information. If they do manage to slip away, these tags become a crucial link in reuniting you with your furry family member.

Also, consider microchipping your pet for an extra layer of security. When properly registered, a microchip provides a permanent and tamper-proof form of identification. It’s a technological safety net for your dog’s return.

In conclusion, preventing your dog from running away involves a combination of physical barriers, training, and thoughtful strategies. By implementing these tips, you’ll enhance your dog’s safety and strengthen the bond between you and your adventurous canine companion.

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